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Robert "Bob" Marchetti

August 2, 1927 July 17, 2020
Robert  "Bob" Marchetti
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Obituary for Robert "Bob" Marchetti

Robert Gray “Bob” Marchetti went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on July 17, 2020, after a brief illness. Bob left surviving him his two sons, John Emmett Marchetti (Linda) and Robert David Marchetti (Buttons); six grandchildren, Gray Marchetti Blocker (Tyler), Robert Emmett Marchetti II, Joseph Lloyd Marchetti (Abigail), Lawson David Marchetti, Neil Pryor Marchetti, and Meriwether Louise Marchetti; two great-grandchildren, Cora Reece Blocker and Amie Nason Blocker; his best friend of 86 years, Dr. Jimmy “Dog” Little of Crystal Springs; and many other relatives and friends.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Emmett Marchetti and Mildred Gray Marchetti of Hazlehurst, and his sweetheart and soulmate of 69 years, Jackie Vann Marchetti.
Robert Gray (he did not become “Bob” until he was out from his mother’s influence) was born in Waynesboro, Mississippi on August 2, 1927. The family later settled into the Marchetti homestead property in Hazlehurst, where they shared the home of his bachelor uncle and two spinster aunts. His favorite aunt Irene made lard biscuits every morning and fresh gingerbread every afternoon for him to enjoy when he would return from school, grab his gun and his dog, and head out bird hunting. This routine was interrupted only by football practice. Robert Gray played ball for the Hazlehurst High School Indians, and was good enough to earn a scholarship to play for his beloved Mississippi State, but injury and World War II cut that short. Robert Gray and his friends enlisted in the Navy, preferring that to being conscripted into the Army. Robert Gray was trained as a pharmacist’s mate, first class and was sent to Charleston and then San Diego in 1945, but the War ended before he was deployed overseas. The trip to San Diego involved air travel, and having once experienced it, he determined that he would never fly again.
After the War he finished Mississippi State on the GI Bill. Upon graduation he took a job at Sears and Roebuck in Laurel, Mississippi. The only good thing about this was it was there he met the love of his life, Jackie Vann. They were married on May 6, 1951, and were only parted by her death 69 years later. Bob and Jackie moved to Jackson where Bob went to work for the Mississippi Rating Bureau. From there he became a junior executive with the Aetna Insurance Company. He excelled with Aetna, but the only way to rise further in the ranks was to be transferred to Columbia, South Carolina. Bob could not bear to leave his beloved Mississippi, so he left a promising career with the Aetna, and went into the agency business with Lou Heiden and Lou's son John at the Heiden Insurance Agency; subsequently, the firm's name was changed to Heiden- Marchetti, Inc. Bob spent the rest of his career there. After he retired, Bob was honored with induction into the Mississippi State University Insurance Department's Hall of Fame and the establishment of the Bob Marchetti Endowed Scholarship, which is still given annually to a deserving MSU student.
Bob was a man’s man. He loved to hunt birds (that means quail--other birds had other names), and fish (bass and bream only). He played tennis, but really preferred running his “pawr” saw, splitting wood and clearing brush on his place near Flora, Mississippi, which he owned with his dear friend of over 50 years, Steve Terney.
Bob was passionate about Mississippi State sports, especially football, basketball and baseball. He could be heard routinely on MSU sports radio back in the 70's and 80's hawking insurance and supporting his beloved Dogs. Bob is a past president of the Hinds County MSU Alumni Chapter.
Bob asked Christ to be his Lord and Savior at the famous Billy Graham Crusade in Jackson in the early 1950's and his life would never be the same. Although an insurance man par excellence, he was always, first and foremost, as one of his long-time customers dubbed him, “The Jesus Man.” Bob touched thousands of people for Christ, both in his day-to-day life and work, and by supporting evangelical organizations. Bob would never be without a “Four Spiritual Laws” tract in his pocket, he would put Psalm 33:12 or Proverbs 3:5-6 on all outgoing correspondence, whether business or personal, and his Christian testimony was always on his lips. He and Jackie were founding members of Colonial Heights Baptist Church in 1956 when they met in a dairy barn on Old Canton Road, at that time, far outside the city limits of Jackson. Bob taught the most beloved and long-lived couples Sunday School Class at Colonial Heights from the 60s to the 90s, discipling hundreds of young couples, many of whom still report the profound influence Bob had on their Christian lives. Bob also mentored young men through the “Operation Timothy” program and otherwise; many of his proteges would go on to follow callings into the ministry.
Bob was actively involved in Kings Arrow Ranch in Lumberton, Mississippi, both as a financial contributor and board member. It was there that Bob and Jackie met and began an almost-fifty-year friendship with Rodney and Becky Wood.
Bob and Jackie generously supported many other Christian organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ, Friends of Alcoholics, Gateway Rescue Mission, the Mission
Foundation of Baton Rouge, French Camp Academy, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and so many others space does not allow to list them.
Bob’s personal discipline and integrity are legendary to those who knew him. In business and all other walks of life, he would never do anything to undermine his Christian witness. He truly walked the walk.
Bob was a loving and compassionate husband and father, and his sons, John and David, are eternally grateful to the Lord for giving them such incredible, loving and godly parents.
Bob would hate all this praise and would certainly wish to deflect it all onto his Lord and Savior.
There will be a private burial service in Hazlehurst.
Memorials may be made to Friends of Alcoholics or French Camp Academy.

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