Robert Joseph Devens, born October 23, 1941, died January 13, 2017 in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. After graduating Becton High School (1959, East Rutherford, NJ), he attended The Citadel Military College of South Carolina graduating 1963. Later in life, he earned a Master’s degree (Monmouth University) and PhD (abd, Education Administration, Iowa State University). Robert served in the United States Army and received the Bronze Star from his Vietnam War tour. He retired a Lieutenant Colonel in 1984.
He was active in sports throughout life and loved coaching and cheering on his children, grandchildren and the New York Yankees. In high school, he was a baseball and football standout. He led his little league team, as a pitcher, to Williams Port to be within one game of the Little League World Series. He also led his Becton High football team to win 3 New Jersey State Championships, as their starting running back. While in college, his pitching helped the Citadel Bulldogs baseball team achieve a national ranking of #15. He coached his son’s (Christopher) state championship baseball team in 1988 and also went on to win multiple racquetball medals in the Iowa Games from ’85 – ‘92.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Nelly Devens, brother Frank Devens and sister, Dolores Wiarda. Survived by his wife, Patricia Devens of nearly 16 years, his son Robert Devens and wife Karen of Johnston, Iowa, his daughter Nicole Patton and husband Matthew of Story City, Iowa, his son Christopher Devens and wife Tiffany of Cleveland, Ohio, and son Troy Devens and wife Sarah of Lakeville, Minnesota. His loving Grandchildren, Jenna (Riley) Johnson, Marcus Devens, Kaari Devens, Blake Devens, David Howell, Quinten Howell, Hannah Patton, Rachel Patton, Luke Patton, Noah Devens, and Christopher Devens II.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Citadel Foundation (171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409) with “In Memory of Robert Devens” listed along with the donation.
The visitation will be held on Thursday (1/26) from 4pm-8pm at Merle Hay Funeral Home, 4400 Merle Hay Rd. in Des Moines. Funeral Service will be Friday (1/27) at 12:30pm at Merle Hay Funeral Home, followed by the burial at Iowa Veterans Cemetery, Van Meter, Iowa, with Military Honors.