Horace B. Robertson, Jr. ’44

Rear Admiral Horace B. Robertson, Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired) of Durham, North Carolina died on November 19, 2020, after a brief illness.

Admiral Robertson was born on November 13, 1923 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He attended Davidson College for two years before being appointed to the Naval Academy in 1942 and graduating in 1945. He attended Georgetown University Law School, graduating in 1953.

In 1970, then-Captain Robertson was tapped by Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, the Chief of Naval Operations, to be his Special Counsel, where he served for two years before his selection for Rear Admiral and appointment by the President as Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy.

In 1975, the President appointed Rear Admiral Robertson as Judge Advocate General, the highest uniformed lawyer of the Navy. Admiral Robertson retired from the Navy in August 1976. Following retirement from the Navy, Rear Admiral Robertson was appointed Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law.

Rear Admiral Robertson was an internationally recognized authority on the law of the sea and the law of armed conflict at sea. He served as a member of the United States delegation to two United Nations conferences on the law of the sea.

Rear Admiral Robertson is survived by his two sons, Mark, of Columbia, South Carolina, and James, of Austin, Texas; their wives, Deborah Robertson and Melinda Taylor; four grandchildren, Emily and her husband David Bosch, Helen, Nicholas, and Julia; and one great-grandson, Robertson Henry Bosch. Admiral Robertson’s wife, the former Patricia (Trish) Lavell, whom he married in 1947, died in 2016.

A private memorial service for Admiral Robertson was held at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham. A celebration of his life will be held at Epworth United Methodist Church, and a graveside service at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, at a time later to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, those who wish to memorialize Admiral Robertson may make a gift to the Endowment Fund of Epworth United Methodist Church, Durham, N.C., or to the Horace B. and Patricia L. Robertson Scholarship at Duke University School of Law.

The family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. For full obituary and online condolences: www.hallwynne.com – select obituaries.

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