Robert (Bob) Wayne Caldwell, Jr. passed away at home with his companion of many years, Ms. Trimble Sheehan, on Sunday July 8, 2012.
Friday July 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm,
Hope Unitarian Church,
8432 S. Sheridan Road, Tulsa, Ok 74133
Born to parents Robert Wayne Sr. and Nettie S. (Shawbell) on December 15, 1931 in Oklahoma City, OK, he graduated from Classen High School in 1950, and then attended the University of Oklahoma until being drafted by the United States Army following the completion of his junior year. Apparently there were some distractions from studies that sparked the interest of the US Army calling to him serve his country in Korea. He received the highest marks and finished first in his basic training class at Fort Leonard Wood and was later assigned to Company A of the 11th Engineering Battalion. Honorably discharged in 1955 after attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant and receiving the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Korean Service Medal.
Shortly after his return from service, he married Gloria Graves, re-enrolled at OU and completed his BS degree in business administration. Newly married and recently graduated, they moved to Tulsa where a daughter, Karen, joined the family unit followed by a son, Robby.
In the early 60's, after working as an electrician for his Uncle Clem Shawbell, Bob and Gloria, purchased the family electrical business, FARM Electric, and so began his career as an Electrical Contractor. FARM Electric, a small business, was where he would pour his heart and soul for the next 30 years. Because the business was located in the very rural east Tulsa the name FARM Electric seemed appropriate at the time, but Bob wanted to modernize the business and add his own flair and style so he changed the name FARM into an acronym to mean Fabrication, Application, Repair and Maintenance. As the business grew, so did its reputation locally as a competitor and respected operation. FARM Electric closed shop in the early 90"s causing Bob to begin a new chapter in his working career.
With so many years of being self employed, being the boss and running the show on his own, he found he needed to reinvent himself and sought employment with those he had been in competition with for many years. Not an easy task, but with bowed and humble heart he rose to the occasion. He found employment and was welcomed by Addco Electric and later moved on to work with Third Generation until finally retiring in December 2011. All he ever wanted to do was work and that he did until he was 80 years old.
He was the chairman of the building committee that designed and built Hope Unitarian Church in south Tulsa. The congregation met for several years at the Thornton YMCA while they raised funds to buy land and build a church. The land was purchased first and referred to as Hope Hill where many Sunday Services were held until enough funds were accumulated to design and build. The building committee did not always agree on every aspect of design and construction, but they unanimously agreed that a new road to the top of the hill would be the first order of business. The original narrow and twisting road was marked with nature's obstacles making navigation difficult by any other means than by foot. Working with the very charismatic architect Ron Dirsmith of Chicago and the building committee members, the plans were finally laid out to build the church which included a sky light and Oolagah Limestone (worm rock). Masterfully designed, the beautiful sunlight cascaded upon the Oolagah limestone wall that formed the backdrop for the sanctuary. He was very proud to be a part of this project and thankful for the people he worked with to design and construct the building. He would later participate in another church construction project as the building chair for Fellowship Congregational Church. In this role he used his previous experience to lead the committee and oversee the construction of a new wing.
Bob Caldwell loved animals and the companionship and unconditional friendship they shared together. He started his cattle herd with a few head and grew the herd to about 100 head. He experimented with cross breeding Herford, Angus, and Limousine to create a quality beef product. Caring for the cattle with his dogs pleased him most. He also, tinkered with being a bee keeper, but had some trouble keeping the bees happy at home.
He was a unique character, sometimes a little hard headed and self absorbed, but was always generous, giving, loving and kind. To know Bob Caldwell is, well, to know Bob Caldwell, because you get the full package (what you see is what he was, overalls and running shoes). He touched the lives of many people in many different ways as his life was also touched by those he came in contact with. He was rich in friendship as his spectrum of friends, associations and relationships spread far and wide and from many different walks of life. He once referred to a quote of someone notable and very smart by paraphrasing that character and integrity is not about what a person does in front of an audience, character is measured by what the person does when no one is watching.
Robert, as many referred to him, although he went by both Robert and Bob, will be greatly missed and is survived by his sister Doris Gustafson, son Robert L. and wife Kim Caldwell, grandsons Tyler and Spencer and companion Ms. Trimble Sheehan. Preceding him in death are his parents Wayne and Nettie Caldwell, and daughter Karen L. Caldwell.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that donations be made in memory of Robert W. Caldwell Jr. to the Eastern Oklahoma Food Bank, the Humane Society or any charity of your choice that caters to the needs of the less fortunate --human or animal.
Memorial donations can be made to:
Eastern Oklahoma Food Bank, the Humane Society or any charity of your choice that caters to the needs of the less fortunate --human or animal.