Robert McClary

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Robert Starr McClary, 61, of Cape Girardeau died Tuesday, April 13, 2010, surrounded by his loving family.

Complications of an illness discovered just weeks ago stilled the voice of a veteran public official who dedicated a life of integrity to giving assistance to the aspirations of area citizens.

Robb, as he was known by all, was born in Bonne Terre, Mo., on June 12, 1948, to Edward and Elizabeth Gamel McClary. He grew up in Jackson, graduating from Jackson High School in 1966, Kemper Military Academy and Southeast Missouri State University before earning a master's of public policy administration with honors from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

He and Mary A. Phyfer were married Sept. 15, 2001, in Eureka Springs, Ark.

Most recently he fulfilled a long-held dream to have his own business by launching Starr Electric Co. and also served as assistant to the Cape Girardeau County Commission.

He was a candidate for county auditor. Previously he had a long record of public service including city manager positions in Brush, Colo., Sebastian, Fla., Bullhead City, Ariz., and Park Hills, Mo. He also held the post of director of inspections for the city of Cape Girardeau.

Robb was an active member of La Croix United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau and gave freely of his time and talents to improve the quality of life for people in ways great and small. His electrical skills on behalf of Habitat for Humanity testified to his philosophy that all people are entitled to decent homes. He was active in organizations such as the local Boy Scouts of America (he was an Eagle Scout himself) and We Can Weekend, a program that supports cancer patients.

Local music lovers remember Robb playing lead saxophone in the Cape-based band Mid-Life Crisis. Ever the family man, he enjoyed boating and water skiing on Lake Wappapello (his boat was named My Girl).

The annals of Jackson High sports note that as a J.H.S. student he specialized in cross-country, where he set a record winning time that stood for years.

Robb is survived by his beloved wife, Mary McClary; a son, Robert Starr McClary III and partner Dave Kittredge of Los Angeles; a daughter, Frances "Francie" McClary Cable and husband Jerry of Lincoln, Neb.; their mother, Elaine McClary of St. Louis; two stepchildren, Cindy Bright and husband Tony of O'Fallon, Ill., Ben Phyfer and wife Cheri of Dallas; his mother, Elizabeth McClary of Jackson; four siblings, Lynn McClary Hawkins of Deland, Fla., Laura McClary Avakian and husband Steve of Hull, Mass., Ed McClary of San Francisco, Jane McClary Oakley and husband Glenn of Rocky Hill, NJ; four grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Edward McClary.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. today at Cracraft-Miller Funeral Home in Jackson, and from 9 a.m. to service time Friday at La Croix United Methodist Church.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the church, with the Rev. Ron Watts officiating. Interment will be in the family cemetery in Festus, Mo.

Memorial contributions may be made to local organizations that meant so much to Robb including Habitat for Humanity, 117 N. Middle St.; Boy Scouts of America, Shawnee District, Ritter Service Center, 3000 Gordonville Road; and We Can Weekend, c/o Regional Cancer Center, Southeast Missouri Hospital, 1701 Lacey St., all in Cape Girardeau.