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Dr. William Robert Caviness

March 22, 1935 ~ January 29, 2018 (age 82)

Dr. William Robert Caviness, 82, of Fayetteville passed away on Monday, January 29, 2018.

William Robert Caviness was born of humble means on March 22, 1935 in Sanford, NC.  He grew up surrounded by loving family and he was forever marked by the red clay over which he traversed all of those adolescent years.

Upon high school graduation, he enlisted in the US Army and served three years of active duty as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne.  After college, the former enlisted man would return to serve as a Captain in the Army Reserves. 

When he ended his active enlistment, and with the help of the GI Bill, he enrolled at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  Bob excelled as a student.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959.  By 1963, Mr. Caviness added the prefix of “Doctor” to his name by completing studies at Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry.  Pressing on even further toward excellence, as was his way throughout his life, he achieved the specialty of Oral Surgeon by graduating from Duke University Medical Center in 1966.  Dr. Caviness began practicing Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Fayetteville, NC in 1966.  He continued to do so for over 40 years.

Bob immersed himself into the fabric of Fayetteville almost as soon as he arrived.  He never forgot the importance of the military and he eventually served as Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee and as President of the Braxton Bragg chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).  Bob continued with the Chamber of Commerce, being elected as President.  He also achieved the top post with the Fayetteville Area Economic Development Council.

Those early days in Sanford gave Bob his introduction to Jesus as the Savior of us all, and Bob displayed his on-going devotion through service to St. John’s Episcopal Church.  He was a past member of the vestry and a lay reader, but he also performed many untold and unrecorded benevolences throughout his years in Fayetteville.

When duty called, Bob always did his share and a little more.  But when obligation was met, Bob went fishing.  Certainly in his life, he caught pan-sized brim and hand-sized croakers.  Yet, what everyone who knew him will remember and what Bob loved most were Volkswagon-sized blue marlin stripping 80-lb monofilament off giant reels in attempts to escape across the surface of the ocean and away from Bob’s crooked gaff.  Many did escape, but many did not; most were allowed by Bob to leave tired, but unharmed.  Or else, Bob loaded up rangy pointer dogs and a classic double barrel shotgun to take a gentleman’s share of the noblest 7-ounces to ever wear feathers – the bobwhite quail.  The gravy on Bob’s rice of life was a blue marlin on a multi-color or a fast-flying covey of previously pointed quail.

Bob Caviness was predeceased by his father and mother, Earl and Pauline Caviness.  

Bob did so love his wife of 35 years, Beegie Johnston Caviness, by whom he is survived, along with: four sons, Watson Godwin Caviness (Michelle), William Robert Caviness, Jr, Jay Sifly (Elese) and Johnston Sifly (Margaret); six grandchildren, Watson Davis Caviness, Caroline Pattison Caviness, Will Sifly, Lawton Sifly, Maggie Sifly and Elizabeth Sifly; two sisters, Juanita C. Phillips and Delores C. Jacobs; and many nieces and nephews.

It has been written that “the sea…is the mother of all life – and the keeper of death.  She has no patience with weaklings nor any mercy upon those who are afraid…”  Until we traverse the fields and sail the seas with you again, Doc, may God cradle your strong and fearless soul just beneath the coverings of the blue, rolling swells.

A memorial service will be held at 2 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in St. John's Episcopal Church with Rev. Robert Alves officiating.  A reception will be held immediately following the service at the church.

Memorials may be made to Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation 100 Bragg Blvd. Fayetteville, NC 28301, Cape Fear Botanical Gardens  PO Box 53485 Fayetteville, NC 28305 or Fayetteville Animal Protection Society (FAPS) 3927 Bragg Blvd. Fayetteville, NC 28303.

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