Robert A. Stiglitz

Published 9:15 am Monday, August 20, 2012

BOYKINS—Robert Anthony Stiglitz, 80, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.), widower of Marjorie Jane Chase Stiglitz, passed away August 17, 2012, at his residence surrounded by his family.

He was born in Iron Mountain, MI, to the late Robert J. and Mary Schwei Stiglitz.

Bob was a former resident of Waukesha, Wisc., and was a graduate of Marquette University where he earned his degree in chemistry and philosophy.

He was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1953 while serving in Korea and he also served in Vietnam. Bob remained active in the USMC until his retirement from the Milwaukee reserve unit in 1978.

He retired in 1988 after 30 years of service as a radiation safety officer from the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee and then worked for the Medical College of Wisconsin until 1996.

Left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Laurie S. Phipps (David) of Boykins; three sons, Daniel F. Stiglitz (Debbie) of Eagle, Wisc., David A. Stiglitz (Hannah) of Mt. Boykins and John P. Stiglitz of Boykins; a sister, Mary Ann Stiglitz of Elm Grove, Wisc.; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his faithful companion, Precious.

He was predeceased by two sons, Michael and Robert.

A Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated by Rev. Fr. Charles Saglio on Thursday, August 23, 2012, at 2 p.m. at St. Jude’s Catholic Church, Franklin. Burial, with full Marine Corps honors, will follow in Beechwood Cemetery, Boykins.

The family will receive friends Wednesday, August 22, 2012, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wright Funeral Home, Boykins Chapel, and suggests memorials be made to the Boykins Volunteer Fire Dept., P.O. Box 347, Boykins, Va., 23878, or St. Jude’s Catholic Church, 1014 Clay St., Franklin, Va., 23851.

Personal reflections


If I was to describe my father in two words, those words would most certainly be “honor” and “absolute.”

Though the U.S. government, by act of Congress, confirmed my father an officer and a gentleman in the U.S. Marine Corps, all people who have ever known him knew that he held these values in every aspect of his life long before the government confirmed it.

As told to me, by both my mother and father on separate occasions, when my father asked Mom to marry him, Mother’s response was, “I do not know that I love you.”

At which time, my father stated, “That’s okay, I will love you enough for both of us.”

This was absolute, and my father kept his word until the afternoon of August 17, 2012, at 3:30 p.m. I do not recall on any occasion, ever, my father asking for or wanting for himself personally, but always for my mother and us children.

He talked about going out West, large game hunting, but never did because it would have taken money away from Mom and the family.

He talked about a special car once. Mom told him he could get it, but he wouldn’t do it because he wouldn’t spend any money on himself, and once again, taking it from Mom and the family.

But on that very next Christmas, Mom did get him a toy Matchbox car of the one he wanted.

Thirty-eight or so years after being married, once again this story told to me on different occasions, by both my mom and dad, my mother says, “Bob, I’m sorry, but the store didn’t have any of your Cheerios.”

My dad said, “That’s okay, I don’t like Cheerios.”

Then Mom says, “I’ve been buying Cheerios for 38 years and you’ve been eating them.”

Dad’s response was, “I’ve been eating them because you’ve been buying them.”

This story puts a smile on my face every time I think of it, and always puts a smile on my mother’s face every time she told it.

Every morning, without exception, and then again at every afternoon, my father would go to the cemetery to see my mom since her passing. While sitting on the front porch of his house, my dad said to me, “You hear about when two people love each other, like me and your mother, and one passes, the other one follows shortly after.”

Dad says, “Now I’m experiencing it, and I didn’t realize it was physical as much as emotional, but I do now.”

To the end, the Colonel wanted to make sure all us children were okay, making sure to dot the I’s and cross the T’s.

He said to me, “Now the last thing I have to do is done, and I can go see your mother.”

I remember the last time we had to go to Wisconsin, me and Dad. On the return trip, as we crossed into Virginia, I remember my dad started singing “Oh, I Wish I Was in Dixie.”

Many times since, I heard my mother and father say they wish they would have known of this life in Virginia sooner, for they would have come down many years earlier.

