Robert Carter Naylor passed away peacefully at his home in Frederick, Maryland, on August 16th, 2021, after a hard-fought battle with leukemia. He was 85.
Bob was born on December 15, 1935 in New York City to Robert Barclay Naylor and Gertrude Grummon Naylor. He attended a private boys’ school in Manhattan until age 8, when the family moved 45 miles upstate to Central Valley, occupying the former Quaker meeting house there. His aunt, Ruth Schlatt, eight years his senior, lived with the family to help care for Bob and his younger brother Charlie. Bob completed primary school there after skipping fifth grade.
Bob played high-school golf, football, soccer, and basketball, but basketball was his first love. He played four years on the varsity team for Central Valley and Monroe-Woodbury High Schools. As center he was leading scorer and scored the winning basket at the county championship game in 1952.
After graduating at 17, he began a 20-year career in the U.S. Army. He was first deployed to a field artillery unit in Austria, where he served as a cook, turning out meals for 700. He married his first wife, Maria Knoll, in Wels, Austria in 1957. In 1960, he completed the German course at the Army Language School in Monterey, California, after which he applied his fluent language skills in the Munich-based Defense Scientist Immigration Program (Operation PAPERCLIP), a covert operation which recruited European scientists to work for the U.S. in the Cold War years.
In 1966, he began work as a POW Interrogation Officer, his primary career specialty. He served with the 18th MI Battalion, 66th MI Group, as Chief, Assistant Chief, Liaison Officer, and Interrogator at Joint Interrogation Centers in Duesseldorf, Giessen, Nuremberg, Mainz, and Munich, producing and managing the production of intelligence reporting obtained from East European refugees. He did this work as an NCO, a Chief Warrant Officer, and eventually, after his military retirement in 1975, as a DOD civilian intelligence analyst. From 1981 to 1987, at the height of the Cold War, he headed a 40-member team at the 18th MI Battalion in Munich that produced over 1,000 reports per year on Warsaw Pact military forces and the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, the most threatening concentration of Soviet forces outside Russia.
Bob also served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969, deploying with the 82nd Airborne Division as NCOIC of the POW Interrogation Section, 518th MI Detachment, 3rd Brigade. The Brigade was sent from Fort Bragg, NC, to clear out enemy holdouts near Saigon just after the Tet Offensive, and Bob spent many tense hours on low-flying helicopters to reach firebases where POWs were being held. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.
Upon his return to Germany, Bob and Maria adopted 3-month-old twins Robert and Susan from a Kinderheim in Giessen, Germany. It was one of the happiest events in his life.
Bob joined German basketball clubs everywhere he was assigned and played many years as forward and center for the Senioren II (Over 32) team of the five-time German Bundesliga champions, the Giessener 46ers, leading them in 1974 to win the German national championship in this age group. He coached club T-ball and basketball during his tour in Giessen as well, and it was during this time that he completed requirements for a bachelor’s degree in German, graduating with honors from the University of Maryland in Germany.
He first met his second wife, Patricia, in 1981 in Munich and they married in 1987. Their two daughters Jocelyn and Margaret were born in 1989 and 1991. The family spent four years in Bad Aibling, Bavaria, and when the 18th MI and the 66th MI group began to draw down in 1993, they moved to RAF Molesworth in the UK. WIth this move Bob switched from interrogation to fused intelligence analysis, and for the next five years he produced reports and briefings on weapons of mass destruction for the J2 and Commander in Chief of the European Command.
Bob’s intelligence career spanned 43 years, including 34 in Germany and five in the UK. It was challenging and fascinating work, he loved it, and he loved the opportunity it gave him to spend half his adult life in Germany, a place where he felt totally at home and where he made many lifelong friends.
Upon retiring from civil service and returning to the U.S. in 1998, he took a job managing the Howard County Food Bank, where for five years he wrote grant applications, solicited donations from local businesses, oversaw the delivery of food to distribution points, and provided holiday turkeys to hundreds of local residents. He took his two daughters to work with him on many occasions to help out. In the final year of his working life, he retired to a job as a starter at the Fort Meade Golf Course, which allowed him to improve his game in his off hours.
Bob enjoyed hiking and climbing in the Alps and forests of Germany, and accumulated thousands of kilometers volksmarching, including many hiking marathons. He continued this interest in hiking at his second home in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. In 2005, at the age of 69, he and several younger friends successfully climbed to the summit of Mount Washington, an elevation gain of almost 5000 feet.
An avid folk music fan, he introduced his children to the folk genre and even learned to play some of his favorites on guitar and harmonica.
Bob was so much a family man that he managed to raise two of them, and often remarked that he felt it was a gift to be given the chance to lead two such very rich and full lives. A man of duty, integrity and responsibility, he also had a wry sense of humor that he maintained to the very end. In his last years he bore his illness with a dignity, strength and stoicism that inspired everyone close to him. His determination enabled him to survive well beyond the average prognosis for his disease, and he did this for all of his loved ones.
