James Robert (Bob) St. Clair, 97, of Alexandria, Virginia passed away gently on January 6th 2023, at the Fairfax Senior Living Community, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Bob was born February 25, 1925 in Washington D.C. He was the son of Joseph Frederick St. Clair and Estella Mae Rollins St. Clair. Bob’s father grew up on a farm in Southern Maryland and moved to Washington D.C. for work. As a child growing up during the depression, Bob and his brother William spent summers on the Tippett family farm which was situated on a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland. It was during these early years that he developed a love of life around the water, and appreciation of hard work, which later served him well in his business career.
As a boy growing up in D.C. and attending public school, Bob developed a passion for music. His neighborhood near the Navy Yard was heavily populated by members of the military bands and he benefitted greatly by learning from some of the musicians of his era. As a high school student, he was playing trumpet at a professional level, and his musical talent created the opportunity for him to play with notables of the Big Band era including Lawrence Welk, Anna Rae Hutton, and Artie Shaw. He was a member of Barney Breiskin’s band at the Shoreham Hotel and a member of the first Redskin Band.
After he graduated from Eastern High School, Bob enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to Franklin & Marshall College in the Naval Air Core program where he studied until his outfit was deployed. While in the service he played with the Navy School of Music and later during World War II served on the US aircraft carrier Tarawa.
Bob met and fell in love with Ruth Riley Rice, of New Market, Virginia, while she was working in Washington. They married on April 10, 1948. Like many young families after the war, they settled in the new, growing suburban area of Northern Virginia. For 61 years they enjoyed life and raised their two children on Morningside Road in the Wellington Heights community.
Bob was honorably discharged from the Navy after the war and he started his business career with Edgar R. Morris Co. and later worked with Westinghouse, rising to regional sales manager. St. Clair Appliance Distributors opened in March of 1966 and Bob and Ruth worked successfully together to grow the business which later welcomed other family members. Ruth St. Clair predeceased her husband in 2009.
Bob will be remembered for his life together with his wife Ruth. Inseparable, they built a second home in Leonardtown, Maryland, where they spent most weekends around the water. The family has over the years spent as much time together as possible in St. Mary’s County enjoying the lower Potomac River areas where the entire family grew to love the home of his ancestors.
Bob is survived by his daughter Sharon Leigh St. Clair Lugar, and her husband Larry Lugar of Charlottesville, Virginia; son Robert Franklin St. Clair and his wife Kelly (Myatt) St. Clair of Alexandria, Virginia; his three grandchildren: Kevin Lugar and his wife Susan, Zack St. Clair and his wife Danielle, and Cory St. Clair. He also had four great-grandchildren: Brandon Lugar, Natalie Lugar, Sutton St. Clair, and Baker St. Clair.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, or to a charity of your choice.
Services will be private.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation