Lt. Robert McGaw US Navy (Ret.)

June 22, 1932 - April 30, 2016
Lt. Robert McGaw US Navy (Ret.)

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Of Williamsburg, age 83, passed away after a brief illness on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Robert was born on June 2, 1932 in Springfield, IL. He graduated from Aurora high school, Aurora, MO in 1950. While in high school, he served in the National Guard. Within days of graduation, he joined the Navy, the career he loved dearly began at the Naval Weapon Station, Yorktown, VA. Shortly thereafter, he met the love of his life, Jane G. Anderson, in Williamsburg. They married on August 4, 1951, a day after her 18th birthday. The following 23 years took the two of them, plus their children, all over the states and the world, including tours in Morocco and Japan. Robert’s naval career ended where it started, at the Naval Weapons Station in 1973. His next career was at the Newport News Shipyard. He took a leave of absence to earn a BS in Business Administration from CNC (now CNU). After he retired from the shipyard, he did not stay idle. He was a member of the Board of Visitors at CNU, where he created a scholarship for single parents, which continues to be awarded annually to two or three CNU students. He volunteered for many years at the Williamsburg library, and on election days he helped out as a poll worker.

He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Jane, and his eldest son, John Robert. He is survived by his brother John Wellington of Germantown, TN; his children Carl Fenten, Elizabeth Jane Tomasso and her husband Steve, Colin Thomas and his wife Susan, and daughter-in-law Catherine; grandchildren Shawn, Rachael, Shane, Katie, Tori, David, Robert, Rebecca, and William; and great grandchildren Cody, Justin, Kyle, and Anjouli.

The family would like to thank the staff at Doctor’s Hospital in Williamsburg. Dr. Chitti’s tenaciousness in trying to combat dad’s illness and the care and compassion that the nursing staff offered dad will not be forgotten.

We miss you so much dad. Your humor was infectious, your gentleness and humbleness an inspiration. You touched so many people. But we know you are finally home with the love of your life.

A Memorial Service will be held at Bucktrout Funeral Home, 4124 Ironbound Rd. Williamsburg, on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 5:00 PM followed by a reception at The Vineyards Clubhouse.

In lieu of flowers and in the spirit of Robert’s philanthropic nature, we welcome you to make a donation to the charity of your choice.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Bucktrout Funeral Home - Directions
4124 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188

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  • May 04, 2016
    David P. Harner says:
    Bob was a great guy who served his country and set an example for others. He was kind and gentle and always helpful. He volunteered in my office at CNU.

  • May 04, 2016
    Brenda & Stephen Hart says:
    Mr. McGaw was a gentle, generous man who often welcomed us to his home. We loved sharing memories about Illinois and about his travels. He will be missed.

  • May 05, 2016
    Vikkie Rhodes-White says:
    My husband and I had the pleasure to meet and get to know Mr. McGaw thru his wonderful daughter-in-law, KATE, and son CARL, to whom we extend our heartfelt sympathy. With our love, Vikkie Rhodes-White and Ken White

  • May 11, 2016
    Susan Miller says:
    I will miss my kind and generous neighbor! He and I shared many a conversation over the time we lived in the Vineyards. What a great and humble man!

  • May 11, 2016
    Dr. Anthony R. Santoro says:
    My wife, Carol, and I are saddened to learn of the death of our friend and Christopher Newport University benefactor and former Board of Visitors member Robert McGaw. I met Bob shortly after he and Jane won the Virginia lottery. He was at the time a night student at CNU, where I was President. I invited them to lunch and asked them to consider a donation to the University. I remember Jane asking how I chose the chicken salad that was served and my response that "if we served lobster, you might not think the school needed any money." They listened to my proposal and said they would consider a gift. The next day they called and committed almost three times what I had asked for as a permanent scholarship for single parents who were trying to go to school and raise a family at the same time. I could cite other examples of their generosity like paying the entire tuition for a CNU employee to complete a Ph.D. at Old Dominion University or the time they had a request from a Richmond lady they did not know to make a one month payment on her home mortgage and instead they decided to pay off the entire mortgage. This was a couple for the ages, a generous good Christian man and wife. Our world, which is too often filled with examples of greed and self interest, is the poorer for this man's death. Rest in peace, Bob. Your work here is complete.