Robert B. “Bob” Storms finished the race and received his reward in Heaven on March 12, 2015 at the age of 78. Bob loved fried oysters smothered in Tabasco sauce, fishing, duck carving, LSU football, the St. Louis Cardinals, Jeopardy, reading, cuddling grandchildren, and desserts. Not necessarily in that order. He hated peas and carrots, commercials, and badly written obituaries. Not necessarily in that order. Bob was also a disorganized control freak. As such, he wrote his own obituary, but we have no idea where he put it. We hope this does you justice, Bob.
Bob was born in Sandy Hook, New Jersey on November 15, 1936 to George Francis Storms and Sarah Isabel Patterson Storms. Bob grew up outside of Alexandria, Louisiana, helping run the family business, The Soda Shop. By the age of 9, Bob knew the true meaning of customer service and could make any item on the restaurant’s fountain menu. One of Bob’s most treasured memories was serving the entire LSU football team at the Soda Shop when he was 11 years old. Bob was an accomplished high school athlete and musician, and a walk-on for the track and field team at Louisiana Tech University.
Bob married Claudia Ann Roach in 1958. Together they made a life for the next 56 years, moving to Virginia Beach in 1964, when Bob was stationed in Norfolk with the Navy.
Bob graduated from Louisiana Tech and was commissioned into the US Navy in 1959. His first tour of duty, Honolulu, Hawaii, was the start of a 20-year stint that allowed Bob to see the world, if not from the helm of a ship. Bob’s naval career included a tour in Vietnam where he served as USN advisor on a South Vietnamese river boat, endured the Tet Offensive, and was awarded the Bronze Star with V. Bob later served as the Executive Officer on the USS Wood County and USS Trenton, and earned the Navy Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
After retiring from the Navy in 1979, Bob worked as a nuclear recruiter with Mid-Atlantic Power Services. His last job in the Navy had been as a retention officer, and he found his passion in helping others find their passion. Bob later worked with the Virginia Employment Commission, and additionally taught classes for the military’s Transition Assistance Program, where he was a sought-after trainer.
Throughout his life, Bob had a heart for service. He headed up the PTA, coached little league football, and led countless committees at church. Bob and Claudia were among the founding members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, where Bob served in every capacity imaginable. While there, Bob joined the Catholic charismatic movement and started his personal walk with Jesus Christ.
Upon retiring, Bob did not rest. He coached track and field at St. John the Apostle Catholic School, served on the school’s board of directors, and taught many a student what the napkin in their lunchbox was meant for. Bob also dedicated untold hours of service to the Church of the Ascension and the Knights of Columbus. He was the core strength in the Mother Teresa of Calcutta chapter, spearheading efforts that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. He served as Grand Knight and was later a 4th Degree Knight.
In 2011, Bob suffered a sudden and profound loss of vision and was unable to drive or do the things he loved most- duck carving, reading, and watching football. It was a sentence many would not have handled well, but Bob never once complaining or asking, “Why me?” Instead, Bob sold his duck carving tools for a song on Craig’s List, turned to audio books, and stubbornly insisted on continuing to make his Louisiana-strong Community coffee each morning and deliver it to the bedside of his bride of fifty plus years.
Even after he went blind, Bob insisted on continuing his volunteer efforts, including calling bingo at Our lady of Perpetual Help and ushering at the National Cathedral. He committed readings to memory so that he could continue as a lector at Ascension. But Bob will especially be remembered for selling beer at the amphitheater, where his legendary “Bob Pours” live on in history. Bob also continued his 3-mile a day power walks, and he entered many local races, where he often medaled in his age group.
In early 2014, Bob was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. After a course of chemo and radiation, Bob was declared cancer-free, but it was to be a short-lived celebration. In July, the cancer returned with a vengeance. Always the fighter, Bob agreed to take on the unpleasant task of additional rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Other than an occasional exclamation of, “Cancer sucks!” Bob never complained about his illness. He chose, up until the very end, to be joyful about the full life he had led. At the end of his time, when he was no longer able to carry coffee to his wife, he worried about her and about being a burden to her. She was forever first in his thoughts.
Bob’s sense of humor punctuated every aspect of his life. He was a favorite patient of Virginia Oncology, where his jokes kept the staff on their toes. Bob was especially close to Dr. Burton Alexander, nurse Barbara, and radiology technicians Donna and Janis.
In addition to his wife, left to cherish his memories are daughter Lisa Storms (David Roberts), daughter Lynn Proctor (Brian), son Christopher Storms (Jennifer), daughter Lara Belle-Oudry (Ray); grandchildren Jacquelyn, Joe, Ainsley, Ian, Ryan, Larissa, Ashley, and Brandon; great-grandchildren Addalyn, Mason, and Leighton; very special Godchildren Sean, Andre and Nicole; and a host of nieces and nephews who were proud to call him their favorite uncle. Bob was predeceased by his only sibling, Richard Storms.
A rosary and chalice service will be held at the Church of the Ascension on Thursday, March 19th at 6pm. The family will welcome visitors there from 6:30-8pm. A funeral mass with Military Honors will be held at the Church of the Ascension on Friday, March 20th at 11am, followed by inurnment at the church columbarium. Bob left strict instructions that this event be a joyful celebration of his life. Please share your condolences with the family at www.familychoicefunerals.com. The family request that all flowers are to be sent to the church. Donations may be made to Virginia Knights of Columbus Charities Incorporated at www.vkcci.org or PSD Kelly J. Mortensen, VKCCI Treasurer, 3500 Gregory Pond Road, Richmond, VA 23236-1434.
Please share a memory with the family via the “Condolences and Tributes” tab.Send FlowersPlant a Tree