Robert Bruce Cearley Jr.

robert cearley

May 21, 1926 ~ February 8, 2024

Born in: Ashe County, NC
Resided in: Southern Pines, NC

Robert B. Cearley Jr., 97, of Hickory, NC, passed away Thursday, February 8, 2024, in Southern Pines, NC. Born May 21, 1926, in Ashe County, he was the son of Robert Bruce Cearley Sr. and Ella Johnson Cearley. The youngest of a family of four, his parents, two brothers: William Dewitt and Charles Ford Cearley, and his sister, Sarah Edna Odell Cearley West, preceded him in death. He joined the Army during WWII at the age of 17. He served on active duty until the end of the war and with the National Guard and Army Reserves until 1955. He was married to Bonnie Doris Messer Cearley for 72 years. She preceded him in death in October 2023. One son, Tim Cearley who lived his faith as a missionary in Africa for 35+ years, also passed away in November of 2022. 

Robert will be remembered for his faithful service in the Lewisville community where he was voted Citizen of the Year in the 1960’s by the Lewisville Civic Club. He raised his family to love and serve God. He led by example in his devotion as a Sunday School Superintendent and as a Deacon at Lewisville Baptist Church. Following his retirement from Western Electric in 1988, he and Bonnie moved to Ashe County. He continued his favorite hobby of growing a huge garden and sharing vegetables with whoever could use them. In 2005, they moved again to Hickory, NC to be closer to their son and daughter and their families. 

He is survived by his son, Thomas W. and wife, Carol Cearley, of Lincolnton, NC; daughter, Beth and Thomas Hill, MD of Southern Pines and Newland, NC; daughter-in-law, Charlotte Cushing Cearley of Montgomery, AL; eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. 

A private family service, remembering Robert and Bonnie’s lives and the loving influences they had will be held this summer in Ashe County as per their request.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a charity of your choosing. 

Condolences can be made at:

Fry & Prickett Funeral Home is serving the Cearley family.




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  1. Beth, Dr. Hill and family .. I am sorry to hear of the passing of Grandpa Cearley. My condolences to you all. With love, Wendy

  2. Bob and Bonnie were wonderful. I worked with Bob at Western Electric. He and Bonnie were a blessing to me and my daughter. Love and prayers to all the family.

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