American Veteran 01

Dr. Robert Ed Lair, Jr.

May 2, 1939 ~ September 16, 2022 (age 83)



Dr. Robert E. Lair, Jr. of Columbus, NC died on September 16, 2022 in Hospice House in Forest City. 

He was born on May 2, 1939 to Ed and Annie Louise Lair in Anna, Texas.  He married Judith (Judy) Anne Trevvett on September 15, 1962 at Camp Lejeune, NC and they had four children and six grandchildren.  Surviving are his wife Judy and daughters Marlene (Tom) Strutz and Karen Lair and son Greg (Michelle) Lair.  Their six grandchildren are Anastasia and Alexis Bowden, Katy and Marcus Strutz, Andrew and Luke Lair. Bob's oldest son, Brian, died in 1975.

Dr. Lair, an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church, served eight pastoral appointments over 34 years in Western North Carolina before his retirement to Columbus in 2001. He was the first Hospice Chaplain in Polk County and Union County - where the chaplains were volunteers.

Retiring with the rank of Colonel, Lair was a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army and served a total of 37 years, active and reserve.  In the Marine Corps he served as a rifle platoon commander and weapons platoon commander.  He served as a company executive officer and a member of the battalion staff.  In the Army he served on brigade and division staffs and at the major command level.  He served in the Pentagon as the Reserve Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Chaplains.  He received the Legion of Merit for his service especially during Operation Desert Storm.

Lair was a graduate of Anna High School (Texas), the University of North Texas, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Emory University.  In 1974 he was a Merrill Fellow at Harvard University.  Dr. Lair served on the adjunct faculty of several civilian colleges and universities.  He served on the adjunct faculty of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.  He also served as a curriculum developer at the U.S. Army’s Chaplain School.

Since retiring to Polk County, Lair served as Chaplain of St. Luke’s Hospital from 2004 to 2018.  He was a volunteer with the Department of Defense with the NC Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for many years.  He was a life member of DAV, VFW, Military Officers Association and the NRA.  He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, American Legion and the Military Order of Foreign Wars.  He was an active member of the Rotary Club of Tryon since 2005 and served as President of that club from 2009-2010.  He served Rotary District 7670 as Assistant Governor from 2011-2013.  He was a member of Tryon’s First Baptist Church and taught the Senior Adult Sunday School as well as sang in the choir and played in the handbell choir.

Bob's body was donated to Duke University Medical School for medical education and research as was his son Brian Christopher's in 1975.

A celebration of Life is scheduled for 2 PM Thursday, December 22, 2022 at First Baptist Church in Tryon, NC. 

Memorials may be made to St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation or Hospice of the Carolina Foothills.

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