Robert Don “Bob” Rawlings, father of three, was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Robert Eves Rawlings and Marie Leon Poole Rawlings on August 18, 1938. He went to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on December 28th, 2020.
He was a veteran and served in the United States Airforce from January 1959 to October 1963. He attended the University of Chattanooga, Auburn University, and after moving to Oklahoma he attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He met Mary Alice Porter in Shreveport, LA and were married on September 10, 1960 in Nashville, Arkansas. Bob had a love for music. From choir to jazz bands in high school and college to even performing on the Grand Ole Opry. He loved sharing his talent with everyone. He loved the Lord and because of it created a church youth choir called Christ Generation Singers in Sallisaw, OK that traveled all over the nation to share the gospel. He loved to lead hymns for the congregation and passed on his love for worship to his grandchildren. He enjoyed wood working and made many items for family and friends that will be cherished forever. He was a nursing home administrator before working and retiring from the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health. Bob had a long-distinguished career as the past chair of the NASMHPD Older Persons Division and the first Chair of the National Association of PASRR Professionals. He was a champion of mental health and aging coalitions having established the first state coalition in the nation in his home state of Oklahoma. He represented NASMHPD on the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging when it was founded in 1991. He helped many states and communities develop coalitions while serving as a trainer for a SAMHSA funded technical assistance center for several years. His advocacy work at the national level was recognized by being awarded the American Society on Aging Mental Health and Aging Network Award at the 2017 Aging in America Conference in Chicago. He did not slow down after retirement. He did consulting work in mental health and aging. He was very active in his church and enjoyed teaching a class for older adults on how to use computers. He used his coalition building and computer skills to assist several coalitions, churches, and non-profit organizations. There was not much that he did not or could not do and wherever he was he made a great impact on the people around him.
He is survived by sister Susie Rawlings Batchelor and husband Dr. Dale Batchelor of Nashville, TN, wife of home Mary Alice Porter Rawlings of Durant, OK, his son Richard (Rick) Rawlings and wife Robin of Kingwood, TX, daughter Angela Rawlings Gregory and husband Matt of Durant, OK, daughter-in-law Markita Grider Rawlings of Kansas City, KS, grandchildren Pete Rawlings, Shaun Rawlings, and wife Ami of Durant, OK, Chad Rawlings and wife Casey of Medina, OH, Brittni Rawlings Joines and husband Roby of Caddo, OK, Erin Boehme, Tyler Rawlings, and Tanner Rawlings of Kingwood, TX, Kaitlyn Gregory, Paige Gregory, and Abigail Gregory of Durant, OK, four step-grandchildren Amber Johnson, Austin Newby, wife Katy, Aubrey Newby Rawlings of Kingwood, TX, and Aaron Newby and wife Alesha of Florida, 9 great-grandchildren, 4 step-great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He is preceded in death by his parents Robert E. and Marie Rawlings, and son Robert Mark Rawlings.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory to J127 in Durant, OK, the Salvation Army, or the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Memorial service will be held at a later date due to COVID-19. He will be buried at Unity Baptist Cemetery in Nashville, Arkansas.
Services are under the direction of Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home in Durant, Oklahoma. www.holmescoffeymurray.com
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