Dobyns, James Robert

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Former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, James Robert (Bob) Dobyns, 85, died at his home here Sunday, January 1, 2012. Dobyns was born on Feb. 28, 1926 to the late Richard Allison Dobyns and Martha Snow Dobyns of Dublin.

Dobyns was a beloved member of the Pulaski County community and the New River Valley, contributing to many facets of life in Virginia and around the world in his career as a building contractor, politician, farmer and missionary. He was an active participant in the business and educational activities of the community.

He was the loving and devoted husband of the former Cornelia Gates, who survives him, for 60 years; and the father of two daughters, Robyn Dobyns and Rebecca Dobyns and her husband Mark Mitchell. He is also survived by a brother, Richard A. Dobyns Jr., of Maryland.

A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Civil Engineering, Dobyns was a building contractor for 25 years, building industrial, commercial and educational buildings in the New River Valley. He was a certified licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Virginia and a past state Director and Treasurer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Virginia Branch. Dobyns was a veteran of World War II, serving with the 46th Infantry in the Philippines and Japan. He was a veteran of the Army Reserve, having served as a paratrooper. He began his political career as a member of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors and went on to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he served seven years in the mid-1980s. His appointments in the House included membership on the Education, Roads, Mining, Agriculture and Finance Committees.

Dobyns’ career included owning and operating a beef cattle farm on Back Creek in Pulaski County. He supported the agricultural industry in the county as a Director and past secretary of the Pulaski County Livestock Market, Inc. and was a past Director of the Pulaski County Farm Bureau. An active member of the Board of Directors of the New River Community College Educational Foundation, Inc. Dobyns and his wife were honored last fall for having provided scholarships for 100 students at NRCC.

His religious faith was an important part of the life of a man who lived what he believed. He was a member and trustee of the New Dublin Presbyterian Church. He and his wife served as Presbyterian Volunteer Missionaries to Zaire, Africa, where he constructed a hospital in Tshikaji, Zaire.

Other business activities included being past Chairman of Sovran Bank, Pulaski Office Advisors Board, a past member of the Town of Pulaski Housing Board of Adjustments and Appeals and a past member of the Pulaski County Board of Building Appeals. He was honored in 1971-72 as the Pulaski Jaycee Boss of the Year and with the Pulaski County Chamber Business Executive Award in 1984. He served as a Director on the board of the New River Valley Habitat for Humanity and was appointed to serve on the Virginia War Memorial Commission and on the Commission on Virginia’s Transportation in the Twenty First Century.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at Stevens Funeral Home in Pulaski. The funeral service will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at the New Dublin Presbyterian Church, Dublin, with the Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman and the Rev. Kerfoot Boyd officiating, with burial in the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given to either New Dublin Presbyterian Church Missionary Fund, New River Community College Scholarship Fund, or Wilderness Road Museum.

Arrangements by Stevens Funeral Home.