Robert Gaines
Robert Louis Gaines, first sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, retired, went home to be with our Lord on May 2, 2015. He suffered from complications of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and heart failure. Bob was born Aug. 14, 1929 in Wayne, Nebraska. He and his sister Sally were raised in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, by their mother Lucille Horn Gaines and Aunt Marie Horn (Ree Ree). Later in life, Bob learned he had four half-sisters with whom he has since met and visited. He attended a Catholic elementary school and public high school in Plattsmouth.
After high school, Robert attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, for one semester. He decided to join the Marine Corps and enlisted on March 3, 1948. He went to boot camp in San Diego, California. His first duty assignment was in Tsingtao, China, as a drummer with the post band. As the Red Chinese Army moved southward, the U.S. military was evacuated and he was sent from China to Hawaii. En route on ship to Hawaii, the Korean War began in June of 1950, and after a short visit home, he was on his way to Korea. He was a corporal with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during six campaigns, including the Chosin Reservoir, which was one of the fiercest battles during the Korean War. He came home with bullet holes in a flag he had in his backpack, frost bite on his hands and feet, but other than that, unscathed. Other assignments were with the Marine Security Guard in Bonn, Germany, and Geneva, Switzerland. Returning to the U.S., he was stationed at Quantico, Virginia, then recruiting duty in Wisconsin, next to Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. Finally, Marine Security Guard at the Embassies in Ethiopia and Jordan. He retired at Camp Pendleton in 1968 as a Marine first sergeant. He met his "baby doll" Carol while on duty in Washington. Carol also served in the Marine Corps, with the rank of captain. They were married in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and just celebrated 50 years of marriage Dec. 26, 2014. Their first child, Lucy, was born in Amman, Jordan. After retiring, and after much research, they moved to Portales, New Mexico, for Bob to complete his education. He graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 1971, with a master's degree in education. While at the university, their second child, Rob, was born. While in the Marine Corps, two spare time activities influenced his future endeavors. He acted and directed plays, and he collected a myriad of items.
With encouragement from ENMU classmate Pat and Becky Beckett (Coas Book Store), Bob, Carol and kids moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and in August 1971, Bob began another career. He became an English, speech and drama teacher at Las Cruces High School, where he ran his classroom with military discipline and precision. He managed to build a melodrama theater at the Southern New Mexico State Fairground, where the theater troupes performed. He built a stage in the theater class room at LCHS. He started a children's theater group called the Las Cruces High School Puppeteers to perform at local elementary schools. He formed the Minstrel Minis to perform for other local organizations. By the time he retired, he and his students were performing 150 shows per semester. He was also well known for the high quality of his students' performances during speech and drama tournaments in southern New Mexico and west Texas. He was Teacher of the Year in 1974. He retired from teaching in 1989.
During his teaching years, he continued to collect … everything. So, while still teaching, he opened his antique store, Sweet Old Bob's ("S.O.B.'s") Antiques, in 1980 on Organ Street off Solano Avenue. He moved the store to 928 W. Picacho in 1986 and has been there ever since. He said of his antique shop, "I never went to work. It was always fun." He loved to "junk" or buy inventory. He loved to sell. He loved anything "neat." He loved items he found that he didn't know what they were. He loved rust. He was show manager for 35 plus years for various antique shows.
Bob was a member of Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church for 44 years. He was also a member of the Catholic Serra Club based at the Holy Cross Retreat Center, which supports vocations to the priesthood and religious life. He was a founding member of the El Perro Diablo Detachment, Marine Corps League. He also belonged to China Marines, Fox 2-7 Association, Korean War Veterans Marine Musicians Association, Embassy Guard Association, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He participated in many patriotic activities in the area.
Sweet Old Bob is survived by his wife, Carol, daughter Lucy and her husband, Kurt Rathgeber, and grandchildren Katherine and Kendall of Las Cruces, and son Rob of Austin, Texas.
Please help us celebrate his life with a rosary and an evening of speakers sharing memories on Friday, May 8, 7 p.m. at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, 1327 N. Miranda St. A memorial Mass will take place Saturday at 10 a.m., also at Holy Cross Church, with food and fellowship following in the church gathering space. Burial will take place at Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, Texas. Please wear Scarlet or Gold, or Red, White and Blue in honor of Bob's military service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Cross Retreat Center, 600 Holy Cross Road 88001 or Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, 3800 Fettler Park Drive, Suite 104, Dumfries, VA 22025 in Bob's name. Bob and his fellow Marines are guarding the streets of Heaven. Semper Fidelis.
If you cannot join us to celebrate Sweet Old Bob's life, both services will be live streamed. Go to and click on Live Mass Feed button to watch
Published by Las Cruces Sun-News on May 7, 2015.
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47 Entries
Remembering a great friend and Frozen Chosin Marine. Your legacy continues to live on Robert, as will the legacies of all your fellow Marines and all Veterans. Rest in Peace Robert.. Semper Fi.
Leigh E Smith Jr
May 1, 2021
Sorry to read of Mr. Gaines passing. He was an outstanding English teacher! His guidance and patience were greatly appreciated and had a significant influence on my education at Las Cruces High School (1972-1973).
W. Woolweber CDR USN Ret
February 18, 2021
I recently heard of Bob's passing. What a loss for planet earth and what a gain for heaven. He was my theatre teacher in 1976 and 77. Once in awhile someone comes along and changes your life. It might be with a word of advise or a demonstration of confidence or even a "Green F" Mr. Gaines changed my life by believing in me and encouraging me. Later in life he was always asking me to join him in the Sierra Club. I never took him up on it. I kind of wish I had. It saddens me to think he's not with us anymore but I'm hopeful that someday I'll see him in the hallways of paradise. My condolences to Carol and family.
Ray Fajardo Aka: Frank Butler
October 13, 2017
I just heard about the death of Mr. Gaines. He was an absolutely fabulous teacher. Because of him, I learned the importance of being at your duty station on time! What a wonderful impact he's had on so many students through the years!! What a great loss to this world.

Suzanne (Heaton) Devane
LCHS Class of '77
April 18, 2016
Just learned. It was my pleasure and honor to have served with Bob in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was a remarkabe man and true Marine.
Grady Deaton
April 5, 2016
In memory of Sweet Old Bob
Judy Garrett-Hays
June 18, 2015
Dear Carol and family. I was saddened to just hear about Bobs passing. My husband and I always enjoyed visiting Bobs antique store. The best of all was visiting with him and you were a doll too.
judy Garrett-Hays
June 18, 2015
Carol, Bob always kept everything organized didn't he? We can bet the streets of Heaven are too.
Janet & Glenn Smith
June 9, 2015
Carol, and family, Saddened to hear of Bob's Passing. Greta and I were Blessed to know Bob for many years when visiting his shop. We always talked about the military and his stories were incredible. It was always an honor and privilege as an Army Infantry Master Sergeant to be invited to the Marine Corps Birthday Celebration at your home every year. I was also honored to be able to display uniforms and other Marine Corps Memorabilia for those events. I will never forget the F Company Reunion and Bob's comrades in arms that talked about the Chosin Reservoir. Semper Fidelis First Sergeant.. Until we meet again..

Master Sergeant Leigh E Smith Jr
United States Army (retired)
May 16, 2015
Carol Lucy and family Know that lots of thoughts and prayers are with you all. Think of you more often than you will ever know. Dwell on the memories and wonderful times. He will be missed.
Elsie Marie Thompson
May 15, 2015
Carol, Lucy and Family,

I am sorry for your loss. Like so many of his students, Mr. Gaines (Bob) had a profound influence on my life. He taught me how to respect myself and strive for excellence. I was very fortunate to have success in Speech tournaments with his coaching and mentoring. He was like a father to me and showed me how to believe in myself at a fragile time in my life. I was fortunate enough to visit him at his store and reminisce about High School looking through his scrapbook. I purchased a Brass Tea Set and Brass Unicorn from him. These items will always have an extra special value now that he is gone. He was a truly great man and I will miss him forever!!
John Irwin
May 14, 2015
Carol, Lucy and Family - I apologize for not writing this message sooner, but we have been traveling. Bob was my favorite high school teacher and I have wonderful memories of his drama class, competing in speech and drama meets and being in the melodramas at the SW NM State Fair. One of my best memories is of him getting our attention as our class began -- "People!!! People!!! People???" While he was directing he would have such a serious look on his face which would ultimately dissolve into a beautiful smile with those sparkling eyes!!!

I had the privilege of visiting with him a few years ago at SOB's and reminiscing about our LCHS class. There was so much talent back in the mid - 70's -- Ardith Morrison, Beth Sanchez, Cathy Culpepper & Judy Ewing, such to name a few. I learned so much from Bob Gaines and feel I am a better person from knowing him. Finally, I am confident he is indeed guarding the gates of heaven with his fellow Marines and I will see him again.
Dana Wallace-DeBeer
May 13, 2015
Absolutely loved the Christmas packages that mysteriously arrived in Ashland, WI every year for my grandparents Bill & Gen Kucinski. Remember Bob and Carol visiting, too - clearly an indelible man!

Fantastic inspiration to live every moment to the nth with curiosity and connection to the people and things you love.

