Robert L. Halbrook, 94, of East New Market, Maryland, passed away on November 9, 2023. Bob was born in Detroit, Michigan, on July 25, 1929, to Robert L. Halbrook Sr. and Beatrice Belden Halbrook. He grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War from 1952-1954, Bob graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1956. His fifty-year law career began in 1957 in Detroit, Michigan. In 1963, he moved his young family to Delaware as he joined the legal department of the DuPont Company. Bob’s reputation and involvement in local and state government led to his appointment by Gov. Russell Peterson in 1969 as the Executive Director of the Task Force for Government Reorganization. Within a year, the cabinet form of government, which replaced the council form, was created and continues to the present day. Bob was appointed cabinet secretary of Community Affairs and Economic Development and served from 1970-1973.
In 1973, Bob joined Sussex County attorneys Houston Wilson and Eugene H. Bayard to form the Wilson, Halbrook & Bayard law firm. Bob had a widely varied law career, serving as a Family Court Master, County Bar President, State Bar Vice President, and member on several State Supreme Court Committees. Bob retired from the firm in 1988. In addition to his legal career, in 1979 Bob co-founded Delaware National Bank and was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors until 1999.
Bob loved watching sports, especially his beloved U. of Michigan Wolverines, and was an avid reader of history, science, religion, and nature. Many knew of his lifelong passion for politics. He worked on campaigns for president, senate, and governor races. He continued to closely follow local, state, and national affairs.
Bob is survived by two daughters, Elizabeth Halbrook of Melbourne, Florida, and Kathryn Halbrook of San Rafael, California; grandson Samuel Weinstein of Oakland, California; brothers-in-law David Dietze and William Peattie; stepdaughter Pam Bauerlein (Mike) of Oro Valley, Arizona, and their children Savannah Bourlier (Jim), Ciara Bauerlein, and Jack Bauerlein, all of Tucson, Arizona. He is also survived by his special friend, Norma Conaway, of East New Market, Maryland. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Pamela Dietze; his former wife, Joyce Ford Halbrook; his brother, Gene Halbrook; and his sister, Ginny Peattie.
Whether by those who knew him as a lifelong family member or friend, or those he met at a hair salon, dentist, or doctor’s office, Bob is fondly remembered as a charming, friendly, optimistic person with a good sense of humor. Bob will be deeply missed by all who cherished him.
Per Bob’s request, there will be no services. Arrangements are in the care of Thomas Funeral Home, P.A., in Cambridge. Donations can be made in Bob’s memory to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (cbf.org).