Robert Carl Gobelman was born July 7, 1927, in East St Louis, IL. He was the third of four siblings raised by their mother Daisy in impoverished working conditions. Bob passed peacefully into eternity with his Savior and loved ones on June 4, 2019, after stoically enduring prostate cancer and heart disease.
Bob's mom taught him about Jesus Christ, family, country and work. He started working part-time at 13, earned his Eagle Scout Badge at 14, joined the railroad full-time and dropped out of school at 15. In 1945, he joined the Navy, after eating bananas for a month to make his weight. After 4 1/2 years of serving in the Pacific Fleet, including on the starboard catapult of the USS Princeton CV-37, he tried civilian life again. He next joined the Army Reserve, the unit that met on Tuesday night so he could play poker with friends. He learned he was a combat engineer when his battalion was called to active duty in August 1950. Blessedly, they were sent to Germany. Over the next 2 1/2 years, he toured Bavaria planning to blow up bridges while earning his GED and maturing.
After earning his second honorable discharge, he enrolled in Wittenberg University. He graduated in three years, earning two majors while working full-time and earning a full scholarship to the University of Chicago School of Law. He continued working full-time while earning his JD.
Bob chose Jacksonville as his home in May 1958. He didn't know a soul but he planned to work hard, smart and honestly. Over the next 59 years, Bob practiced general civil litigation in every state and federal court with jurisdiction in Florida.
He had an interesting and challenging career; successful enough to provide for his family and have chances to serve his profession and community. One highlight was serving as the first chairman of the Zoning Board in the new 1968 Consolidated City of Jacksonville. In that role, he was offered several bribes and was the subject of a murder for hire contract. Those events led to prosecutions by the State Attorney. In the meantime, the board held public hearings and drafted a proposal to city council for re-zoning most of the consolidated county. Bob also served on the board of the Duval County Legal Aid Association, finishing as president in 1972-73.
Bob was a member of the Jacksonville Association of Defense Counsel, serving as president in 1971-72. He was a member of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association, serving as president in 1983-84. He was also a founding member of the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 1988.
Bob was a strong partner, decisive leader, and tough teacher in three Jacksonville law firms. Mathews, Osborne, Ehrlich, McNatt, Gobelman & Cobb (1958 - 1988), Gobelman & Love (1988 - 2011), and Marks Gray (2011 - 2017).
He was blessed with many talents. He never forgot his roots. He used his hard work, intellect, and integrity to provide for his family, lead in his profession and community, and serve his country. Matthew 25: 14-23.
Bob is survived by his wife Mary Bland Love Gobelman, son David (Mary Lou), brother Tom, four nephews, a niece, their spouses, many children, and grandchildren.
The family plans a private celebration of Bob's completed life. 2 Timothy 4:6-8. We encourage memorial gifts to Boy Scouts of America Troop 2 - Jacksonville, Salvation Army of Northeast Florida, City Rescue Mission and St Johns Presbyterian Church.
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