Robert D. Close, age 94, of Joplin, Mo. passed away at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday, September 4, 2018 peacefully at his home. Bob was born August 6, 1924 in Carterville, Mo., the son of Otis R. and Lora Tanner Close. He was a 1924 graduate of Carterville High School and attended Joplin Junior College in 1942 and in 1946 after serving in World War II.
Robert was in training at Camp Campbell, Kentucky for six months before being shipped to North Africa. He served three years in the U. S. Army with the 69th Armored Division. He served in Africa, Italy, Corsica, France, Germany and Austria, being involved in 7 task forces. Bob was awarded five battle stars and two bronze arrowheads. He took part in the invasion of the Anzio beachhead and was awarded the Purple Heart, March 27, 1944.
Bob was employed by the Joplin National Bank and Trust Co. from 1946-1947, Webb City Bank, 1947-1951, Northern Stevedoring Co. in Seward, Alaska, 1951-1952, Gilloz Bank and Trust Co. ,1953, First National Bank and Trust Co., Joplin 1953-1966, President of Community National Bank, 1966-1972, and returned to First National Bank, now U. S. Bank as Senior Vice President until his retirement in 1987. He was a graduate of the Commercial Lending School, University of Oklahoma, Norman, a graduate of Robert Morris Associated Loan Management School, University of Indiana, Bloomington, and a graduate of Bank Management School at University of Columbia, Harriman, New York.
Bob was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Joplin for 61 years. He coached Cub Scout Baseball and Basketball with Al Burgess. He served 23 years as the Finance Officer of the Ozark Area Girl Scout Council. He had been a Director of the Joplin Retail Credit Union, Treasurer of the Joplin Clearing House Association, Director of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, a Financial Advisor to the Junior Achievement Program of Joplin, Director of the MSSU Alumni Association, Charter Member and Director of Briarbrook Golf and Country Club, President and Chairman of the Board of the Salvation Army, President of the Four County Bankers Association, Director of the Home Abstract and Title Company, Directory of the Frank Childress Scout Reservation, Trustee of the Carterville Cemetery Trust, Past President of the Joplin Optimist Club, Director of the Joplin Kiwanis Club, and a Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Springfield Chapter.
He was a member of the Webb City Lions Club, Perseverance A.H.T.A., Twin Hills Golf and Country Club, Joplin Toastmasters Club, Joplin Historical Society, Spiva Council of the Arts, Mercantile MESA and a member of the American Legion for over 60 years.
Bob married Phyllis Jo Rusk September 1, 1946 at First United Methodist Church in Carterville, Mo. and recently celebrated their 72nd. wedding anniversary. Additional survivors include one daughter, Renee Close Goostree, Joplin, one son, Phillip J. Close and wife Jo Hannah, Neosho, Mo., two granddaughters, Emily Goostree, Webb City, and Alexandra Close Maffei and her husband C.J., Neosho, Mo., one great grandson, Ethan Goostree, Webb City, and a niece, Mary Anita Gustin and family, Belen, New Mexico. Bob was preceded in death by a brother, Maxwell Close.
Services will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church of Joplin with Pastor Marsha Eichler officiating. Reserve seating will be provided for the Tri M Sunday School Class and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Burial with Military Honors will follow at the Carterville Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6-7 p.m. Thursday at the Chapel. Memorial contributions are requested to Ronald McDonald House of the Four States or Carterville Cemetery Assoc. in care of the Mortuary. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Mason-Woodard Mortuary of Joplin, Mo.