"Coach Bob" Robert Gaylord Middleton was born Aug. 5, 1921 in Centerville.
He graduated from Centerville High School in 1940 and served honorably during World War II with the US Navy from 1943-1946. The lovely Sylvania "Sally" Ranes became his wife in 1946. Together they had six children, 10 grandchildren and five great-grandsons. This was his most important work — patriarch of a big family. A long career as a metallurgical and chemical engineer began after graduating from Colorado School of Mines in 1949. Bob was the first metallurgist employed by the Maytag Company and he went on to work for Solar Aircraft, Westinghouse, Atomics Intl. and finally, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. At PWA, with top-secret clearances, he was one of the lead consulting engineers helping develop high-tech metals used on aircraft such as the SR71 and other advanced aircraft. Bob's love of sports began at an early age. He was a star player at Centerville High in baseball and basketball. He played both sports into his early 30s. In his 40s he picked up coaching again and coached his sons and grandsons in those sports. He was involved in youth athletics in Lake Park, North Palm, Juno and Port St. Lucie. He served for years as director of the Palm Beach Gardens Youth Athletic Association with whom he coached and umpired all over the county. His last coaching work was with his granddaughter's basketball team at Jupiter Christian School when his was 82 years old. He received many awards for his untiring service to the youth of our county. Bob's joy was helping kids be the best athletes they could be and more importantly helping them become the best sportsmen and women they could be. He was in hospice when the Lord called him home Sept. 2, 2012 at 6:41 with his son, Mark at his side. He joins his daughter, Connie and grandson, Brandon and other loved ones in heaven.
Bob was one of 10 children born to Roy and Myrtle Middleton. His brother Jack Middleton lives in Moravia and his sister Donna Armstrong lives in Anabel, Mo.
The family celebrated his life in a memorial service, Saturday, Sept. 8, at Trinity Methodist Church in Palm Beach Gardens. Memorial donations by check may be made to Palm Beach Gardens Youth Athletic Association in his honor, P.O. Box 31913, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420.