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This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.
Robert L. Gilbert Jr. passed away on February 8, following a struggle with liver disease. He was 71.
Rob, or Robby as he was known to his family and old friends, loved life and lived it to the fullest. Born in Pensacola, FL to Commander Robert L. Gilbert (US Navy) and Patricia Ann Gilbert (O’Brien), Rob’s travels began early in life as he and his sisters lived all across the country following his father’s naval postings. It was in Newport, RI however that Rob found his true home. As one of many descendants of Newport’s James Stephen O’Brien and wife Katherine, Rob spent childhood summers on Aquidneck Island. Surrounded by his siblings and many cousins, Rob helped his Uncle Donal with his veterinary practice, found his passion for the sea, and learned life lessons from his beloved Aunt Kay. As a young man, Rob’s love for adventure found him vagabonding across Europe and the Middle East and hitchhiking to Alaska, where he fished for halibut and king crab–and almost met his maker crashing against the rocks of the Pacific coastline. But his greatest adventure began in Arlington, VA where he found Laura, the love of his life. They met as teenagers in the summer of 1969, married on January 5, 1974, and began their lives together in Nepal, where Rob served as an agriculturist in the Peace Corps. Ultimately, Rob found his vocation in international finance. His career led Rob and his family to live for extended periods of time in the Philippines and Sweden and allowed Rob to travel the world. From Singapore to Zimbabwe, Hong Kong to Australia, and myriad places in between, Rob cherished his trips and the many great friends he made across four continents. Though Rob held many jobs in his life, it was his role as father to daughters Colleen and Christine and husband to wife Laura that brought him his greatest joy and he took great pleasure in showing them the world. In retirement, Rob found his way home to Aquidneck Island where he and Laura took advantage of everything Newport and Middletown have to offer–most especially trips around the ten-mile drive and the splendid views from Sachuest Point.
Rob is survived by Laura, his wife of 47 years, his daughters Colleen Donnelly (Gilbert) and Christine Gilbert, grandchildren Robert James Donnelly and Katherine Leia Donnelly, sister Eileen Gilbert, and many wonderful cousins and dear friends. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lead the Way Fund, the Semper Fi Fund, and the Salvation Army–the latter of which Rob credits with saving his Christmas many years ago when he was a young fisherman in Alaska, many miles from home.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, February 12th in St. Joseph’s Church, 5 Mann Avenue, Newport, RI at 9:30 AM.
Please click the following livestream link to watch the Mass https://my.gather.app/remember/robert-l-gilbert-jr
Burial will be private.