Robert Edwin ‘Eddie’ Friend, WWII Army veteran and retired civil engineer

Robert Edwin “Eddie” Friend, of Virginia Beach, departed this world on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. He was 95.

He was born on June 4, 1921 in Rocky Mount, N.C. to the late Pattie Margaret and Walter William Friend, but spent most of his life in the Tidewater area. Eddie graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth and received his civil engineering degree from the University of Virginia, “The University.” He retired from Tidewater Construction Co., enjoyed teaching adult learning classes for working professionals at Old Dominion University and was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church.

A proud member of the “greatest generation,” Eddie served stateside during World War II in the Army Air Corps, as a B-24 gunnery instructor, and in Europe as a tail gunner. One of his most cherished memories was of a young girl traveling by train alone to where he was stationed in Laredo, Texas to become Mrs. Dorothy Groves Friend.

Eddie is survived by his wife of 73 years, Dot; two children, Robert E. “Bobby” (Debbie) Friend Jr. and Susan Friend Fisher; six grandchildren, Michelle (Chris) Edwards, Eddie (Kristi) Friend, Kelly (Rachel) Friend, Matt (Kristine) Friend, Katie (Reid) Harris and Lauren (Jeff) Langley; 13 great-grandchildren, a brother-in-law, Robert “Bobby” Kerr; and nieces and nephews. Besides his parents, Eddie was preceded in death by a sister, Margaret “Tootie” Kerr; brothers, Jim Friend, John Friend and Carlisle Friend; and a son-in-law, Mike Fisher.

A man of passion and intense feelings, Eddie remained true to what he considered to be the only “good school” and proud of his service during the war. But love of family was always paramount in his life and while he would not hesitate to speak his mind, we all share in the knowledge that he accepted, loved and celebrated us just as we are.

A service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 at First United Methodist Church in Norfolk, with a viewing to begin an hour prior. Burial will follow at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

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