Robert E. English Sr.

Published 12:06 pm Monday, July 20, 2015

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — On July 15, 2015, the Lord wrapped his arms around Robert “Bobby” E. English Sr. and welcomed him to heaven. After a short battle with cancer, he passed away peacefully, knowing he was loved by his family and friends. His wife, Judy V. English, will continue to cherish the many memories made during their 42 years of marriage.

Bobby and Judy were blessed with two children, daughter Sara E. Rutherford and husband, Mike, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and son, Robert “Robbie” Earl English Jr., of Kernersville, North Carolina. He was an exceptionally doting and supportive father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed by two grandchildren, Ryan Grant Rutherford and Daisy Lee Rutherford, who loved their Papa very much.

The son of Stanley Claude English and Vida Virginia English, he was born in Franklin and raised in Southampton County, Virginia. He lived a majority of his life in Emporia, Virginia, and resided for the past five years in Kernersville.

Bobby loved gaining and sharing knowledge, and earned degrees from Chowan College, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University, including a Master of Arts in English and a Master of Library Media and Instructional Technology. He spent his entire life as an educator, leader, mentor and adviser. He nurtured eager minds from elementary schools, correctional facilities and community colleges.

He spent his final 13 years of life as an instructor for Bluefield College, which was very dear to his heart. Bobby was very active in the Emporia community, where he was on the Board of Directors of the Emporia-Greensville Recreation Association (EGRA). In the 1980s and ’90s, he was a mainstay at the local ballpark, where he served as a coach, commissioner and vocal advocate for the Virginia Dixie Softball league. Bobby was instrumental in bringing the Dixie Softball World Series to Emporia in 1994. He also coached youth basketball for the EGRA, and helped to create a girls’ only basketball league after seeing the need. He was a member of the Virginia Education Association, National Education Association and Virginia Library Association. He was also a member of St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church.

Bobby’s personality and character matched his physical stature. He enjoyed a lively conversation with laughter, listening to Motown music, reading Rita Mae Brown, watching the Atlanta Braves and soaking up the energy and joy of his grandchildren.

Along with his wife, children and grandchildren, Bobby is survived by his sisters, Rudy Pate and husband, Wayne, of Stockbridge, Georgia, and Carolyn Armes, of Boydton, Virginia. He is also survived by brother-in-law, Michael Veliky and wife, Dawn, of Emporia; sister-in-law, Cynthia Murphy and husband, Timothy, of West Palm Beach, Florida; and Priscilla English, of Greensboro, North Carolina; as well as two nieces, three nephews and many cousins. He also cherished the friendship of two special ladies, Althea Brooks and Aunt Mary Hobbs. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, J.C. English; and nephew, John English.

The memorial service was on Sunday, July 19, at 4 p.m., in St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church in Emporia, followed by a graveside service at the church’s cemetery on Purdy Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church, 1351 W. Atlantic St., Emporia, VA 23847.

Online condolences may be made at