Robert Earl Wilbur was born September 1, 1941, in Evansville, Indiana, to Elizabeth Alice Smith Wilbur and Gordon Griffith Wilbur. Bob arrived in Dallas as an infant and grew up in the Park Cities, graduating from Highland Park High School in 1959. He attended the University of Oklahoma and then the University of Texas in Austin, where he graduated in 1963. Bob then obtained a J.D. degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1966. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He continued to serve his fraternity as a member of the Board of Chapter Advisors and served as President of the Delta Tau Housing Corporation at SMU. Bob served as a Captain in the Army in Viet Nam and was the recipient of the Bronze Star in 1968 while there.
Bob was a practicing attorney in Dallas for over 50 years. He began his career at Republic National Bank as an Assistant Vice President and Trust Officer in the Trust Department and from there with his partners started their firm, Wilbur Hall & McKenzie, which later merged with Taylor Mizell. In another merger, Bob joined Locke Purnell law firm, and after 10 years, left to begin his solo practice for the remainder of his career.
Bob’s servant leader’s heart led him in many different directions in his lifetime. His entire life was one of distinction, and virtually all of it was devoted to serving this community that he has always called home. As one of his friends said, “I can think of no better definition of a distinguished life than a life lived in service to others. Bob Wilbur lived such a life”. He was faithful, kind, and eager to serve those in need.
Bob was a member of the Salesmanship Club. During the formation of DART, he was a member of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority, representing the cities of Highland Park, University Park, Rowlett, Glenn Heights, Buckingham, and Cockrell Hill.
Bob served on the Town Council of Highland Park beginning in 1989 and stepped down after his term as Mayor Pro Tem in 1996. He was awarded the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from Highland Park High School. Bob was a member of the 1957 Highland Park State Champion football team, and he continued his love and support of HP football for the rest of his life.
He was an Alumnus of the Dallas Region’s FBI Citizenry School, a member of the Dallas Foundation Advisory Board, a past President of the National Kidney Foundation of Texas. Bob was a member of the Central Dallas Association and an Advisory Board Member of the Turtle Creek Association. He was Vice-Chairman of the Center for Brain Health and was a member of the Advisory Board, the Leadership Council, the Steering Committee for the Performance Institute, and chaired the Wounded Warriors Committee. Bob mentored veterans at the Veteran’s Hospital of Dallas, helping our wounded heal and readjust after living the life of a warrior.
Bob was an active member of the Dallas Bar Association, the American Bar Association, The State Bar of Texas, the Dallas Estate Planning Council, and a former Director of the University of Texas Law School Alumnae Association’s Regional Board. Bob was listed in Who’s Who in American Law in 1996 and the Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers. Bob was a frequent lecturer at local, state, and national seminars and institutes on estate, tax, probate, retirement, and business planning for individuals, corporations, executives, and professionals.
Bob was an active member of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, where he served as Clerk, Chancellor, and Junior Warden of the Vestry. He was a Trustee of the Saint Michael Foundation, Chairman of the National Advisory Board of All Souls Episcopal Church in New Orleans, LA after Katrina. He was Chairman of the Mission Outreach for New Orleans’ All Souls Episcopal Church. These were just a small part of his participation at Saint Michael, a church he loved.
Bob is survived by his wife of 54 years, Nancy Hughes Wilbur and his daughter Paige Elizabeth Wilbur of Dallas, his brother-in-law George Hughes and wife Nancy of Laredo, sisters-in-law Penny Freedman of Dallas and Laura Hughes of McAllen, nieces and nephews, Matthew Hughes of McAllen, Carrie Hughes Saffels and Nathan Saffels of McAllen, John David and Jessica Hughes of Austin, Amanda Hughes Fuller and Josh Fuller of Colorado Springs, CO, Joe Robert and Ashley Hughes and Megan Hughes Billing and Ryan Billing of Houston, and Adam, Jeremy and Courtney Freedman of Dallas, and his aunt Carolyn Smith and cousins Sandy and Susi Smith of Atlanta. Our family would like to thank our “angels without wings,” Jo Dunfield, Eunice Njane, Joyce Mwangi, Pauline Mbugua, Alice Kori, and everyone from The Preston at the Park Cities and Sage Oak who so lovingly cared for Bob over the last two and a half years. A memorial service for Bob will be held at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church as soon as we are allowed to gather together again. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Center for Brain Health, 2200 Mockingbird Lane, 75235; Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 8011 Douglas, Dallas 75225; and the Salesmanship Club, 400 S. Zang Blvd., Ste. 700, PMB 777, Dallas 75208.s 75208.