ALEXIUS, Dr. Robert Martin 1934-2019 Our cherished father, husband, grandfather, uncle, and friend passed away Wednesday, August 14, 2019, after a short illness. He was the kind of man we all wish we could be. He was a rare person that never met a stranger, had an unearthly capacity for love, and could spread that love and friendship to everyone just by being in the room. Dad was the guy you wanted at your party, he was the one you wanted your friends to meet. He was a bright, happy glow in a room or a world where that is sometimes hard to find. He was born in 1934 in downtown New Orleans, La., to Carl and Myrtle Sulfstede Alexius. He and his four brothers and sisters, CJ, Elaine, Richie, and Gerry, grew up in a very loving home filled with music and laughter. After high school he enrolled into LSU, where he first studied engineering, but quickly realized that music was his real calling. During his studies at LSU, he was drafted into the army, where, although trained for a morse code instructor, he almost immediately became part of the army's "2nd Army Showmobile", playing bass and singing for entertainment of troops and political functions throughout the country. He often recalled that Richard Nixon was a very gracious listener. In 1959 he earned his BA in music in LSU. Several years later, he decided to pursue both a BS and MA degree at Memphis State University, and a doctorate of philosophy at the University of Texas. Bob worked for the Texas Education Agency for over twenty-five years serving as a division director. He advocated for equal educational opportunities for all students while making lifelong friends. During this time he met his wife of 19 years, Barbara, and had four children, Britt, Erin, Anna and Marty. He worked for 20 years as a musician, playing in studios, concerts, clubs, symphony orchestras, as well as with the likes of Elvis Presley, Stan Kenton, Paul Whiteman, Floyd Cramer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pete Fountain, on the Ed Sullivan Show, and too many others to name. His love was the upright bass, but later in life he taught himself to play the tuba and spent 30 years playing with banjo groups and organizations throughout the country. These were some of the best times of his life, as he loved the friends and fellowship and world-class musicians offered by these close-knit groups. He was asked and accepted to be on the Board of Directors for the very respected American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City. In 1995 he married Patsy Phillips, his beloved wife of 26 years, and became stepfather to two more children, Larry and Beth. Dad and Patsy were avid travelers and cruisers, and travelling became one of their lifelong passions. As time passed, they were blessed with six more loves of their lives, Cole, Spencer, Alexus, Sidney, Henry, and Meribeth, their grandchildren. Dad - Paw Paw - particularly loved travelling with his grandkids. Bob's interests were too numerous to list. Always a person to better himself and learn new things, he was an avid reader and an accomplished wood craftsman. He would literally give you the shirt off his back, or the last dollar in his wallet. He loved a good joke and was not stingy with them either. He lived by phrases like "what can I do to help", "always return a borrowed object in better shape than you borrowed it", "if it's worth doing its worth doing right", " love thy neighbor" , " it's better to give than to receive" He was always a wonderful advisor, could always find a middle ground, and had an enormous shoulder to cry on. He's taught us wisdom, forgiveness, humility, and humor. Even though he's gone, he will be with us, with those whose life he's touched, forever. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patsy Willingham Phillips Alexius; parents Karl and Myrtle Alexius; two brothers, Carl John and Richard Carl Alexius. Survivors include sisters, Elaine Stiegler, Geraldine Rankin, and sister-in-law Nancy Alexius; son, Britt Alexius and wife Cathy; daughter, Erin Alexius Davis and husband Bob; daughter Anna Catherine Maupin and husband Kurt; son Marty Alexius; son, Larry Phillips and wife Robin; daughter Beth Phillips; grandchildren, Cole, Alexus, Spencer, Sidney, Henry, Meribeth and great granddaughter Hadley; numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins. The family will be accepting guests at Cook Walden Forest Oaks Funeral Home, 6300 W William Cannon Dr., Austin, Texas 78749, from 3:00pm-5:00pm on Sunday, August 18, 2019. Funeral services will be held at St. James' Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Rd., Austin, TX 78721, at 1:00pm on Monday, August 19, 2019. Interment will be held at a later date with Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Hope Mausoleum in New Orleans, Louisiana. Honorary pallbearers will be Cole, Alexus, Spencer, Sidney, Henry and Meribeth. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Banjo Museum, 9 East Sheridan Ave., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, 405-604-2793; the Austin Banjo Club, www.austinbanjoclub.org or 4517 Triangle Ave., Apt 425, Austin, Texas 78751, in care of Tom Straus; or the Austin Traditional Jazz Society, PO Box 27694, Austin, Texas 78755-7694.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Aug. 17 to Aug. 18, 2019
Patsy Ruth Willingham Alexius
1941–2016 (m. 1995)
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