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Former BOV Member, Alumni Association President, Bob Fodrey Dies

Robert L. "Bob" Fodrey Sr., one of Old Dominion University's well-known alumni and dedicated volunteers, died Sunday, March 27, 2011. He was born Dec. 17, 1918, and was a native of Norfolk but made his home in the Virginia Beach area.

Family visitation will be held at Kellum Funeral Home, Rosewood Chapel, 601 N. Witchduck Road, Virginia Beach, from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 30. A celebration of Fodrey's life will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in Bayside Baptist Church. Entombment will follow in Princess Anne Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Fodrey Alumni Scholarship Endowment, c/o Old Dominion University, 4417 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23529. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.kellumfuneralhome.com.

Old Dominion awarded Fodrey an honorary doctorate at the fall 2008 commencement in recognition of his many years of service to his alma mater.

A nontraditional student at Old Dominion, Fodrey earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1957 at age 38 as a member of the school's second four-year class. The Norfolk Division, as it was known then, was still five years away from becoming an independent institution.

Fodrey immediately adopted his alma mater as his special mission. As hard-working as he was soft-spoken, he played a key role in forming the Alumni Association, and served as its board president from 1958-60 and in 1987-88. He was a member of the ODU Board of Visitors for eight years (1973-81), including a stint as vice rector.

In addition, Fodrey was a member of the President's Council, served on the Educational Foundation board and chaired the Annual Fund campaign in 1987. He is a former president of Town-N-Gown and was a founder and president of CHROME, Cooperating Hampton Roads Organizations for Minorities in Engineering, which is based at the university.

He was a lifetime member of Friends of the ODU Libraries and for years was a regular at the men's and women's basketball games. Fodrey was awarded the University Medal, Old Dominion's highest honor, in 1986, and was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni and Alumni Service awards.

Fodrey retired as director of the U.S. Navy's Regional Office of Civilian Manpower Management in Norfolk with 41 years of federal service. He began his civilian personnel career in 1939. In 1944 he was furloughed to enter the U.S. Navy in World War II. In 1945 he was restored to his former position. He worked in various capacities at the Naval Supply Center, ultimately becoming deputy personnel director before leaving in 1960.

In 1966 he was district civilian personnel director at the Fifth Naval District when the Navy reorganized civilian personnel management and established the Office of Civilian Personnel Management with eight regional offices. At that time, he was selected as director of the Regional Office Civilian Manpower Management in Norfolk.

Following several other reorganizations, the name was changed to Southern Field Division and included 15 southeastern states, in addition to Bermuda, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Canal Zone.

A high school dropout during the Depression, Fodrey received his high school diploma with honors from Matthew Fountaine Maury High School in 1946. After earning his degree at the Norfolk Division, he became interested in pursuing a master's in personnel management. He persuaded officials at George Washington University to establish a graduate program on the naval base and he went on to earn a master's degree in 1962.

Fodrey was very active and supportive of his church family at Bayside Baptist Church. He was a deacon, chairman of deacons, deacon emeritus and Sunday school teacher, and served on the board of directors of the Norfolk Baptist Association. He served on the board of directors of Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg from 1966 to 1974. He was also an avid supporter of Habitat for Humanity, helping to raise funds and construct homes.

Fodrey's honors include the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the Navy's top civilian award, as well as its Superior Civilian Service and Meritorious Civilian Service awards.

He received a presidential citation for leadership in a summer employment program for disadvantaged youth and honors from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The Urban League of Hampton Roads presented him with its Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award for showing tremendous interest in the life and welfare of Hampton Roads citizens through his involvement in educational and community organizations.

Fodrey was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Geraldine E. "Gerry" Fodrey, three sisters and eight brothers. He is survived by his three children: a son, Robert L. Fodrey Jr. of Virginia Beach, and two daughters, Bobbye Francis Young of Auburn, Maine, and Patricia F. Rathbun of Virginia Beach. Survivors also include seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren, and his brother, George Fodrey, of Louisville, Ky.

This article was posted on: March 28, 2011

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