Sergeant First Class Robert Wayne Pharris, the son of Alvin Wayne and Judy Ruth (Grasher) Pharris, was born September 9, 1962 in Independence, Missouri. He departed this life January 5, 2011 in Afghanistan at the age of 48 years, three months and 27 days.
Robert was born in Independence and in his youth, his family moved to a farm near Mansfield, Missouri, to make their home. It was here that he learned to appreciate life and began his compassion to help other people. In 1981 he enlisted in the United States Army and later with the Army National Guard. He served for more than 14 years of service in a variety of assignments. He had served as an infantryman, a drill sergeant, and recruiter. He left the military in 1997 for 11 years and worked as an over-the-road truck driver for three years and then rejoined the Missouri National Guard in 2008. He was a member of the infantry unit and Missouri National Guard’s Agri-business Development Teams who taught the Afghans how to plant and replenish their land.
On March 25, 1998, he was united in marriage to Pamala Dawn Fisher, formerly of Cabool, Missouri, and they made their home on a farm near Seymour, Missouri. He loved the outdoors and when he was driving the truck he said it gave him time to get closer to God. He loved to help people through tough times and always encouraged Pamala to stay involved in community and area events. He called his farm a “Little Piece of Heaven on Earth” because of the wildlife, the hills, and trees. He truly loved his home in Seymour and thought that it was planned for his family to live here. He attended Zion Lutheran Church in Diggins, Missouri.
Robert is survived by his loving wife, Pamala of the home; four children, Corporal Benjamin Joseph Pharris, serving in Afghanistan with the United States Marine Corps, and Robert Wayne Pharris, Jr., Susan Christine Pharris, and Daniel Andrew Pharris, all of Germany; two grandchildren, Noah and Stella; his parents, Alvin and Judy Pharris of Henryetta, Oklahoma; his grandparents, Charles Louis and Elaine Grasher of Macomb, Missouri; a brother, Charles Floyd Pharris of Stockton, Missouri ; four sisters, Debra Ann Tripp of Grove, Oklahoma, Ellen June Henderson and husband Ron of Ventura, California, Julie Annette Hutson and husband Jeff of Edmond, Oklahoma, and JoLynn Louise Pemberton and husband John of Henryetta, Oklahoma; a number of nieces and nephews; an uncle, Charles Louis Grasher, Jr. of Blue Springs, Missouri; four aunts, Lola Lewis of Higginsville, Missouri, Pamela Graham and husband Jack of Independence, Missouri, Carolyn Fears and husband Frank of Overland Park, Kansas, and Naomi Taylor and husband Robert of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; as well as a host of other relatives and many friends.
He was a lighthearted man with a great sense of humor, and he loved spending time with Pamala and Ben, playing games on his Xbox and PS3. He was a referee for Federation Soccer and his favorite team was Manchester United, and he was a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan. He enjoyed reading about historical wars and the warriors that participated in them.
Robert was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother and uncle, and was a caring neighbor and friend. He was a brave citizen soldier who cared for and looked after his fellow soldiers. He is a true “American hero” and many will forever remember the sacrifice he made for his country.
Services were held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, January 16, 2011, in Seymour Church of the Nazarene in Seymour with Chaplain Major Dustin W. Kennedy officiating under direction of Holman-Howe Funeral Home of Seymour. Burial will be at 1:00 p.m. Friday, January 28, 2011, in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
Online condolences may be made at www.holmanhoweseymour.com.