He was born in Franklin, N.C., to the late Lake and Ethel Roberts Stiles. While a young boy, the family moved from North Carolina to the campus of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. Bob was a graduate of the RGNS class of 1955. Soon after graduation he joined the Navy. He attended photography school at Pensacola, Fla., and was assigned to VFP 62 in Jacksonville, Fla. He served on the USS Intrepid for one cruise. He was reassigned to the Naval Photographic Center near Washington, D.C. While in Washington, he married Sharon Dawn Keener of Rabun Gap, RGNS class of 1957.
Upon discharge from the Navy, Bob worked for WSB in Atlanta for two years before joining Houston Fearless Corp., based in Washington. In 1962, while working for Houston Fearless, Bob was mobilized to support the surveillance activities during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1972, he became partners in Allen Products Company located in Milford, Conn. His company supported many clients in the film and movie industries, as well as governmental agencies, among them NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1986, NASA selected videotape to replace film that had recorded all previous launches at Cape Kennedy. However, one film camera, serviced by machinery from Allen Products, continued to record the launches. This film footage was the only documentation which showed in detail the Challenger accident.
Bob retired from Allen Products in 1990 and moved to Otto. He became a certified master gardener in North Carolina and supported many local activities of the master gardener program in Macon County, N.C. In 1995, Bob rejoined Houston Fearless, initially in Compton, Calif., and then in Yuma, Ariz. He retired a second time in 2002.
Bob was preceded in death by: his parents, Lake and Ethel Stiles; and two sisters, Lillian Chastain and Lane Sargent.
He is survived by: his wife, Sharon Keener Stiles, and daughter, Wendy Stiles, both of Otto; sons, Ivy and Barry Stiles (Cathy), both of Rabun Gap; two brothers, Billy Joe Stiles (Mavis) of Rabun Gap and Bert Stiles of Carrollton; two sisters, Hazel Wilson and Laverne Henry, both of Franklin, N.C.; a sister-in-law, Sandra Smith (Jim) of Westminster, S.C.; and many nieces and nephews.
The family received friends from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Beck Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Wolffork Baptist Church Cemetery with Dr. Jack Beaver officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial contributions to be sent in the family’s name to the Lewis Rathbun Center. The Rathbun Center is a nonprofit corporation that provides lodging and other supportive services in a “home like” environment, free of charge, for patients and or their caregivers coming into Asheville, N.C., for medical treatment. Its website is http://www.rathbuncenter.org/.
Beck Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. An online guestbook is available at www.beckfuneralhome.com.