Carol and family, I'm sure the loss is feeling terrible. Peace to you and love from the upper midwest.
Julie Kucinski
May 12, 2015
There are no words to tell you how much Clarence valued his friendship, he was a good friend to his twin to the end.
Esther Ramirez
May 12, 2015
Carol and family I am sorry for you loss and I know that I will miss Bob very much. He was a mentor to me through my time in the U.S. Navy and a very good Friend. Carol and Lucy I also want to thank you again for the support you gave to me when my Dad passed away in November of 2005. Frank and Lisa Van Sant
May 12, 2015
Dear Carol, Lucy and Rob,
Bob will be greatly missed bay all that he has come in contact with. I enjoyed hanging out with him and the other Serra Club members who were on the meat cutting crew. Most of all I think all of us will miss his wonderful smile that brightened up the whole room. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
John Trujillo
May 11, 2015
I was shocked when I read of Bobs passing. I now regret not making it to the store to visit with him recently and buying some of his rust. He was a sweet man and I am honored that I got to know him and become friends. I shall miss him dearly. With love and much respect; Rich, Audrey, Jessica Jazmin and Jade.
May 11, 2015
Mr. Gaines was probably the most influential teacher and mentor that I've ever had. He inspired me to be the best I could possibly be in every aspect of life. His unfailing guidance and wisdom were only a part of what made him such a great teacher. His wit, sense of humor and amazing creativity were also the gifts he shared with us. I will never, ever forget him. His love of theatre and all that is good in this world was priceless. I will always love Mr. Gaines and my life is better for having known him.
Judy Ewing
May 11, 2015
Dear Carol, Lucy and Rob,
I was deeply saddened by the news about Mr. Gaines passing. I often think about him and the fun times we all had in his classes. I'd like to echoe the sentiments of so many of his students about the impact he had on my life. He truly challenged me to break out of my shell because he saw what I was capable of accomplishing. I have so many proud memories of the Melodramas, Holy Cross Retreat visits, Readers Theater sketches and Puppeteer performances. But one thing still stands out, no matter how hard he worked and stayed on us, he let us, the students, take the bow and earn the applause... Like a true teacher. He also let us be kids, be sarcastic and have some fun, I'll always cherish my "shut up" backstage shirt.

I am proud to say that I still work in the arts and his teachings are a part of my everyday life. I can hear him grumbling my last name and urging me to get to work and it's a great comfort to know he will always be in my corner. If I can make an impact on just a portion of the number of people he did in his life, I'll consider it a life and job well done.

Love you Mr. Gaines!
Sending you warmth and love.
Michelle Nichols Dock
May 10, 2015
Carol, I am so sorrry about Bob's passing. I know he wil be missed. I pray for you and your family in this difficult time. We had so much fun with you in the fox-2-7 Reunions. I t reasure that time. Love, Janice Ruyle Childs (Donald Childs Fox/2/7 buddy)
Janice Ruyle-Childs
May 10, 2015
Carol I was out of town when the memorial Services took place and I'm sorry I couldn't attend. Bob made a great impact on my life giving me confidence to not only have a career dealing with people but also the confidence to conduct choirs and musicals and bring music to many. I look back on my time with Mr Gaines in theater and speech as one of the crucial influences in my life. He was the strictest teacher I ever had but through his teaching of discipline we acieved many accolades at competitions. Looking back at my time in Las Cruces high school he was also my favorite teacher. After living away from Las Cruces for over 30 years I was glad to get to know you and Bob on my return. Bob's life touched many. May he rest in peace and may you Carol have the comfort of the Holy Spirit during this difficult time.
Carol Stafford Nike
May 10, 2015
Dear Carol and thoughts and prayers are with you. I was able to watch the services on the internet both Fri and Sat and felt your loss. We have lost a true Marine and a True Friend,,God Bless You All
Harold Whalen
May 9, 2015
Semper Fi, Bob. We met you when we first moved to Las Cruces in 2003 and we've been in and out of your shop on Picacho many times. My wife and I are also a pair of married Marines and we'll miss you.

Carol, we are so sorry for your loss.
Jim & Alyce Kolenovsky
May 9, 2015
I am saddened to hear of Mr. Gaines passing. I was proud to have him as a colleague in LCPS and as a fellow member of NEA. I especially appreciated his traveling troupe he would bring to Booker T Washington Elementary and the joy and laughter his students would elicit from my students. Rest in peace.
Eduardo Holguin
May 9, 2015
Carol and family you are in our prayers. Rest in peace Bob. Mark, Molly, Caroline Holden
Mark Holden
May 9, 2015
Rest in peace brother Bob. We will miss you. Carol, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Jean England
May 9, 2015
Mr. Gaines gave me some part time hours when i got out of prison when no one else would hire me GOD BLESS YOU SWEET OL BOB
johnny o
May 8, 2015
Mr Gaines was the most influential teacher I ever had! Please know that there are certainly hundreds, and more likely thousands of people like me who remember him as an outstanding teacher and even better mentor and director. May God bless his soul.
Robin Koonce
May 8, 2015
Carol and family, I wasn't a "drama kid" but always loved playing in the orchestra each for the annual play. I knew even from that how wonderful Mr. Gaines was.

