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Robert “Bob” Jordan (9-29-21) service 10-7-21

Robert Lee Jordan, 79, was born on Oct. 23, 1941 in Malden, Missouri and died on Sept. 29, 2021 at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, just over three weeks shy of his 80th birthday.
With the exception of close family and his mother Opal and wife Marilyn – the two women he loved most in his life, who called him Robert – he was known as “Bob” to most.
He was a devoted and loving son, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, endearing himself with a warm and gentle kindness, generosity and humor to almost every one he met.
Bob Jordan never climbed Mt. Everest, so it can’t be said he “did it all,” but he packed enough into his nearly 80 years to fill five lifetimes, and only missed out on Everest because he didn’t want to climb it.
He came into this world in a tiny bedroom of a not-much-bigger home in a not-much-bigger-still small town in Missouri, son of Opal (Kitterman) and Alvin E. Jordan, and youngest brother to Virginia (McConnell), Don and Gene Jordan.
Robert’s early years in the Mayberry-esque town of Malden were simple but idyllic, surrounded by the love of his parents and siblings. While Virginia started a family of her own and Don turned to studies, Gene and Robert were the mischievous ones, playing “cowboys and Indians” with BB guns and excelling at sports, among other boys’ pastimes.
Robert’s parents and siblings all preceded him in death.
Some of the proudest moments of Robert’s early years – his “first life,” if you will – were his accomplishments in high school on the football field, basketball court and track, often recounting later in life the time he “caught six touchdowns in one game” as a wide receiver.
Still, he wanted to see what the world had to offer and have some adventures. He then became Bob Jordan and joined the U.S. Navy in October of 1959, at 18, beginning his “second life” as an aviation electrician.
Bob wanted to see the world, and the Navy gave that to him, with duty stations in countries such as Newfoundland, Iceland and the Philippines, and several in the U.S. including Hawaii, Chicago and Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas.
He also wanted adventures, and the Navy gave him plenty of those too, with much of his 20 years of service spent in Vietnam, often behind enemy lines as part of a small observation post.
Later in life, Bob didn’t speak often or easily of his time in Vietnam, occasionally offering that he was “there before the U.S. was ‘actually there,’” that he was in places the U.S. “didn’t officially go,” and that he’d made dear friends and lost dear friends there.
His second life also came with a first wife who gave him a daughter and two sons, Debbie the eldest, Kelly in the middle and Ernie the youngest.
Each time he went to war he returned home to his family, and was told he performed a great service to his country, but for decades he would wonder why he seemed to be hated by so many of his countrymen.
Through time and distance he missed the social upheaval that had affected so many in America, but what he couldn’t miss was that military life is stressful on man and wife. Bob Jordan retired from the Navy, and left behind a wife at the end of his second life.
Searching for meaning after a full Navy career, Bob entered his third life using the electrical and electronics experience he had earned, entering the construction field as an electrician. He also found a second wife who came with a stepson, Bruce.
Bob loved his children, provided for them, constructed and knocked down walls for them, and at times leapt tall buildings in a single bound for them, but the romantic love he found was not the lasting kind.
In his third life he strengthened his bond with three children whose early years he mostly missed while at war, and grew to love his stepson the few short years they had together, until Bob’s third life closed several years after he divorced his second wife.
It was then, however, that the life of Bob Jordan turned a corner and picked up steam. On a blind date, a game of tennis arranged by mutual friends, Bob again became Robert when he met Marilyn Lockhart.
They fell in love at first serve, and we’re not talking about a tennis score.
Marilyn gave Robert the love he’d always dreamed of; a true and lasting love, for she loved all him for all he was, his perfections and imperfections included.
He loved her sharp wit, graceful beauty and golden blonde hair, and in due course they married.
“He was the best man a woman could ever want in a husband, and he gave me a great life. I will always love him and treasure our years together,” Marilyn said after his funeral service.
Entering his fourth life, Robert settled with Marilyn in sunny south Florida, where she grounded him and motivated him, but most importantly she believed in him. She helped quiet the nightmares that still caused him to cry out, trapped in his mind during the dark of night, in a war a half a world and two lifetimes away.
His bonds with his children grew stronger still, with all three also living in south Florida at the time.
When Robert’s oldest son Kelly returned from the Army and started a moving and storage business, Marilyn encouraged Robert to partner in business with him, and supported their venture.
After several years of successful but backbreaking work, the two realized “there’s got to be a better way.” Drawing on his deep electrical and construction knowledge, Robert obtained an electrical master’s license, and their second joint venture, OK Electric, was born.
Marilyn encouraged and supported OK Electric too, and the company was a “going concern,” as Robert called it, for well over a decade. It was, that is, until the construction industry was halted for two years by the economic meltdown of 2007-2008, which included the meltdown of OK Electric and the close of Robert’s fourth life.
To begin his fifth, last, and some may say best life, Robert relocated to Adamsville, Tennessee, with the love of his life Marilyn by his side. He was soon joined by his sons; his daughter had by then moved to Chicago to begin a family of her own.
Despite the loss of a business he’d worked so hard to grow, Robert was blessed entering his fifth life. Just prior to leaving south Florida, he and Marilyn learned of Jesus and welcomed Him in as a prominent part of their lives.
They purchased a spectacular piece of property; 33 acres with several forested acres, two houses, a barn and a two-acre pond in a wonderful rural community.
Robert and Marilyn found a new church family and gained new lifelong friends. They were to celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary three days after he was laid to rest.
He thought he would retire, but he never could sit still – he continued to do electrical work, often six days a week. He left Sundays for attending church and teaching Sunday school, which became one of his favorite activities.
He also mentored several hopeful electricians in the area, imparting to them the knowledge he gained over a lifetime.
Next to his marriage to Marilyn and his children, that property was one of Robert’s proudest accomplishments in life.
At the close of his fifth, and last, life, Robert “Bob” Jordan was laid to rest on Oct. 7, 2021, on the property he so loved, surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. They all came on that beautiful fall day to celebrate the man he was and life he lived.
Ernie, his youngest son, said at his service, “I just want to say…we’ve really been up and down some roads together. Thank you for being my friend – I miss you and I love you.”
Daughter Debbie added, “My father was a strong, yet gentle soul who laid the foundation of love, faith, family and country with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His legacy lives in each of us.”
Son Kelly said of his Dad, “Many fathers teach their sons to be men. My father taught me to be not only a man but a good man; he taught me to have patience, integrity and loyalty, to treat others with kindness and generosity, and to work hard. He was my – all of our – hero, and I could not have hoped or dreamed for a better father.”
Robert Lee Jordan is survived by his wife Marilyn, daughter Debbie Ritacco of Chicago and sons Kelly of Morris Chapel and Ernie, who maintains and lives on his Dad’s property.
He is also survived by, through Debbie, six grandchildren; Jillian, Frank, Alaine, Joseph, Jon and Gunner as well as six great-grandchildren; Gianna, Landon, Aryanna, Issabella, Jaxson and Christopher.
Through Kelly, he is survived by daughter-in-love Janet Hughes and semi-step-grandchildren Colton Milford and Mallory Gilbert, as well as great-grandchildren Paisley Tate Taylor and Arlo Ray Gilbert.
Through Ernie, he is survived by granddaughter Gabrielle McGuire and great-grandson Jonathan of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As the youngest sibling, Robert was uncle to many and is also survived by, through his sister Virginia, Cathy (McConnell) Urhahn of Scott City, Missouri; Susan (McConnell) Ciluffo of O’Fallon, Missouri; Frances (McConnell) Dooley of Chaffee, Missouri; David McConnell of Gainesville, Georgia and Don McConnell of Jackson, Missouri.
Through his brother Don, he is survived by his sister-in-law Linda (Wray) Jordan of Memphis and their children Elizabeth (Jordan) Orians of Cordova, Tennessee; Lynn (Jordan) Armstrong of Oxford, Mississippi; Don Jordan of Memphis and Greg Jordan of Germantown, Tennessee.
Through his brother Gene, Robert is survived by his sister-in-law Karen (Hawk) Jordan of Kansas City, Missouri and their children Alison (Jordan) Johnson of Kansas City, Missouri; John Eric Jordan of Houston, Missouri and Jackie Jordan of Kansas City, Missouri.