Retired Rear Adm. Robert Oscar Welander, 80, a career naval
officer and avid sailor, died June 21 at his home in San Diego,
Calif., of complications of progressive supranuclear palsy. He had
lived in Galesville beginning in 1981 before moving to California.
Born to Niles and Edna Welander in Jamaica, N.Y., Rear Adm.
Welander grew up near the sea and learned boat handling working with
his father on sailboats.
A 1946 graduate of the Naval Academy, he was an All-American
lacrosse player. After graduation, he participated in the atomic
testing at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific. His next tour of duty
took him to San Diego, where he met and married Patricia A. Benson.
Mrs. Welander died in 1996.
He later served as assistant naval attache in Bangkok,
Thailand, and flag lieutenant and aide to the commander in chief of
U.S. Pacific Fleet prior to becoming executive officer of the USS
His commands included the guided missile destroyer USS
Semmes and guided missile frigate USSFox, where he earned
a Bronze Star for performance of duties on patrol in the Tonkin Gulf
during the Vietnam War.
Rear Adm. Welander held successive administrative command of
Cruiser-Destroyer Flotillas Six, Eight and Twelve, deploying twice
as commander of Attack Carrier Striking Group Two of the Sixth Fleet
in the Mediterranean.
He also was a Navy Fellow at the Council of Foreign
Relations. He served as chief, Strategy and Concepts Section and
chief, Congressional and Policy Coordination Branch, in the Office
of the Chief of Naval Operations.
He served as Military Assistant for National Security Affairs
to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Deputy Chief of
Naval Operations for Plans and Policy. He retired from active duty
in 1975 and joined BDM Corp. in Virginia.
While living in Galesville, he was a member of the board of
directors of the Stephen Steward Shipyard Foundation in West River.
He enjoyed extensive cruising on his various boats and foreign
Surviving are his son, Kurt A. Welander of St. Louis Park,
Minn.; his daughter, Robin W. Webster of San Deigo; one sister,
Carole W. Dunaway of Richmond, Va.; four grandchildren; and one
A memorial service and burial will be held July 21 at the
Naval Academy. Arrangements are by Hardesty Funeral Home. In lieu of
flowers, the family suggests donations to the Society for
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Executive Plaza III, 11350 McCormick
Road, Suite 906, Hunt Valley, MD 21031.
Published July 06, 2005,
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
Copyright © 2005 The
Capital, Annapolis, Md.