I am so glad I got to talk to him and reminisce about those days with him at the April Wisconsin Club meeting!

You will all be in my prayers. With sympathy and love, Becky Griffin Gomolka
May 8, 2015
Rest in peace, Bob
Michelle Northrop
May 8, 2015
Rest in peace, Mr. Gaines. Carol, my deepest condolence to you and your family. You are in our prayers now and always. Cris Foster & family
Cris Foster
May 8, 2015
Sorry for your loss, Carol. I remember your, Becky, & my times with CES. Our Michael had Bob as speech teacher at LCHS. Page & I are now in Olympia, WA, but long to be in L.C.
Martha Carter
May 8, 2015
I will always remember Mr Gaines smile and kind words in his dealings with other Veterans & staff at the VA clinic. He always left you feeling more cheery than when he first came in. The world has lost a true gentleman, and we are worse for it. Mrs Gaines and family: May God comfort you at this difficult time, and hold you in the palm of His hand.
Mary Ann & Mark Best
May 8, 2015
Much love to all of you from the Hartley's. You are all in our hearts. Bob was an amazing man with an amazing family. Prayers.
Audrey Hartley
May 7, 2015
Rest in peace, Mr. Gaines. Thank you for all you taught me so many years ago at LCHS. Not just about theatrics, but about hard work, integrity and confidence. You made a difference....To Mrs. Gaines and family: You will be in our prayers now and in the days to come...God bless.
Frances and Nancy Gallegos
May 7, 2015
Mr. Gaines was my favorite teacher and someone who challenged me to be the best I could be. His lessons have carried me through many tough moments, and I can still hear his voice in my head. You will be missed, but your legacy lives on in so many of us. Thank you for being so extraordinary, and never accepting less than that from any of us.

One of your "Fatheads"
Addie Lafferty-Beakley
May 7, 2015
Oh,what sweet memories of "SOB". From English class to drama tournaments, the "Green Screw Award", Theater in the Round, loading and unloading the VW Bus during Children's Tour week, lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Gaines. So many, many more. Mr. Gaines didn't always expect us to BE the best, but he did expect us to DO our best. He always believed in us, even if we did not believe in ourselves. I pray for peace and comfort for Carol, Lucy, Rob and all his family and friends in this time of sorrow. RIP Mr. Gaines, you are a true hero!
Michelle Cogdill (Burns) LCHS '86
May 7, 2015
I will miss his humor and all the great conversations we had. He was also a big part of our kids lives. Chel is a teacher and Rob is a Colonel in the Air Force, and a great deal of that was from his influence.
Bob & Ruth Jakcsy
May 7, 2015
He Will Always
Be Remembered
As you share
the stories
and the memories
of how he lived
his life
and how very much
he meant,
may you
find comfort...

My sympathy to the family
Kristi Campbell
May 7, 2015
Carol, Lucy, Rob, family and friends; We have lost a true gem in our community. Bob was so very generous with his life and even when he wasn't feeling well, he would still do everything he could to make a difference in our world. He was a mentor and friend of mine and I will always treasure him. He will be missed by all who knew him. Bob Gaines is a true hero in my book! May God comfort you all during these sad days.
Gary Warren
May 7, 2015
Rest in Peace 1stSgt. You meet very few people like Bob in your lifetime. It was truly an honor to have known him, and he will be missed.

Semper Fi!
GySgt. Teresa (Ret.) and Greg Furr
May 7, 2015
Mrs. Gaines, Lucy and Robbie~
My heartfelt condolences, and my prayer for God's loving comfort to you. Mr. Gaines was always a friendly and kind man to me. God bless you all.
Virginia (Tellez) Franco
May 7, 2015
Bob, you will be missed by many. You touched a lot of lives in a variety of ways.
Marilyn Watson
May 7, 2015
Mr. Gaines was one of the best teachers my son had. He was Shawn's mentor. Thank you Mr. Gaines you will be missed. Martha Dudley Tolliver
May 7, 2015
Rest in peace Marine. Dan Flores, CWO2 USMC (ret.)
Daniel Flores
May 7, 2015
Rest in Peace Bob, It is an Honor to have known you! And;

Semper Fidelis comrade in arms

Leo Medina
May 7, 2015
Our heart felt condolence for your loss. We will miss his smiling face cheerful attitude whenever we met with him.
Ed and June Hagerlin
May 6, 2015
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