Robert Mitchell Staples, known to most of us by his nick-name “Mickey” was born on October 5, 1948, in Roanoke, Randolph County, Alabama to the parentage of the late Elijah “James” Rachel, Jr. and the late Mildred Staples Trammell.
As a youngster, he joined Peace and Goodwill Baptist Church, where he remained an active member until advancing age and declining health seized control of his life.
Mickey attended the Randolph County Training School in Roanoke. Over the years, he also held employment with Terry Manufacturing Company, Rosser Nursing Home, and Uni-Stitch. But, what he was probably most noted for, was his expertise in the construction field – a skill he learned under the tutelage of his father, the late Elijah “James” Rachel, Jr., the single best black building contractor in the history of Roanoke, Alabama.
Following in his father’s footsteps, he and his brothers ran a company called “Robert and Larry Contractors.” Robert continued to work all his life – never stopping to retire. Even during his last illness, he probably regarded it as only a “temporary setback” that he could and would bounce back from.
In the late 1960s, our community was blessed by the hiring of a young teacher, the former Ms. Catherine Elaine Hopson, from Birmingham, Alabama. She became part of our community and the love of Mickey’s life. On December 26, 1970, he made Catherine his wife when they were married in Birmingham, AL. Their marriage was blessed with two children – a daughter, Keshia Staples; and son, Robert Mitchell Staples, Jr.
Mickey was active in the community, serving as a Notary Public, a member of what was formerly Western Lodge #538, Prince Hall Masons F&AM, and serving on the Roanoke Utility Board. He was also politically active, always encouraging citizens to exercise their right to vote.
Robert was preceded in death by his grandparents, Willie and Estella Trammell and Waymon and Rosie Staples; step-father, Willis Trammell; siblings: Dale Trammell, Johnnie Sue Dunson, Deborah Trammell, Gregory Lewis Trammell, Freddie Foster, Tyrone Foster, Reginald Foster, James Foster and Everett Rachel. His decline began with a stroke that he just couldn’t seem to bounce back from. Ultimately having fought a valiant fight, Mickey surrendered and departed this life on Sunday afternoon at West Georgia Hospice in LaGrange, Troup County, GA. Now, absent from the body, he is present with the Lord. He was 71 years old.
Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Catherine Staples; daughter, Keshia Danielle Morgan (Amman); son, Robert Mitchell Staples, Jr. (Shaneeda) all of Roanoke, AL; his mother-in-law, Eddie Beatrice Ridgel of Birmingham, AL; one (1) brother-in-law, Neal Ridgel, III (Delphia) of Conyers, GA; six (6) grandchildren: Jalease Morgan, Kechawn Morgan, Bria Morgan, Savannah Staples, Gabrielle Staples, and Ashton Morgan; four (4) great-grand-children: Braylee & Brayden Whitlow, Karter Morgan, and Reign Holliday; siblings: Gale McFarland (Larry) and Reverend Calvin Trammell (Patricia) of Roanoke, AL, Gloria Farrow (Foy) of Camp Hill, AL, and Alvin Trammell (Kathy) of Wedowee, AL; Janice Walker (Marcellus) and Betty Walker (Freddie) both of Riverdale, GA, Deborah Houston (John), Chris Bledsoe, and Vickie Brown all of Roanoke, AL, Gwen Roberson (Charles) of Wedowee, AL, Bridgett Foster, Liz Foster Presley (Thomas) and Allison Sims (James) all of Roanoke, AL, James Edward Clark (Susan) of Connecticut, Donald Pearson of Denver, CO, Larry Rachel (Sheldia), Hilton Rachel, Timothy Foster all of Roanoke, AL, and Paul Rachel of Marietta, GA; four (4) special aunts: Eva Stevenson of Memphis, TN, Lera Staples of Roanoke, AL, Eloise Martin of Birmingham, AL, Annie Rowland of LaGrange, GA; and his numerous other kindred and friends.
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