Robert F. Tansey
March 5, 1923 - February 23, 2018
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father,
grandfather, and great-grandfather, Lt. Colonel Robert F. Tansey, U.S. Army Retired, age
94, formerly of Frederick but more recently of Adamstown, on February 23, 2018 at
Frederick Memorial Hospital.
Bob was born in Corvalis, Oregon on March 5, 1923, the son of a career army officer.
He is survived by his sweetheart wife, Joanne, with whom he celebrated 63 years of
married life, and six children: Jody (Phil) Hammond of Ijamsville, Bob C. Tansey of
Frederick, Carrie (Chris) Ishee of Sante Fe, NM, Michael Tansey, New Market, Tim (Lyn)
Tansey of Colorado Springs, Co, and Polly (Steve) Burgoon of Jefferson. He leaves
behind 18 grandkids: Kristin Heffernan, Katie Escobar, Mark Hammond, Teslin Ishee,
Reannen, Brice, Aria, and Conall Wright, Mia Cason, Catie Jo and Abbie Tansey, Zak,
Nik, and Julie Tansey, Ben, Dan, Josh, and Bekah Burgoon and five great-grandkids:
Maddy, Jack, and Nolan Heffernan and Noah and Zelie Escobar, his sister Mary Devens
of Blacksburg, VA and Stannye Tansey, sister-in-law, Louisville K.Y and numerous other
relatives. He will be remembered in a special way by Trina Tansey.
Bob is predeceased by his father and mother, Major General Patrick and Jody Tansey,
his brothers, Colonel Pat and Colonel Ted Tansey, West Point graduates, both seriously
wounded in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, his younger brother Lt.
Commander Michael Tansey, Naval Academy graduate, his father and mother-in-law,
Admiral, and Mrs. William Evans Mullan. Admiral Mullan was severely wounded and
survived the sinking of the heavy cruiser, Vincennes, in the Pacific Ocean during World
War II. Upon his recovery he was skipper of the cruiser San Diego for the duration of the
Bob graduated from Western High School in Washington, D.C. in 1940, the U.S.
Military Academy in 1945, and then, upon retirement from the army, received a Master’s
Degree in Social Work specializing in Community Organization from Catholic University
in Washington, D.C.
Bob served briefly in the Philippine Islands, Japan and Korea on two tours with the First
Cavalry and the 7th Infantry Divisions, a three year tour in Bavaria with the U.S.
Constabulary, one year in Iran in 1960 advising the Imperial Iranian Army, and one year
with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. He held several staff positions at
On his second tour in the far east, Bob married his long time sweetheart, Joanne Mullan,
in Tokyo, Japan. Colonel Bud Devens, his brother-in-law, and his Chaplain in Korea,
Father Tom Morrissey, came from Korea to celebrate the wedding. Bob and Joanne
honeymooned in Kyoto and then resided in a Japanese home in Chigasaki very close to
a lovely beach on Sagami Wan.
Upon retirement from the army, Bob supervised probation officers for juvenile delinquents
and later became the Program Development Officer for the Montgomery County
Department of Correction and Rehabilitation of inmates. He was on the jail planning
committee for the present Frederick County Detention Center.
Bob and Joanne were very active at St. John’s Catholic Church in Frederick and together
received the Archdiocesan Medal of Honor for service to the church and community. Bob
and Joanne were recognized as leaders of the pro-life movement in Maryland. Both
served as Eucharistic ministers, brought the Eucharist to the homebound, assisted the
Community Action Agency in the distribution of food and both were active in the county
Young Life program, a Christian organization for youth. They were also involved in
Marriage Encounter for a number of years.
Bob was chairman of the Frederick County Christian Coalition and became deeply
involved in politics at the county, state, and national levels. The local Coalition pushed for
and helped obtain an elected school board. It was successful in getting conservative
candidates elected to Congress, the local county delegation, and the school board. Both
Bob and Joanne were very involved in attempting to defeat the Maryland abortion bill.
Bob had a very happy childhood. His fondest memory was of the three years he lived in
the Hawaiian Islands right on the beach adjacent to Waikiki Beach. He loved horses and
dogs. He rode horses at an early age – he went on a fox hunt and fell off and raced an
Iranian soldier on horseback at a track in Tehran.
He was an avid tennis player and enjoyed distance swimming, camping, mountain
climbing, and hiking. Joanne and Bob climbed Mount Fuji in Japan and Mt. Katahdin in
Maine. Bob taught youth how to play water soccer and chess at the YMCA. He was a
coach for army teams in tennis and basketball and maintained that every child should
have a dog to learn love and loyalty.
For the past 5 years, he and Joanne enjoyed residing at Buckingham’s Choice,
Adamstown and were parishioners at St. Joseph-on-Carrollton Manor. Bob was a man of
deep faith, a devoted family man and truly an “officer and a gentleman”. He was an
American patriot who loved God and country, flying the American flag every day of his life.
His grandkids and great-grandkids brought him great delight.
Colonel Tansey was a member of the West Point Association of Graduates, the Knights
of Columbus, the Retired Officers Association, the National Right to Life, Frederick
County Right to Life, the National Republican Party, the American Legion, the VFW and
the Christian Coalition.
Abundant and heartfelt gratitude to all the many Frederick Memorial Hospital nurses on
3A and most recently 4G, Hospice, Annette, Monica, and Kathryn with the FMH home
health care, nurses and aides at Buckingham's Choice and all home nursing aides,
especially Heather and Terese who so lovingly cared for Bob.
Hours of visitation at the Keeney & Basford Funeral Home will be on Friday, March 2,
from 4-7 p.m. with recitation of the rosary at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held
St. John the Evangelist catholic Church in downtown Frederick on Saturday, March 3, at 1
p.m. Colonel Tansey will be buried with military honors at St. John's Cemetery, with a
reception to follow at St. John's parish hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Frederick County Right to Life,
P.O. Box 3272, Frederick, MD 21705, St. Joseph-on-Carrollton Manor, 5843 Manor
Woods Road, Frederick, MD 21703 and St. John's Cemetery Fund, 112 E. Second
Street, Frederick, MD 21701.