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Robert James Arkley, 82, a longtime businessman, developer, realtor and retired U.S. Army officer, passed away at the Starr Farm Nursing Center on Thursday, September 20, 2012. Born in Burlington on June 3, 1930, he was the son of the late Floyd J. and Marion (Killam) Arkley. On August 18, 1956, Bob married the former Marjorie Shonio in West Hartford, CT.
Bob was a graduate of Burlington High School and continued his education at the University of Vermont graduating in 1952 with his bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology. His additional education included advanced administration management at George Washington University, course work at Fayetteville University and earning his master’s degree in international relations of the Far East in 1973 from the University of Arizona.
Bob had a long and distinguished military career that began in 1952 when he joined the U.S. Army. Having served in both the Korean War and Vietnam War, Bob was a member of the U.S. Army Rangers and Special Forces. His many awards included a Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, U.S. Army Air Medal for 25 combat missions, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and the Legion of Merit. Bob retired as a lieutenant colonel on June 30, 1975.
Returning to Waterbury, Bob continued in his family’s business, Waterbury Enterprises, and was a well-known entrepreneur, developer and realtor in the greater central Vermont area. The National Association of Realtors recognized him nationally when they honored him with the Distinguished Service Award, chosen from the 1.2 million membership citing his commitment to development of low- to moderate-income housing and commercial development having built Waterbury’s first shopping center and first industrial park. Bob was also a founding partner of Vermont Realty Exchange in Waterbury.
Bob was a life member of the Harry N. Cutting American Legion Post 59 in Waterbury, VFW Post 792 of Montpelier, the DAV, Military Officers Association Century Club, Airborne Association (only members who have executed 100 or more jumps), the Special Forces Association and the Special Forces Decade Club. His civic memberships included the Waterbury Rotary Club where he was a Paul Harris Fellow, past president, director and member for 27 years of the Central Vermont Economic Development Corp, former Commissioner for eight years of the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, served on the Presidents Council for the National Realtor Political Action Committee, a lifetime director and Hall of Fame member of the National Realtor’s Association, served as state president of the Vermont Realtor’s Association, former bank director and a member of Governor James Douglas’s Veteran’s Advisory Council. Bob was a member of Winooski Lodge 49 F&AM, a 32nd degree member of the Scottish Rite and a member of the Waterbury Congregational Church.
In his leisure time Bob enjoyed hunting in Newfoundland, fishing at the Lake Mansfield Trout Club, was a master gardener, meeting with friends at the Waterbury American Legion and having breakfast with “the boys” and all that comes with that at the Park Row Restaurant in Waterbury.
Bob is survived by his wife of 56 years, Marjorie Arkley of Moretown; their children, Stephen R. Arkley and his wife Debra of East Hampstead NH, and Deanna A. Johnson and her husband Walt of Poquoson VA; five grandchildren, Jennifer, Jessica, Christopher, Ashley and Bethany; three great-grandchildren, Malakai, Joseph and Patrick; as well as nieces, nephews and extended family. Bob was predeceased by a brother, John Arkley.
A service celebrating the life of Robert J. Arkley will be held from the Waterbury Congregational Church on October 2, 2012, at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow in the church dining room. Inurnment with military honors will take place in the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph. The family requests that flowers be omitted; rather memorial gifts would be appreciated to the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org). To send online condolences please visit www.perkinsparker.com and Facebook. Assisting the family is the Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury.