Dr. Robert E. Melby, 90, passed away January 12, 2019. Born in Thief River Falls, MN, on August 6, 1928. Bob earned his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry (Chicago, IL) in 1951. He met his future wife, Charlotte, while attending the Navy’s Officers Candidate School in Newport, RI. They were married in 1953 and moved to St. Petersburg in 1956 to establish his optometric practice after serving for 4 years in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant. Bob loved his career and his patients and continued to practice until Parkinson’s disease affected his mobility at the age of 86.
Bob was a man of honor who faithfully served his Lord, his family and his country. He was always present for family dinners and the plethora of sporting events and other activities that come with the territory when you have four children. Bob was active in the local community and served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1978 - 1982. He was a long-time member and past president of the West Side Exchange Club, a member of Lakewood Country Club, member and past president of both the Bahama Shores Civic Association and Dolphin Cay Homeowners Association, and a faithful member of the Lakewood United Methodist and Pass a Grille Community Churches, where he sang in the choir. He was also a past president and lobbyist for the Pinellas County Optometric Association.
Bob had a love for the water that started as a young boy boating and fishing on the lakes of Minnesota and continued throughout 50 years of boating within the Tampa Bay area - including cross-state journeys via the Intracoastal Waterway. Bob enjoyed dancing, socializing with his many, many friends and traveling. He was particularly fond of time spent in their vacation home in Cashiers, NC, where he could be seen driving through town in his robin-egg blue Jeep.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Charlotte; four children, Rob Melby (Jane), Craig Melby (Nikki), Linda Melby Nease, and Carolyn Holman (Scott); 10 grandchildren: Robb Melby, Samantha Melby Walker, Leah Melby Clinton, Tara Melby, Victoria Melby, Hannah Nease, Hogan Nease, Wright Holman, Charlotte Holman, and Mary Scott Holman; his sister, Carol Fingerson, a nephew, John Hastings, and a niece, Vicky Sagan. He was predeceased by his parents, Carl and Inga Melby, and grandchildren Kaitlyn Melby and Emily Melby.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held January 19th at 3:00 pm at Pass a Grille Community Church, St. Pete Beach. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to www.parkinson.org