Robert Dixon Garner
February 3, 1946 – May 20, 2020
Bob Garner of Huntingtown, Maryland, died peacefully at home due to complications from Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, which he fought valiantly for three years. Born in Prince Frederick, Maryland, to Orville and Ellen Dixon Garner, he was the second of six children, all of whom spent their youth in the Dowell area.
After high school, he became the first midshipman from the county appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1969 and being commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. A naval aviator, he primarily flew the CH-46 Sea Knight (aka “Phrog”), but also operated many other aircraft as a flight instructor. Following numerous deployments to the Mediterranean, Bob (call sign “Hippo”) assumed command of HMM-264 in New River, North Carolina. He transitioned to the acquisition world and became program manager of the V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey, shepherding it from termination by the administration back to life and its transition into production. After 28 years of service and retirement from the USMC as a Colonel of Marines, he joined the team of FLIR, Inc., and returned to his native Calvert County, ultimately becoming a substitute teacher, focusing on Calvert and Windy Hill Middle Schools. In addition to teaching and coaching girls’ softball, Bob enjoyed woodworking, being outdoors, swapping stories and celebrating his Celtic heritage at various highland games.
Bob’s wife of 33 years, Chris Stelloh-Garner, and his mother Ellen are among his survivors, as are his siblings Bud and wife Cula, Ben and wife Pilar, SueEllen, and Jayne and husband Perry Hatch. His youngest brother, David, died at birth. Uncle Tilden Garner, who was like a brother, survives him along with his wife, Diann; as do his uncle Bill Dixon and wife Diane. Children from his first marriage to Ann Burgess also survive him: R. Chris and wife Meg, their children Ben and Everett; and Eric and wife Stephanie. Additional family include his brother- and sister-in-law, Ren and Toni Stelloh; and borrowed children Kevin and Lynne Tucker, along with their family: Deb and Nate Kolb, their sons Lincoln and Tristan; Audrey Tucker and mate Andrew Stray; and Brad Tucker. Bob also is survived by numerous other relatives and friends.
The jungle is now quiet, and Hippo is at peace. A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at a later date, once it’s safe to move about in public again. Should you care to make a contribution in his memory, please consider Calvert Hospice, PO Box 838, Prince Frederick, MD 20678; or Calvert Marine Museum, PO Box 97, Solomons, MD 20688. Semper Fidelis.