Robert “Bob” S. Small, 73 years, of Sturgeon Bay, was called to his eternal home on Monday afternoon (July 2, 2012). Cancer may have taken Bob sooner than we wished, but cancer could not cripple the love he had for family and friends, shatter hope, diminish his faith, silence courage, or steal his sense of humor and optimism he had through his final days and hours.
He was born February 12, 1939 in Philadelphia, PA, the son of Malcolm Eaton Small Sr., and Jane Pierson Voigt. As a young boy they moved to Barrington, New Jersey. Bob was a 1957 graduate of Haddon Heights High School. He joined the U.S. Navy Reserves in 1955 and spending the summer of 1957 on a Submarine Chaser, based at Philadelphia, for a training cruise to Savannah, GA.
Bob went to active duty in June of 1957 shortly after graduating from high school. He served aboard the USS Albemarle AV-5 in Philadelphia, PA (put into commission in 1957) with homeport in Norfolk, VA. He went on a cruise to the Azores, Caribbean and Bermuda before attending radar school in Norfolk. He then was assigned to a sea plane tender, the USS Currituck AV7 which was put into commission in 1959 in Philadelphia. Bob proceeded to San Diego, CA, through the Panama Canal where the ship was home ported. He traveled to West Pac, and in 1963 he went to NTDS Naval Tactical Data System in San Diego then to FAAWTC Dam Neck, VA where he taught NTDS and enrolled at Air Control School and then taught ACS.
Bob met Nyla Wickman from Ellison Bay, WI while she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law, Joan and Robert Carlson in Norfolk, VA. On April 2, 1966 they were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay. They then traveled to California where he reported to Basic Electronics School at Treasure Island, CA. While in Oakland, CA their first daughter, Susan was born. Next he was on to Advanced CIC Operations School at Point Loma, San Diego, CA.
He transferred to Norfolk, VA to the Josephus Daniels DLG-27 and his family settled there as he reported to his ship in the Mediterranean. During this sea duty station he made a trip-Unitas 8 – around South America and back through the Panama Canal when he became a Shellback (you’re a pollywog before going over the equator). During this duty station his second daughter Stacey was born.
Bob transferred to the USS Preble DLG-15 in 1969 at the Philadelphia shipyard and put that into commission in 1970 when he took it to its home port at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, stopping in Acapulco and San Diego. While on the Preble he spent 7 months in the Gulf of Tonkin (waters off Vietnam). In 1972 he transferred to Great Lakes, IL where Bob taught RDA School. In 1975 he reported to the USS Patterson FF-1061 in Jacksonville, FL. A trip to the Mediterranean and returned the ship to the shipyard in Philadelphia, PA.
He retired on June 22, 1977 as Chief Petty Officer of USN after 22 years. Bob and Nyla moved to Sturgeon Bay and he worked for Peterson Builders, Inc., first as an outside machinist, secondly as an inside machinist, then in the estimating department and contracting department. He retired from Peterson Builders in 1997.For the next 10 years he drove school bus for the Sturgeon Bay School District. For several summers Bob worked for Cherry Hills Golf Course in the Halfway House. He also was volunteer driver for the Red Cross, and donated as often as possible for the blood drives. Everyone who knew Bob knew he loved to golf. Bob and Nyla took many trips with good friends, especially Bob and Carol Dvorak to St. George, Utah during the winter, and many different courses in Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. He loved to bowl when golfing was not possible.
He proudly served his country and joined the VFW Post #3088 in Sturgeon Bay serving as the Adjutant.
Bob was deeply loved by his family and friends. He was a man of few words but had a way of bringing his humor into many conversations. He is survived by his loving wife, Nyla of Sturgeon Bay; two dear daughters and sons in law, Susan (Paul) Burlo of Sturgeon Bay, Stacey (Norman) Rupp of New Franken; and his precious granddaughters, Lauren Elizabeth and Ashlyn Sophia Rupp; one sister, Shirley Stack; one brother, Delbert Small both of New Jersey; his mother-in-law, Annette Wickman of Ellison Bay; two sisters-in-law, Joan (Robert) Carlson, Gloria (Roger) Johnson of Ellison Bay; two brothers-in-law, Larry Wickman and Darrell Anderson of Ellison Bay; many dear nieces and nephews; and his two granddogs, Niko and Basil, who he loved very much.
Preceding him in death were his parents; brother, Malcolm Small, Jr.; father-in-law, Lawrence Wickman; sister-in-law, Patricia Anderson; and brother-in-law, Albert Stack.
Funeral services with military honors will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday (July 7, 2012) at Bay View Lutheran Church with Rev. Tim Malek and Rev. Jerry Groth officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at Bayside Cemetery.
Friends may call Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Huehns Funeral Home and at the church on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until the time of services at 1:00 p.m. Because of his proud military service we encourage all those attending the funeral to be dressed in red, white or blue.
Memorials may be given in his memory to Unity Hospice, DOOR CANcer, Inc., Door County Historical Museum/Archive Project, and the Bay View Lutheran Church Community Emergency Fund.
Sign online guestbook and offer condolences at http://www.huehnsfuneralhome.com/.