He is survived by his wife Patricia, his three children Robert Naylor (Renee Yost) of Pittsburgh, Jocelyn Effinger (Robb Effinger) of Seattle, and Margaret Naylor (Allen Eaton), of Bethesda, three grandchildren, Christian, Thomas, and Sophia, and his former wife Maria. He is also survived by his maternal aunt Ruth Schlatt and her three daughters Dorothy, Denise, and Erica of the Hamptons, Long Island. He is predeceased by his daughter Susan Naylor Rudrich and his brother Charles.
Arrangements by Stauffer Funeral Home, 1621 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick:
Viewing: Monday, August 23 from 5:00 - 8:00 pm
Celebration of Life Service: Tuesday, August 24 at 1:00 pm
Interment at Arlington National Cemetery: Monday October 18 at 2:00 pm.
Memorial contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to Bob’s favorite charity, Fisher House Foundation, at https://fisherhouse.org.
A German translation has been provided by the family below.
Robert Carter Naylor starb am 16. August 2021 friedlich in seinem Haus in Frederick,
Maryland, nach einem mutigen Kampf gegen Leukämie. Er wurde 85 Jahre alt.
Bob wurde am 15. Dezember 1935 in New York City als Sohn von Robert Barclay Naylor
und Gertrude Grummon Naylor geboren.
Er diente zwanzig Jahre lang in der US-Armee, sowohl in Deutschland als auch bei der 82d
Airborne Division in Vietnam, wo er mit der Bronze Star Medal und dem Vietnam Cross of
Gallantry with Palm ausgezeichnet wurde. Er ging 1975 als Chief Warrant Officer in den
Ruhestand und diente seinem Land bis zu seiner Pensionierung 1998 weiterhin als DOD-
Zivilist. Er besuchte die Army Language School in Monterey und erwarb später seinen
Bachelors in Deutsch an der University of Maryland, Abschluss mit Auszeichnung. Er
sprach fließend Deutsch. Seine 43-jährige Karriere im Geheimdienst bot ihm eine
herausfordernde und faszinierende Arbeit in Europa, wo er sich wie zu Hause fühlte und
viele Freunde fürs Leben fand.
Bob spielte vier Jahre Varsity-Basketball in New York und führte die Monroe-Woodbury High
School zum Sieg bei der Bezirksmeisterschaft 1952. Außerdem spielte er in Deutschland
als Stürmer/Center für die Gießener 46ers Senioren II, die er 1974 zum deutschen
Meistertitel ihrer Altersklasse fuehrte. Bob war auch ein versierter Golfer und Bergwanderer: Mit 69 Jahren erstieg er Mount Washington in New Hampshire, ein Gipfel von über 6200 Fuß.
Er war in seiner Gemeinde sehr aktiv, arbeitete ehrenamtlich als T-Ball- und
Basketballtrainer in Deutschland und spaeter leitete er fünf Jahre lang die Howard County
Als leidenschaftlicher Volksmusikfan gab er seine Liebe zum Genre an seine Kinder weiter
und lernte sogar einige seiner Favoriten auf Gitarre und Mundharmonika zu spielen. Er war
ein begeisterter Leser und er schätzte die Zeit, die er im Laufe der Jahre mit seinen
geliebten Hunden verbrachte.
Bob war ein Familienmensch und ein Mann mit Pflicht, Integrität und Verantwortung. Er
hatte einen scharfen Sinn für Humor und ein phänomenales Gedächtnis für Geschichten,
die das Leben aller bereicherten, die ihn kannten. In seinen letzten Lebensjahren ertrug er
seine Krankheit mit Würde, Kraft und Stoizismus.
Er hinterlässt seine Frau Patricia, drei Kinder: Robert Naylor (Renee Yost) aus Pittsburgh,
Jocelyn Effinger (Robb Effinger) aus Seattle und Margaret Naylor (Allen Eaton) aus
Bethesda; und drei Enkel: Christian, Sophia und Thomas; sowie seine ehemalige Frau
Maria Knoll, aus Wels, Österreich. Er wird von seiner Tante mütterlicherseits Ruth Schlatt
und ihren drei Töchtern Dorothy, Denise und Erica von Long Island überlebt. Seine Tochter Susan Rudrich und sein Bruder Charles sind bereits verstorben.
Die Trauerfeier findet am Dienstag, 24. August bei Stauffer Funeral Home (1621 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, Maryland) statt.
Besichtigung: Montag, 23. August von 17:00 - 20:00 Uhr
Feier seines Lebens: Dienstag, 24. August um 13:00 Uhr
Beisetzung auf dem Arlington National Cemetery in etwa sechs Monaten.
Gedenkspenden können an Bobs beliebteste Wohltätigkeitsorganisation, die Fisher House
Foundation, geleistet werden.