Dr. Robert Leon Childress, 81, passed from this world on April 7, 2021. Robert, known by friends and family as Bob, was born to Martha (Booker) and Leon Childress on July 15, 1939 in Joplin, Missouri. Bob grew up in Baxter Springs, Kansas, and graduated from Baxter Springs High School in 1957. His memorial service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021 at the First United Methodist Church in Stillwater.
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In 1962, Bob earned Bachelor of Science degrees in both Civil Engineering and Business Administration from the University of Kansas. He then studied at the University of Southern California, where he received a Master of Science degree in Mathematics as well as a PhD in Business Administration. After completing his doctorate, Bob joined the faculty of the school of Business Administration at USC where he taught for fifteen years. In addition to teaching, Bob conducted research and authored five college textbooks. In 1982, Bob moved from Long Beach, California to Stillwater, Oklahoma to accept the position of president of the Quapaw Company, the company founded by his father in 1955. Bob used his expertise in engineering and management to grow the company to its position as a leader in the production of crushed stone and asphaltic concrete. Bob served as president for thirty-eight years, until his retirement and the sale of the company in 2020.
As a young man, Bob earned his pilot’s license and became a multi-engine, instrument-rated pilot. For forty-three years, he flew as often as possible, especially enjoying taking friends and family around the country as well as flying Oklahoma State University coaches on recruiting trips.
Bob was an accomplished ballroom dancer and was widely recognized within the dance community for his skill. He won countless awards and trophies in contests nationally and internationally.
While living in California, Bob owned and operated Melody Dance Studio. Most recently, he danced and competed for Dance Maker’s in Edmond, Oklahoma. Bob was also an avid golfer. You could find Bob on the course at Stillwater Country Club several times a week. He also golfed at famous courses around the world, including renowned U.S. courses as well as international golf trips with friends to Spain and Scotland.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Martha and Leon Childress.
He is survived by his daughter Kimberly Temple, her husband Ryan, and grandchildren Zoe and Eleni of Edmond, Oklahoma. Also surviving are his sister Carol Jones of Stillwater, Oklahoma; his brother Donald Childress and wife Dana of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and his nieces and nephews Ginny Jones, Laura Gibson, Allyson Childress, John Childress, Katy Johanson, and Jack Childress, as well as their spouses and children. He also leaves behind
companion and best friend Betty Edgley.
Bob was a kind, gentle, and generous man who truly cared for his family, friends, and dogs Bosha and Lexy. He was loved and respected by all those who were fortunate enough to know him. He will be missed.
The family wishes to thank Primrose Retirement Community, Walker Companions, and Legacy Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma or the Stillwater Humane Society would be appreciated.
Condolences may be sent to the family and an online obituary viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com.