CDR Robert's Story
CDR Robert B Segal, USN (Ret.), was born September 27, 1930, and died in Oklahoma City on January 7, 2018. He passed away at home, at peace, surrounded by family per his wishes.
Bob led a very full and interesting life filled with much more joy than sorrow. He was born in Warsaw, Poland, and fled the Nazi Regime with his parents, Dr. Marek and Nora Segal, to immigrate to America. They were at sea when the nation was attacked on 7 December, causing them to be temporarily diverted before they could land at Ellis Island.
He grew up in New York City while his father worked full-time to learn enough English to be certified as a doctor in this country. Bob quickly added English to his other languages and within months was winning spelling bees.
As a kid, he developed a love for baseball which stayed with him his entire life, often skipping school to sneak into New York Giants games at the old Polo Grounds. He wound up playing stickball with people on his street, including an older man in poor health - that man was Babe Ruth.
Because of his strong math and science skills, he earned a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship at the University of Rochester in New York. He earned extra spending money teaching others probability and statistics through applied lessons in poker, bridge and cribbage. He was commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy and began a 26-year adventure on active duty. Bob served in the silent service on diesel submarines in San Diego and Hawaii.
One day while in a La Jolla bar, Bob was spotted by a nurse looking for a bridge partner. That partnership lasted 54 years as Bob married Patricia Robey in November 1958. In 1960, they were blessed with the birth of their first child, Mark, and their daughter, Donna, came along in 1962. The family lived in Washington, D.C., did a second tour in Hawaii, and then back to California while Bob served in Vietnam.
In 1975, Bob was assigned to McAlester Naval Ammunition Depot which represented a significant and life-altering change from living overseas in Taiwan.
Bob served as the last Navy CO of the base and oversaw the transition to the Army in 1977. There was one more assignment in California, but Oklahoma was calling. No place else had ever felt so welcoming, and they knew it was where they wanted to make their home in retirement.
Bob was an active member of the McAlester community, serving on the Chamber of Commerce until he and George Karatzou started a company to build wiring for the B-1 bomber. He also was a member of the State Library board, and he helped raise nearly 10 million dollars in funds to improve reading programs and facilities across the state.
Bob's interests were wide and varied and he really was a lifelong learner. He completed the master gardener certification and the 2-year EFM religious studies course. He spent thousands of hours serving as a "Pink Lady" at the McAlester Regional Health Center also serving as president of the auxiliary, participated in community theater and helped coordinate the Chautaqua summer cultural authors program. Bob served for many years as the senior warden and treasurer of All Saints Episcopal Church, and served across the state on diocesan councils.
Bob and Pat loved to travel, often with Pat's sister, Alice Bradway Scott. They visited Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Italy and almost every corner of the United States.
In 2015, Bob moved to Oklahoma City to be closer to his daughter's, Donna, family. Granddaughter Tierra Landrum-Hall, husband, Gregg, and their three amazing children provided daily joy, companionship and care, allowing him to remain at home as he battled with liver disease and dialysis. Bob was thrilled to have the privilege of walking granddaughter, Kallie, down the aisle for her at-sea wedding to Cecil Garrett.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Pat, in 2012.
He is survived by his son, Mark Segal, and wife, Sarah, of Warrenton, Virginia; daughter, Donna Landrum Segal, of Oklahoma City; six grandchildren, Tierra Hall and her husband, Gregg, of Oklahoma City, Cassandra Segal, of Oakland, California, Ralph Landrum, of Tulsa, Benjamin Segal, of Manassas, Virginia, Kallie Landrum Garrett and husband, Cecil, of Tulsa, and Ashley Segal, of New Orleans, Louisiana, and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services will be February 3 at, 11 a.m. at All Saint's Episcopal Church in McAlester.
Memorial donations may be made in memory of "Bob" Segal to All Saints Episcopal Church in McAlester.
Published on January 30, 2018