Bob Staples has and continues to lead a “Can I help you?” way of life
NORMAN — Bob Staples realizes there is quality in the vast quantity of valuable lessons his parents taught him.
There’s not a lot that Robert Lee and Velma B. Staples taught their son that he hasn’t used in life.
Still, the 78-year-old Bob Staples can quickly narrow that lengthy list when asked of the lessons he clings most tightly to today.
“Integrity, honesty, serving your fellow man and a firm handshake,” said Staples, of Norman. “It’s the way that they treated everybody, with a smile and ‘Can I help you?’”
In turn, Staples has led a life of “Can I help you?”
He was in the Marine Corps for 28 years, including serving in Vietnam.
Staples said the Marines sent him to the University of Oklahoma to get his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and to naval postgraduate school to get his master’s in electrical engineering.
“I was an enlisted Marine for eight years and an officer for 20 years,” he said. “This taught me to take care of the person on your right and left, and they will take care of you, plus responsibility and ability.”
In addition to the Marines, he served as engineering manager with Litton Industries from 1981 to 1990 and president/CEO of COLSA International from 1990 to 2000, all in the Middle East.
From 2000 to the present, Staples has worked with OU at the National Weather Center where he is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s on-site project manager for the construction of the National Weather Radar Testbed and the National Weather Center.
“In all occupations I was and am able to help others by being responsible and providing assistance and counseling where needed,” Staples said.
But Staples doesn’t limit his “Can I help you?” way of life to occupations.
He has and continues to volunteer — a lot.
Staples’ volunteer efforts include serving as a member of the board of trustees for Veterans Corner, a member of the board of the National Weather Museum and Science Center, a member of the Cleveland County Salvation Army advisory board and co-chairman of Norman’s Oversight Committee to End Chronic Homelessness (ECHO). He’s a member and a past president of Norman Kiwanis.
Staples also is a greeter and usher at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church and is a past chairman of the McFarlin UMC Administrative Board.
This native of Dewey in northeastern Oklahoma has participated in several church mission trips, both nationally and internationally.
Doug Forsyth and Staples became colleagues more than 14 years ago at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman.
Forsyth soon came to marvel at Staples’ devotion to others beyond the workday.
“If you were to ever need a perfect example of a volunteer, Bob is your guy,” Forsyth said. “He helps out in the community in more ways than anyone I know. If there is a need in the community to be met, Bob is there to answer the call.”
Staples is a member of the United Methodist Men, and he’s delivered meals on wheels for aging citizens along with his wife, Cherie.
There are several other organizations he has helped or continues to assist. Again, this is partially because Staples never tires of asking, “Can I help you?”
“Working in all these organizations, I am rewarded by being able to serve,” Staples said. “I have given my limited talents to serving the Lord and fellow folks.”
Robert Lee and Velma B. Staples’ son not only continues to ask if he can help, he follows through.
Forsyth said, “Bob is a humble man who just gets the job done.”