Robert James “Bob” Keyes, Jr., passed away at his home on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at 11:30 A.M.
Bob was born in Neptune, New Jersey, on January 31, 1942, and moved to Cottondale with his family in 1978. He served in the U.S. Navy in the early 1960’s as a Frogman (Navy Seal) and was an Underwater Demolition Specialist while serving in the Vietnam War. From 1966 to 1974, Bob served on the Brielle (New Jersey) Police Department and medically retired as a Detective. During his tenure, he was a firearms Instructor and founded the Underwater Search and Rescue Team, specializing in training each member on the use of SCUBA equipment and Swift Water Rescue techniques. Bob was the Fire Chief of the Cottondale Volunteer Fire Department for 17 years and on the department for 19 years. He was a longtime member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church and is a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Bob was an avid fisherman and hunter and was well known for his generosity and commitment to serving his community.
Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Julia Elizabeth (Brandon) Keyes; his parents, Robert James Keyes Sr. and Daisy Richardson Keyes of Lake Como, New Jersey; brothers, Harvey Keyes and Gary Keyes also of New Jersey.
He is survived by his son, Robert James “Bud” Keyes, III, and wife, Carol of Maryland; daughter, Kristine Janice Gray and husband, Rhondon of Cottondale, FL; brothers, Steven Keyes of New Jersey, David Keyes and Kevin Keyes both of New Jersey; sister, Daisy Wilson of New Jersey; sisters-in-law, Ethel Brandon, Monica Weader and husband, Bryan; brothers-in-law, Alcalde Brandon and wife, Chong, John Brandon and wife, Janice, and David Brandon and wife, Cindy. Other survivors include his grandchildren, Eric Gray and wife, Ashley, Natasha Gray, Briana Gray, Cameron Gray, Jaydon Gray, Robert James “Bo” Keyes IV, Joshua Keyes, Elizabeth Burroughs, and Victoria Sanford; great grandchildren, Ethan Gray, Cali McKnight, Himayah Dabbs, Dicen Dabbs, Darya Bridges, Robert James Keyes V, Alana Keyes and Ariel Keyes; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as his very special extended family, Bruce and Kathy Diesner, Harmon and Shirley Watts, and Ralph Gandy.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 A.M., Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 3009 5th St., Marianna, Florida. Interment will follow in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Sunny Hills, Florida with Marianna Chapel Funeral Home directing.
The family will receive friends from 9 A.M. until the time of service at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.
Flowers will be accepted, or if desired, donations may be made to the Cottondale Volunteer Fire Department, Cottondale, Florida, in honor of Robert James Keyes, Jr.