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05/10/15 - NNHS Newsletter - Bob Avant

Frank Thomas Avant
(d. 24 May 2015)

Newport News High School Class of 1960

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,

    We have more still more sad news today.    Bob Avant, husband of   Barbara Atkins Avant (Warwick HS - '60), passed away in Newport News on Friday, May 08, 2015. 

      He was the brother of    Helen Avant Neal (’57) of VA and    Kathie Avant Taylor ('64) of GA, and of the late Lynda Avant Lasswell (’49) (1931 - 01 Sept 2014), Calvin Avant ('52),  Beverly Avant Russell ('54), Laverne Avant Jenkins, Rose Marie Avant Smoot (d. 05 Feb 1997), and Frances Avant Andrews.

     From Fred Mays ('60) of VA - 05/10/15, 5:55 PM - " Death of a classmate":

Hi Carol:

I am so sorry that I have not talked to you in so long. I miss you in that way.

I wanted to inform you of the death of a classmate of our Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. He is Bobby Avant. His obituary is in the Daily Press today. He was from a large family, and I think all of his siblings went to Newport News High School. Everyone who knew Bobby liked him, as he was the same to everyone. His wife Barbara Atkins Avant was in our class as well. He lived on Pine Avenue, directly behind Mrs. Mahone’s Chesapeake Cleaners… was located across from Buddy’s Place on 25th Street, close to the Hampton line.

The interesting thing about Wilson School is that there was only one of each grade; hence, you knew who your teacher and classmates would be the next year. It was a wonderful school.

Bobby was probably the most popular boy in our elementary school class. His family had 7 girls and 2 boys. One of his older sisters, Frances, married my wife’s uncle, George Andrews, of Hampton. Bobby was married to Barbara for 53 years, according to the newspaper.

The other children in the family are: Laverne Jenkins, Rose Marie Smoot, Frances Andrews, Beverly Russell, Linda Lasswell and one brother, Calvin. These are all deceased.

Living are:

Kathie Taylor of Atlanta, GA and N.N.H.S. class of 1964. His other surviving sister is Helen Neal of Williamsburg, VA…….As I recall all of the girls are very attractive. I certainly know that Kathie, Helen and Frances were known in high school as very pretty.

Bobby’s funeral is at Peninsula Funeral Home tomorrow, 5/11/15 at 02:30 p.m. with a visitation one hour prior, at 1:30. I would love to see so many of our N.N.H.S. classmates in attendance.

Please post this on the website…..I visited Bobby twice during his hospice time. He was at home in Shore Park in Newport News (Denbigh). I visited Bobby on Wednesday afternoon, before he died early Friday morning on May 8th. I feel badly that I had not visited him more in the last years.

His wife, Barbara, graduated from Warwick High in 1960. I think Bobby may have taken over his dad’s business and therefore not graduated from an area high school. I am unsure of this, however. Bobby’s class was the class of 1960.

Take care, my friend

Frederick W. Mays, ‘60

   Thank you so much, Fred. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. As always, though, I am grateful for your help with this edition. As the mother of seven children, I was preoccupied with the joys of Mother's Day, so was unable to do more than simply announce it on the Newsletter link until now.

   Because no date birth was published in the obituary, I spent hours searching old yearbooks trying in vain to place Bobby; I'm so glad you clarified that for me.

   Whether or not he graduated from NNHS, he would have a place on the In Memoriam Page by virtue of his once having attended school with that class. Of course as a sibling of NNHS alumni, his right to a Memorial Edition goes without saying.

   Because she resided in Idaho and her obituary was not carried in the Daily Press, I failed to make such an edition for his older sister, Lynda, when she passed away in September, but her obituary is linked to her name above.

From the Daily Press - 05/10/15:

  Robert E. Avant


    NEWPORT NEWS - Robert E Avant, a Newport News native, died Friday, May 08, 2015 after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer. His loving wife of 53 years, Barbara, was by his side.

Bob always enjoyed telling stories of growing up on Pine Avenue with his seven sisters and one brother.

He is preceded in death by his parents Archie L and Ada White Avant, five sisters Laverne Jenkins, Rose Marie Smoot, Frances Andrews, Beverly Russell, Linda Lasswell, and one brother Calvin A. Avant.

He is survived by two sisters, Helen Neal of Williamsburg and Kathie Taylor (Rick) of Atlanta, three daughters, Natalie Ray (Don), Joyce O'Neill (Mike), Melissa Avant, a son, Robert E. Avant, Jr, five grandchildren, Laura and Woody Ray and Allen, Andrew and Adam O'Neill, as well as a multitude of nieces and nephews.

Bob Avant
  Bob especially loved catching up with his large family at reunions and picnics. Bob worked at Ft. Eustis VA as a transportation mechanic and later at the Mercedes Benz truck plant in Hampton, VA as maintenance supervisor. He was a true handy-man and often worked second jobs in painting or carpentry to support his family. He was known for always being willing to step in and lend a hand to family, friends and neighbors.

The funeral will be held Monday, May 11, 2015 at 2:30 PM, at Peninsula Funeral Home, officiated by Mr. Dennis Worsham.

Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow at Peninsula Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press on May 10, 2015.

View Guest Book


May 11,

I met Bob through his wife, Barbara, a Labor and Delivery RN who helped many women give birth. Bob was a wonderful man who loved his family and friends. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

~ Kris Kiley, Gloucester Point, Virginia
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May 11, 2015  

Natalie, I'm so sorry for the loss of your dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all of your family at this time.

~ Lil Berrios, Yorktown, Virginia

May 11, 2015

Our sincerest condolences on your loss! Please know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers!

~ The Tile Shop, Hampton, Virginia

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May 11, 2015

Barbara & family. I was sad to see that Bob had passed away, but his pain is over now We had not seen each other for years I still remember him as one of the best friends I had when we were growing up on Pine Avenue. I am sure his stories are all true because we all had a blast back then.I am sorry that I can't be there to his memorial service. but I will be there in spirit.

~ Bruce Sims, Gloucester, Virginia
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May 11, 2015

So sorry to hear about your loss. You know that God and Jesus are in the best position to comfort us when we lose a loved one in death.


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   Our sincerest sympathies are extended to Bob's family and friends at this difficult time.

   This information is also posted here:

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER! We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309

Shall We Gather at the River

Words and Music by Rev. Robert Lowry (1826-1899)

 Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod;
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?


Yes, we'll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will walk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.


Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.


Soon we'll reach the shining river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease,
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.


"Shall We Gather at the River" midi and lyrics courtesy of - 07/15/07
at the suggestion of Fred Field ('45) of CA - 07/14/07
Thanks, Fred!

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 01/27/05

Animated USAF Flag clip art courtesy of - 06/18/03     

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

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