VAN DIVENDER, Robert James “Bob”, of Richmond, age 92, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend passed away unexpectedly on July 11, 2021.
Bob was born September 16, 1928, in Davidsville, PA. He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert Ivan and Ethel Anna (May) and sister, Betty Hathcock. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Adele (Hein), his four devoted daughters; Lisa (Tim Kloth), Jeanne (Scott Buell), Katie Chernau (Mike), Carol Minton (Jeff), 9 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, William F. and Joyce (Albert) Van Divender as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
Bob graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering. He attended graduate classes in Nuclear Engineering at Columbia University. Bob proudly served in the U.S. Navy as a LTJG on the USS Palau aircraft carrier during the Korean conflict.
Upon his honorable discharge, Bob began his career in engineering in Connecticut where he worked for five years designing nuclear power plants. Bob joined The Howard P. Foley Company, a multi-national electrical contracting firm, in Washington, D.C. in 1959. Bob moved his family to Richmond in 1960 where he served as Executive Vice President and Branch Manager of the company until 1984 when he became a consultant to a variety of engineering firms until his retirement.
Bob served in many leadership roles during his career. He was chairman or president of the following organizations: the IBEW Local 666 Benefit Trust Fund, Richmond Illuminating Engineers Society, and the Virginia Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.
Bob was an avid traveler. Adele and he organized yearly family camping trips throughout the United States and Canada. He visited all 50 states by the time he was 45 and eventually travelled to all 7 continents during his lifetime. Bob and Adele were in one of the first American tourist groups to visit China in the 1970s.
Bob was a passionate community volunteer. He and Adele are longtime members of Epiphany Lutheran Church. He was an active member of the Kiwanis Club of James River and Richmond Torch Club, serving as president for a time for each. He volunteered for over 20 years at Freedom House and at Meals on Wheels. For 28 years Bob was active at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and served for a time as the chairman of their Bloemendaal Society. He was still an enthusiastic, active member of the “Ginter Geezers” who worked on various construction projects for the Garden throughout the year.
Bob was a talented woodworker and carpenter and could seemingly build just about anything from a child”s cradle to a house. Most importantly, Bob was generous of spirit and time with his family and friends and will be greatly missed.
A memorial service celebrating Bob”s life will be held on Friday, July 30, 2021, at 2 p.m. at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 1400 Horsepen Rd., Richmond, VA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his memory to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, www.lewisginter.org.