Robert W. Radcliffe – Captain, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report

Robert W. Radcliffe, 79, a retired Captain in the Navy Chaplain Corps who in retirement preached and spoke at area churches, died of congestive heart failure May 8, 1998 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland.

Captain Radcliffe, who had lived in Falls Church for 32 years before moving to Bethesda in last June, served from 1975 to 1984 as an associate pastor of Inter-Faith Chapel at Rossmoor Leisure World in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was a longtime member of Graham Road Methodist Church in Falls Church, where he also preached and lectured.

He was ordained in what is now the United Methodist Church in 1943 and served as a pastor in Pennsylvania churches until 1944. He then served as a Navy chaplain during World War II, returning to civilian life in 1946. After serving as pastor of a Methodist church in Pennsylvania, he was recalled to active Navy duty in 1947.

He served on active duty until retiring in 1975. He served in Korea during the Korean War and in Vietnam during the war there. In 1968 and 1969, he was senior chaplain of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam. During that time, in addition to his regular assignments, he worked on such civil action projects as the construction of orphanages for Vietnamese civilians.

Captain Radcliffe also served overseas at the Naval Security Group Station in Bremerhaven, Germany, and aboard the carrier Wasp. He spent the last five years of his Navy career in Washington with the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

His military awards included the Legion of Merit with combat “V,” the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal. He also was the 1968 recipient of the Navy's Chaplain of the Year (Four Chaplains) Award and a 1969 recipient of the Freedom Foundation's George Washington Honor Medal.

Captain Radcliffe, a Pennsylvania native, was a 1940 graduate of Dickinson College and a 1943 graduate of Drew Theological Seminary in New Jersey. He received a master's degree in sacred theology from Temple University and also did graduate work at the Harvard University divinity school.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Evelyn Alice Paller of Bethesda; three sons, Robert W., of White Plains, N.Y., Harry Q., of Bethesda, and Thomas W., of Takoma Park; a sister, Helen Radcliffe Garihan of Bethlehem, Pa.; and four grandchildren.

Captain, Chaplain's Corps, USN (Ret.)

On May 8, 1998, of Bethesda, Maryland, beloved husband of Evelyn A. Radcliffe; father of Robert C. Radcliffe, Harry Q. Radcliffe and Thomas W. Radcliffe. Also survived by his sister, Helen Radcliffe Garihan; and his grandchildren, Amy R. Byerle, Laurel Radcliffe, Samantha Radcliffe and Joshua Radcliffe. Friends received from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12 at the Graham Road United Methodist Church, 2929 Graham Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042, where a funeral service will begin at 7 p.m. Graveside services for family and close friends will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, May 13 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in Chaplain Radcliffe's memory may be made to Graham Road United Methodist Church or the US Navy Memorial Foundation, 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, #123, Washington, DC 20004.

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