Robert Luke

Obituary of Robert A. Luke

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Ilion - Lieutenant Commander Robert A. Luke, USN, (Ret.) passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side, on October 17, 2023. R.A., as he was known by all, was born on October 29, 1934, in Ilion, NY, to Dr. Robert and Elizabeth Luke. Following graduating from Ilion HS, R.A. spent one year at Hobart College before receiving a commission to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. While at the Academy, R.A. played a year of football for Navy and 4 years of lacrosse, and received an Engineering degree. R.A.’s next adventure was flight school training in Pensacola, Florida, which resulted in him becoming a Naval Aviator, a position he cherished, until his retirement in 1977. R.A. proudly served his country for over 24 years, including an active role in many national crisis, including the Bay of Pigs invasion off the coast of Cuba in 1960 and multiple tours of duty in Vietnam as a squadron commander of (9) P-3 Orion aircraft. In his later years, R.A. finally opened up about some of his missions, especially discussing certain escapades to the delight of his grandchildren. He was particularly proud of having the most in flight hours among naval aviators at the time of his retirement- R.A. loved to fly! Following his retirement from the Navy, R.A. obtained a Master’s Degree in Education and taught math and science at his high school alma mater, Ilion H.S., for 17 years. R.A. is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 66 years, Elizabeth (Cashman) Luke, whose tireless dedication to their 6 children was instrumental in allowing R.A. to serve his country so many years in the USA and abroad; without Betty, there really is no R.A. Also surviving are six children; Robert A. Luke, Jr., of Ilion; Julie Lewis and her husband Robert of Ilion; Douglas A. Luke, of Binghamton; Thaddeus J. Luke and his wife Heather of Ilion; Thomas M. Luke and his wife Kristin of Ilion; and Kyle D. Luke, of Ilion. R.A. truly loved and enjoyed spending time with his 12 grandchildren, Alexa, Kelsey, