Robert J. McWilliams

| November 8, 2018

Robert J. McWilliams of Clarion passed away on November 5, 2018, at UPMC Mercy following a courageous, year-long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, A.L.S., or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 74 years of age.

Bob was born on September 19, 1944, in New Castle, PA, the son of the late James R. and Mary (Krah) McWilliams. He was a 1962 graduate of New Castle Senior High School, where he participated in many sports. He played baseball and was offered a contract by the Pittsburgh Pirates which he turned down in favor of college.

Bob was married to the former Shirley Wiant on October 23, 2003. He married his beloved at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lucinda, PA. Though having worked simultaneously in the Union School District for twenty-eight years, they never met until October of 2002.

He and Shirley resided on Jacks Mountain Lane along the Clarion River from May through October of each year and Dunedin, Florida from November through April. In Dunedin, Bob worked for the Toronto Blue Jays during Spring Training games.

Bob is survived by his daughters, Susan and her husband Brian Dougherty of New Bethlehem, and Stacy and partner Nicole Rabe of Manhattan; his step-daughter, Stacy and husband Jason Best of New Bethlehem; his grandchildren, Jacob and Rebecca Dougherty, Gregory Nolf, Marley Best, and Max McWilliams.

He is also survived by three sisters, Janet Metz of Austintown, Ohio, Ellen and husband Bob Doane of Frederick, MD, and Mary Jane and husband John Jones, also of Frederick, MD; his brother, Jim and companion Karen O’ Dell of Port Ritchey, FL; twenty-six nieces and nephews; as well as his two sisters-in-law, Sandra and her husband John Hunsgate, and Sharon and her husband Bob Walker.

Bob earned his B.A. in English from Gannon University in 1966, his M.Ed. in semantics from Edinboro State College in 1971, his M.Ed. in secondary school administration from Westminster College in 1975, and his Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility from Youngstown State University in 1980. He also earned innumerable in-service credits during his thirty-seven years in public education.

He first taught English at the Canandaigua NY Senior Academy from 1966 to 1969 and at the Girard (PA) Senior High School from 1969 to 1975. He then was named Principal of Union High School in the Union School District in Rimersburg, PA in 1975. He held that position as well as those of Coordinator of Federal Programs, Long-Range Planning and Bus Transportation until 1993 when he was selected as Superintendent of the school district. He held the dual positions of Superintendent and High School Principal until his retirement in 2003. Bob could be found at every Union High activity and event that his schedule allowed. He was very proud of his Union Knights and Damsels and also of the yearly Veteran’s Day programs that he planned.

Bob enjoyed golf, reading, and travel, but his true love was attending his grandchildren’s school and college athletic competitions and other extracurricular activities with Shirley.

As well as being a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lucinda and attending St. Cecelia Catholic Church in Clearwater, FL, he was a Fourth-Degree member of the Knights of Columbus in Lucinda and a member of the Elks Club in Dunedin, FL, the Eagles Club in Reynoldsville, the Sons of Italy in Bradys Bend, and the Fryburg Sportsman’s Club in Fryburg.

In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife Shirley who died on August 18, 2018; Shirley’s parents; his brother-in-law, Dennis Metz; his sister-in-law, Mimi McWilliams; his sister-in-law, Sheila and husband Phil Whitt; and his nephew, USMC Sgt. David Smith, killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

Donations in Bob’s memory may be made to the A.L.S. Association / Western Pennsylvania Chapter, 416 Lincoln Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15209 (

Arrangements are under the care of the Goble Funeral Home and Crematory, 330 Wood Street in Clarion where visitation will take place on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a Christian Wake prayer service at 5:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10:00 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church in Lucinda. Interment will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Friends and family may send online condolences, order memorials and obtain additional information by visiting

Copyright © 2019 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.

Category: Obituaries