Robert Sherwood Rawls

July 14, 1932 - November 10, 2016

07/14/1932 - 11/10/2016

Past Services

Saturday November 12, 2016
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service of Ahoskie
205 NC Highway 42 W
Ahoskie, NC 27910
252-332-3122 | Directions
Sunday November 13, 2016
Following the service at Highland Memorial Gardens
US 13 South
Ahoskie, NC 27910
Sunday November 13, 2016
2:00 pm
Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service of Ahoskie
205 NC Highway 42 W
Ahoskie, NC 27910
252-332-3122 | Directions

AULANDER, NC – Robert Sherwood Rawls, age 84, a native of Aulander, North Carolina, passed away on Thursday, November 10th, 2016.  A graduate of Aulander High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1950 and subsequently served on active duty for forty-three years.  His career included advancing from Seaman to Chief Boatswain’s mate, serving as a Chief Warrant Officer, commissioning as an Ensign, and ultimately attaining the rank of Commander.  Significantly, as a junior enlisted Sailor, he was a member of the Navy’s first SEAL Team and deployed with the SEALs in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  He also saw combat action in Vietnam.

His extensive time at sea included assignments aboard USS ALBANY (CA-123), USS WALWORTH COUNTY (LST-1164), Fleet Boat Pool, SEAL Team TWO, USS PTF-1, USS HICKMAN COUNTY (LST-825), Boat Support Unit TWO, USS PRESERVER (ARS-8), USS PORTLAND (LSD-37), and USS OAK RIDGE (ARDM-1).  Additionally, he commanded USS FIDELITY (MSO-443), Mine Division ONE TWO FIVE, and USS AVENGER (MCM-1).   Shore tours included Naval Communications Station, Washington, DC; Flag Administration Unit, Commander-In-Chief Atlantic Fleet Headquarters; and Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, VA.  Also, he earned a Master-of-Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies while a student at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

After retiring from active duty in July 1993, Rawls served as a Naval Science Instructor for the NJROTC program at Nottoway High School, Nottoway, VA, through June of 2000.  He then returned to reside in Ahoskie, NC.

He was a Free and Accepted Mason and a Charter member of Beja Shrine, Green Bay, WI. He was also a member of the American Legion, Fleet Reserve Association, Military Officers Association of America, and Military Order of the World Wars.  He was a member of Connaritsa Baptist Church, serving frequently as a Deacon.  He avidly supported the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and United Service Organizations.

Sherwood is survived by his wife Becky, son Lee and wife Becky, grandson Alex and wife Heather, granddaughter Sarah, great granddaughters Adelaide and Olivia, and great grandson Elijah.

The family will receive friends at Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service on Saturday, November 12th from 7:00 until 8:30 P.M.

A celebration of life funeral service will be held at Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service on Sunday, November 13th at 2:00 P.M., with the Rev. James Hester officiating.  Burial will follow at Highland Memorial Gardens in Ahoskie, NC.  There will be a reception after the graveside service in the Parish Hall of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Ahoskie.

In lieu of flowers, it is requested that memorial donations be made to the Baptist Children’s Homes or American Cancer Society Relay for Life directly or you may donate online to Baptist Children’s Home by clicking here or to American Cancer Society Relay for Life by clicking here.

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service is handling the arrangements for the Rawls family and online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting




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Jerry Thorsell
1 year ago

It was with great sorrow that I learned a couple years ago of the passing of CDR Rawls. He was our Commanding Officer on USS Avenger, first of the Navy’s Mine Countermeasures Ship class. No better choice could have been made to bring a crew up to speed on a brand new ship platform! Motivated could have been his middle name.
Rest easy, we have the watch Sir.

Marco Radomile
3 years ago

Unfortunately I just learn of his death however we served together at NAVCOMSTAWASH. He was a CWO, I an LTJG. I will never forget the profound effect his kindness and courage had upon me. God bless you.

Carole Leary
7 years ago

Lee and Becky, on the eve of Thanksgiving (as I write this) please be thankful for having loved such a good man. The last time I saw Sherwood was at a restaurant in Ahoskie. Although he seemed frail at the time, he still was stern and loving . I remember the early days when Lee used to beat me up ( just joking) and we would hear him say to stop it. I remember my parents and Sherwood and Becky cooking on that concrete grill in the backyard. Lee and Becky, most of all, I remember a man that loved you both, more than anything on this earth. May God be with you. Carole L.

Anne P. Stiles
7 years ago

He was a great mentor to many youth of Nottoway County, including my son Eric. I treasure fond memories. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Janet Koren
7 years ago

Mr. Rawls was the kindest and most thoughtful man I can truly say that I i was blessed to know. Seeing him with his wife, was like watching the greatest love story. He touched my life in so many ways and made me a better person. I will miss seeing him…He was loved by many and now making the angels smile.
I look forward in seeing you again. My Love to your beautiful wife and faming

Jane Hohn
7 years ago

My friendship with Bob Rawls, and Becky!, began at Nottoway High School, when he came to be in charge of our new NJROTC unit. He was always fair with the students and whenever he’d get on somebody’s case about something, they knew they had earned it! The students also knew when he was pleased with them. He will be missed!

Linda Parker
7 years ago

He was a kind dear man. My thoughts and prayers are with Becky and the family.

Bill Morgan
7 years ago

We were so very sorry to hear of the passing of such a fine man as the XO. He made a lasting impression on so many lives. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Mark S. Crawmer
7 years ago

It was an honor & a pleasure to have served under Cdr. Rawls. He turned a lot of teenage boy’s into respectable young men. Not always an easy task I’m sure. You will be missed sir. Prayers for you & your family.

Kay and Judd Byrd
7 years ago

“Bob” will surely be missed by our family. He has always been there for Lee and Melanie and his love for our little Lanie bug will always be special in our hearts. Thank you for sharing him with us.