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Robert Henry Gustafson, 95, of Williamsburg and longtime resident of Alexandria, a veteran of World War II, died on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. He was born November 10, 1920, in Mount Jewett, Pa., to Henry Theodor and Adalia Sophia (Wallin) Gustafson.
He graduated from Coldstock High School, Titusville, Pa., in 1939. During the Great Depression, young Robert helped to support his family of seven by working five separate jobs simultaneously and going to school. After high school graduation, he worked at Strutter Mills, Titusville, manufacturing crankshafts and large parts for U.S. Naval ships until he could be inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps on August 6, 1943. He was discharged June 17, 1946. His basic training was at Parris Island, S.C.; later assignments included USMCB at Cherry Point, N.C., overseas in Puerto Rico and USMCB in Quantico. Robert was a U.S. Marine Corporal and took great pride in serving his country as an aircraft machinist for the Fourth Marine Air Wing.
Robert was an active member of Olive Branch Christian Church and First Christian Church of Alexandria (Disciples of Christ), where he enjoyed serving as elder, Sunday school teacher, property chairman, choir member and more. He continued his Christian service through extensive volunteering and community service, most notably Alexandria Carpenter’s Shelter, Meals on Wheels (Alexandria) and Alzheimer’s Walks and Faith In Action locally.
Robert’s adult life included employment with International Harvester and Caterpillar, yet most of his career, and later retirement, was with American Automobile Association and Travelers Insurance. His genuine love of and interest in others was evident, and he thrived as a salesman. Robert was an avid golfer and bowler; his lively, fun, yet competitive spirit, was palpable on the golf course or bowling team.
He was preceded in death by former wife, Barbara June (Turner); and young daughter, Robin June, he leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Irma (Boggs Gustafson), and a large blended family; son, Samuel Robert Gustafson (Catherine), granddaughter, Amy Rachel, grandsons Benjamin Robert (Vanessa) and Nicholas Paul Samuel Gustafson, all of Columbia, S.C.; stepdaughter, Lisa Sharon Vitek (Robert John), step-granddaughter, Christina Elizabeth Vitek and step-grandson, Robert Tristan Vitek, all of Marion, Ohio; step-granddaughters, Kimberly Victoria Price (Zachary Morris), of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Rebecca Sharon Price, great-granddaughter, Rileigh Ann Price, and great step-grandson, Greyson Lee Jenkins, of Morristown, Tenn. Additionally, Robert is survived by one brother, Russell Maurice Gustafson, of Indiana, Pa.; as well as many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
The family will receive visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at Bucktrout of Williamsburg, 4124 Ironbound Road. A celebration of life will be held at Olive Branch Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 7643 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, commencing at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 29. Graveside services and interment will follow at 2 p.m. in Mt. Comfort Cemetery, 600 South Kings Highway, Alexandria.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg, VA 23188; or Olive Branch Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, 7643 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188.
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