Steelworker looked out for family, fellow veterans
Robert Stokes spent his life taking care of others professionally and personally.
His mother died when he was 11.
“We feel that is probably what made family so important to him,” said his daughter Gayle Colonna of Clairton. “He was all the time wanting the family to be together and have meals together.”
Robert Irvine Stokes of Clairton, a World War II veteran who retired as an inspection superintendent at U.S. Steel's National Tube Works in McKeesport, died Friday, Sept 28, 2012. He was 90.
If he knew of anyone eating alone, he would invite them to have dinner with his family.
“There was always a welcome spot at the table,” Colonna said.
Mr. Stokes was a member of Pine Run United Methodist Church in Clairton. He often made anonymous donations and volunteered at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, his children said.
Mr. Stokes took a job in U.S. Steel's Christy Park Works before he was drafted into the Army, where he became a sergeant.He earned a Bronze Star and a Victory Medal, and he was awarded a Purple Heart when his tank was hit.
The blast temporarily blinded Mr. Stokes, said his daughter Deborah Straub of Daniels, W.Va. His drive to protect others showed in his last days when, reliving the incident, Mr. Stokes kept calling for someone to go back and rescue his gunner, she said.
Mr. Stokes contributed to disabled veterans associations throughout his life, she said.
“He always said, ‘It was so close, that could have been me,' ” she said.
Mr. Stokes returned to U.S. Steel, and retired in 1983.
Straub said her father knew people's lives would depend on the quality of the pipes the plant made.
“He took a lot of pride in that work and that responsibility,” she said.
He and his wife, Irene Harmon Stokes, would have been married 69 years on Monday.
Robert Irvine Stokes was preceded in death by his parents, Harry Arthur and Elizabeth Nicholds Stokes; his brother, Arthur W. Stokes; and his sister, Elizabeth J. Wilson.
In addition to his wife, Irene Harmon Stokes of Clairton, and his daughters Deborah and Gayle, Mr. Stokes is survived by his son Gary Stokes of McKeesport, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in S.M. Finney Funeral Home Inc., 432 N. Sixth St., Clairton.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the funeral home chapel. Interment will follow in Mt. Vernon Cemetery, Elizabeth Township.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.