Henry Norman “Butch” Robey, Jr.

November 7, 1950 - June 22, 2021
Henry Norman “Butch” Robey, Jr.

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Henry Norman Robey, Jr., “Butch”, age 70, of Leland, NC, beloved husband and father, passed away surrounded by family on June 22, 2021.

Butch was born in Baltimore, MD. He grew up with a family that loved to laugh, a trait that he would carry his whole life and later instill in his own children.

Butch attended Johns Hopkins University where he graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering. A scholar athlete, he was a lettered varsity running back for the Blue Jays football team where he was recognized for his ability, leadership, and team loyalty, winning the MAC South co-championship in 1969. He was the co-captain his senior year with his lifelong friend Eric. Butch would continue to play football after his college career for the semi-pro Baltimore Eagles where he met lifelong friend Denny.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1972, Butch started his marine engineering career with the Naval Ship Research and Development Center in Annapolis, Maryland. Shortly after joining the US Navy civil service, he spent his days working at the NSRDC and nights earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He was an expert in electric propulsion and integrated power system design and analysis along with enabling advanced technology such as power electronics and superconducting machinery. At the end of his Navy career, Butch was Chief Scientist for the Advanced Surface Machinery Program and Director of the Electrical Systems Division. Butch started a second career in the private sector with a number of marine engineering colleagues from the Navy. He continued to publish papers and maintain his expertise in marine power and propulsion systems and additionally applied his expertise to land-based systems such as wind power generation and a DC micro-grid in Hawaii. He remained valuable to the Navy and was consulting on a new destroyer design at the time of his passing.

Butch was a devoted husband and father. He married the love of his life, Darlene, on August 19, 1978. They were blessed with two wonderful children Katie and Brandon, who were the lights of his life. After living in Maryland for many years, Butch and Darlene retired to the Wilmington, NC area to enjoy coastal life.

Butch loved spending time with his dogs, tailgating and attending Navy Football games, floating in his pool, history, reading, solving puzzles, beach vacations, family trips to Disney World, monster and sci-fi movies, the Beatles, Mel Brooks, and anything that made him laugh. He loved good food, good friends, and good beer.

Above all else, Butch was happiest spending time with his family, whether it was a vacation, a game night, family dinner, or sitting down together to watch movies.

In addition to his wife Darlene, daughter Katie, son Brandon, daughter-in-love Cori, and midshipman sponsor son Tigger, Butch is survived by sisters Linda and Judy, brother John and family, brother-in-law Guy and his wife Robin, nephews Jake and Grant, and brother-in-law Jeff and family.

A Memorial Service will be conducted at 2:00pm on Thursday, July 8th, at St. Andrew’s On-the-Sound Episcopal Church in Wilmington, NC.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations are requested for Johns Hopkins’ Blue Jays Unlimited Student-Athlete Fund at https://secure.jhu.edu/form/bju. Follow the link and designate your donation to the “BJU-Student-Athlete Fund”. This is a fund close to Butch’s heart as a recipient of student athlete financial aid which allowed him to attend JHU.

Additionally, Memorial Donations can be made to St. Andrew’s On-The-Sound Episcopal Church by clicking on the donate button at the bottom of the church’s webpage: https://standrewsonthesound.com.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Post a Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S.41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403. 910.791.9099.

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  • June 28, 2021
    Karen Smith Linehan says:
    I am sending love and prayers to the Robey family as they celebrate the life of Butch Robey, devoted husband, father, uncle, colleague, and friend to so many. May your lives be forever blessed by memories of your great times together. I am holding all of you in the light at this moment and in the weeks and months to come.

  • June 30, 2021
    Jim Ferguson says:
    It is with sadness I heard of Butch's sudden death. I was a teammate of Butch's, a junior when Butch was a senior on the JHU football team. He was a great teammate, hard working and dedicated. A great running back. It sounds like he enjoyed a wonderful family. My condolences and prayers for his family.

  • June 30, 2021
    Mike Malloy says:
    I was saddened to hear about Butch. I played with him at Johns Hopkins all four years as the right tackle. He was a great running back - strong and fast. He was always a positive influence and had a smile on his face always. Condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed

  • July 02, 2021
    Jim Davis says:
    Very sorry to hear of Butch's passing. He was a true expert in Navy engineering, and it was my pleasure to work with him for so many years.

  • July 02, 2021
    Angie Friedholm says:
    Darlene, Katie, and Brandon, I am so sorry for your loss. I have such wonderful memories of the NAPS teacher gatherings at your house. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.