Published in Roanoke Times on September 25, 2011
Robert Gifford Veselik, 91, formerly of
Marion, passed away at Valley Health Care Center
in Chilhowie on September 23, 2011 after a short
He was born August 4, 1920 in Newport,
Rhode Island, the son of Tobias J. Veselik and
Susan Paul (Gifford) Veselik.
He grew up in Providence, R.I., and graduated from Central High School in
Washington, D.C. in 1938.
Veselik served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II,
reaching the rank of Sergeant. During the war he began working in data
processing and his unit processed coded information about weather conditions
for the D-Day Invasion. While he was stationed in Winston-Salem, N.C., he
met his future wife, Evelyn Mottesheard of Radford. The two were married
on July 27, 1945.
After the war, Veselik worked at the Pentagon prior to enrolling at Virginia
Polytechnic Institute & State University. He graduated in 1951 with a
bachelor's degree in business, having finished first in the College of Business
and thirteenth in a class of 5,000 students. While at Virginia Tech, he was a
member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, having served as
president of his chapter during his senior year. Following his graduation, he
went to work in the data processing field for various textiles manufacturers,
including Burlington Industries. In 1963, Veselik went to work for Harwood
Industries and moved his family to Marion from Halifax County, Va. In 1974,
he pursued other employment opportunities and relocated to Arkansas, North
Carolina, and Mississippi before returning to Marion in 1985.
Veselik was a past member and secretary/treasurer of the Marion Kiwanis
Club. He received the club's Kiwanian of the Year Award in 1995. He also
served as the treasurer of Marion Weekday Religious Education. He was a
long-time member of the Royal Oak Presbyterian Church in Marion, having
served the church as treasurer, deacon, and choir member. Veselik was also
the President of Marion Baseball, Inc., during which time he worked to bring
minor league baseball back to Marion. Funds raised by Marion Baseball for
new baseball stadium lights eventually went to Marion Little League as seed
money for the program.
Veselik was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 64 years, Evelyn M.
Veselik; two sons, James Robert Veselik and David Bonham Veselik; his
brother, James J. Veselik; and his niece, Christine L. Smith. He is survived by
a daughter and son-in-law, Susan V. and H. Lee Catron of Chilhowie, Va.; a
son and daughter-in-law, William A. and Cheryl A. Veselik of Marion, Va.;
five grandchildren, Amanda C. Orlowski and husband, Josh, of Johnson City,
Tenn., Samuel R. Catron of Blacksburg, Va., Andrew B. Catron of Kingsport,
Tenn., and Ethan M. and Emma E. Veselik, both of Marion, Va.; one
great-granddaughter, Addison Leeann Orlowski of Johnson City, Tenn.; a
sister-in-law, Elizabeth M. Simpkins of Richmond, Va.; a niece, Carol A.
Shepard-Erickson of Wrights Beach, N.C.; and a nephew, Jerry A. Simpkins
of Richmond, Va.
Funeral services will be held at Royal Oak Presbyterian Church on Monday,
September 26, 2011 at 3 p.m. with Rev. Alan Gray and Rev. Dr. Angus R.
The family will receive friends at the church from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday. At the
conclusion of the service, interment will follow in Rose Lawn Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Andrew B. Catron, Samuel R. Catron, Jerry A. Simpkins,
Thomas Voglewede, Eugene Hendricks and Dan H. Surface. Honorary
Pallbearers are William "Bill" Leedy, Kenneth Sledd, Donald Reynolds and
Marvin Leslie. Military honors at the gravesite will be conducted by Francis
Marion VFW Post #4667.
In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible contributions may be made to the Robert G.
and Evelyn M. Veselik Scholarship Endowment in care of the Wytheville
Community College Educational Foundation, 1000 East Main Street,
Wytheville VA 24382.
Those wishing to express sympathy online may do so by visiting
www.farrisfuneralservice.com and signing the online guestbook.
Mr. Veselik and his family are under the care of Farris Funeral Service, 427
East Main Street, Abingdon, VA 24210. (276) 623-2700.