Here in Boykins, for many years, Junior Clary cooked peanuts and the guys would come down and have coffee in the mornings in this little building on Main Street. When Junior stopped cooking peanuts, he was going to sell the building, and the years of the Coffee Club would have been over.

So even though the Colonel had no interest in any business or personal use for a commercial building, and fully aware that he would lose money every day on this venture, and only after Mom telling him it was okay, he bought the building from Junior Clary for no other reason than he did not want to see the guys’ Coffee Club, such a hometown quaint tradition, go by the wayside like so many other traditions in this country.

And he told Junior that he would keep the Coffee Shop open as long as the guys keep coming down.

So many people are boastful about this or that. Boastfulness was not in the Colonel’s portfolio. Though there is no doubt his love for the U.S. Marine Corps, you would never hear him boasting about this fact.

With the exceptions of just a few occasions, he never talked about his experiences on the battlefield. Most information we received about this came from our mother.

In fact, when I decided to join the Marine Corps, my father tried to talk me out of it saying he wanted a better life for me than he had.

Many years ago, when my father was very ill in the hospital having yet again another heart surgery, I said to my father, “Everything will be fine.”

His response was, “Hope so, but if not, it was meant to be.” Unable to do anything to help him, I thought maybe I could cheer him up, so I called up headquarters for the U.S. Marine Corps in Washington, D.C., talked to a female Major, told her I was a former Marine, not of much account, but my father is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and holds his Corps in highest regards, and I would like to see if the Marine Corps’ motto semper fidelis truly means always faithful.

The Major asked, “What would you like us to do?”

I responded, “I would like to see if I could get the Commandant of the Marine Corps to call my dad and wish him well.”

I gave her my dad’s information.

The major says, “I can’t make any promises, but we’ll see what we can do.”

Less than an hour afterwards, this now told to me by my father, my father picks up the phone and the caller asks, “Is this Colonel Stiglitz?”

My father responded, “Yes, this is.”

The caller then stated, “Colonel, this is General Crulack, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Your son, David, called us up and told us you were under the weather.”

My father thought for a moment and thought it might be a prank call and that I may have had one of my Marine friends calling to cheer him up. The reason my father thought this is answered in his response.

“I served under General Crulack before he was the Commandant and I happen to know he has long since passed away.”

The caller on the phone then stated, “Yes, Colonel, you are correct. That was my father and I am General C.C. Crulack, his son.”

At that time, my father said he was so embarrassed, but he wanted to stand up at attention and salute. Shortly after, the General asked my father, the exact words I can’t remember, but the context was absolute.

“You say the word, give the order and I will be there.”

And there is no doubt in my mind, even if it killed him getting out of bed, my father would have done so.

My father always talked so highly of so many people that he met here in Virginia. I will not put them on the spot by mentioning names, but they know who they are.

In Dad’s words, “The true son, the true southern gentlemen and southern ladies.”

He told me to make sure I tell all the guys, though he was born a Yankee, he would have rather been born a Rebel.

One Christmas, a year before my mother passed, my mother and father and myself rode ATVs to these two big trees across the street in the middle of Rod Edwards’ field. It was a beautiful sunny day and my mom stated, “I think it’s the best Christmas we ever had.”

The exact words I don’t remember, though the statement from my father was absolute in his aggreeance.

If I would have to pick one of the finest moments of my life, it would be while sitting on my father’s porch, just two or three months ago.

“I talked to Mary Ann (his sister),” he said, “on the phone yesterday, and I told her of your future wife, Hannah. Mary Ann asked me what I thought of her, and I told her, ‘just like Marjie (my mom).’”

At that time, I told my dad, “As much as I know you love Mom, I can’t tell you how important that statement is to me.” And I thanked him and said, “That’s just how I see Hannah.”

I think I could write a book, and I believe it would be quite thick, with all my experiences in first-hand seeing the absolute honor of my father, Colonel Robert Anthony Stiglitz, U.S. Marine Corps, and his devotion to his country, his beloved wife and his children.

In every aspect of his life, he was the exemplification of what America and Americans should strive to be.

My name is David Anthony Stiglitz, son of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Anthony Stiglitz, and on August 17, 2012, at approximately 3:30 p.m., my hero met God.