In Memoriam: Robert Granfeldt, Sr. ‘70

The Rev. Robert C. Granfeldt, Class of 1970, died Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the age of 75. His funeral will be held in 2019, at St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Sea Cow Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. 

Born on June 6, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan to Robert Charles and Matilda Granfeldt, he had a rocky start in life; two childhood bouts with rheumatic fever left him determined to become a Roman Catholic priest and his parents were told he would not live to see the age of 18. When he was fourteen, he met Mary Elizabeth Rudick and on that day decided he no longer wanted to be a priest because he would marry her. They did marry and Robert attended New York University, graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with a BA in Theater.

During his college years, Bob and Mary converted to the Episcopal Church and together decided he would fulfill his calling to the priesthood. He attended General and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Michigan by Bishop Archie H. Crowley on January 22, 1972, while serving as Associate Rector at Christ Church Detroit.  In 1973 he became the part-time interim vicar at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Otis, Massachusetts, later becoming Vicar of St. Helena's Chapel, Lenox, MA.  In 1975 Granfeldt was called to the Episcopal Chaplaincy at the University of Massachusetts until the summer of 1978, when he took a similar calling as Episcopal Chaplin at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  After three years in Texas, he moved his ministry to the British Virgin Islands, becoming the Vicar and later Rector of St. Georges Anglican Church on Tortola, assisting the congregation in a transition from a mission to a parish. He returned to the United States in 1984 when he and Mary moved to Emanuel Episcopal Church Quakertown, Pa.

In 1987, their daughter Lynne became ill and Father Bob and Mary left Quakertown, moving to Austin, Texas to care for her.  They provided Lynne’s care for nearly seven years, moving with her to Naples, Florida so she could live by the sea. After Lynne’s death in 1994, Mary and Bob returned to their beloved British Virgin Islands for four years of healing.

In 1998 the couple resumed their life in the church with an interim position at Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania after which Father Bob and Mary were called back to parish life and Bob became the Rector at Calvary Episcopal Church in Rockdale (Aston), Pennsylvania. Granfeldt retired from Calvary in 2008 when he and Mary moved to Augusta, Georgia and later Buford, Georgia to live near his son’s family there.  Mary died in 2014 and in his final years, suffering with Alzheimer’s, Bob split his time living with his daughter Bettina’s family in Tortola and his son, Robert’s family in Montgomery, Alabama and most recently in Roanoke, Texas (just north of Fort Worth).

He was preceded in death by his parents, the love of his life Mary Elizabeth, his middle daughter Lynne, and a brother Hugh.  He is survived by brother Eric and Pat Granfeldt, his remaining daughter and son: Bettina and Mark Hooper and their two children (Elizabeth and Carl), Robert and Karen Granfeldt and their three children (Grayson, Cameron and Kalen).  He leaves behind many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews and those whose lives, hearts and souls he touched throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He died at the home of his son Robert at the age of 75, surpassing the doctors’ expectations by 57 years.