USS Cleveland CL-55 Reunion Association

Robert L. Gittings

Robert L. Gittings, Sr.

Robert Louis Gittings, born July 19, 1916, to Cyrus Ason and Alice Teresa Hollister Gittings in Grandfield, OK passed away on January 23, 2012, in Jacksonville, FL. He was predeceased by his loving and devoted wife Mary Largent Gittings and his daughter, Roberta Louise Gittings Schleiner. Louis is survived by his remaining 4 children and was the 2nd of 4 siblings. He was predeceased by his sisters and their husbands Mary Gittings Laudermilk (Jack)-Cape Canaveral, FL, Hope Gittings McConnell (Don)- Duncan, OK and his brother Paul Gittings (Reba). Louis is survived by his sister in law Reba Gittings-Graham, TX, and many loving nieces and nephews.

Louis grew up in a loving but strict Christian, farming family with parents who believed in the importance of a spiritual home. He not only embraced this in his own life, but also encouraged his children to be involved in a church home. Growing up in the Oklahoma "dust bowl" he was accustomed to hard work being a necessary part of achieving ones goals. Louis was inducted into the National Honor Society in 1932 and graduated as an honor student from Grandfield High School class of '34. He attended Cameron College in Norman, OK and graduated from Oklahoma University, School of Engineering in 1938. In 1939 he entered Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, FL. Upon graduation in 1940, he was assigned to NAS Jacksonville as a flight instructor. Riverside Presbyterian Church became his spiritual home and the place he met and married his first wife, Ruth Louise McDonald the mother of his first three children. Over the years, Louis served the church faithfully in many capacities.

In the spring of 1942, our country was at war in a desperate struggle. Louis was soon needed to support our troops in the European, African, and Middle Eastern Campaign. By 1943 he was deployed with the Pacific Fleet. During the next 5 years he would fly many different types of aircraft and serve on several ships including the Cleveland, the Missouri and the Wasp. He received many accolades and awards for his distinguished service during WW2 including: 1 star for the European- African-Middle Eastern Campaign and 2 stars for the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign as well as a purple heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross while achieving the rank of LCDR. In 1947 Louis returned home and joined the Naval Reserves. He accepted an engineering position with the JEA and eventually served as Director of Operations. Following his retirement in '75 he became a special projects engineer with the firm of Smith and Gillespie.

In 1962, once again in his home church, Louis met and married the love of his life, Mary Largent Davis Gittings, a prominent Duval County educator and former principal of Fishweir Elementary School. After her retirement in the early 80's, they enjoyed many years traveling the world with their friends and family.

Together they raised 5 children. Roberta Louise Gittings Schleiner -deceased(Winfred)-Davis, CA, Sharon Gittings Vandiver (Harold), Robert Louis Gittings, Jr. (Bobbie), Anita Gittings Jones (Bill)-Jacksonville, FL and Rayborn L. Davis (Jeannie)-Rockville, Md. Grandchildren are: Ann Marie Schleiner Hernandez-Galvan (Luis)-Singapore, Christa Schleiner-Santa Cruz, CA-Emily Schleiner-Davis, CA, Sandra Teachey Lenox (Kevin)- LaJolla, CA, Robert Doyle Teachey (Melissa)-Tampa, FL, Angela Hope Gittings Wells (Jim)-Atlanta, GA, Ethan Kyle Gittings, USMC-deployed Afghanistan, Robert Chad Gittings, Jacksonville, FL, Cristine Davis Turner (Todd)-Fleming Island, FL, Jamie Davis Flaherty (Pete)-Chicago, IL, Shannon Davis-Atlanta, GA. Great grandchildren are: Kaitlyn Wells, Carter Wells, Jordan Wells, Atlanta, GA, Ryan Christopher and William Andrew Teachey, Tampa, FL and Maya Flaherty, Chicago, IL.

Louis (Gramps, Grandpa, Supper-Daddy) was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and greatgrandfather, who spent a life devoted to leading by example. He served his Church as an usher, deacon, elder and Clerk of the Session. He also served in the Meals on Wheels program until he became physically unable to meet their needs. He was a volunteer for the NAS Jacksonville pharmacy, was an active member of the Jacksonville Civitan Club, St. Johns Dinner Club and the IEEE Society and really enjoyed a good game of bridge.

The family very much appreciates the wonderful care Louis received at Riverside Presbyterian House and the Park Ridge Nursing and Convalescent Center as well as his longtime care giver and friend Sharon Rose.

"Fair winds and Following Seas" Dad!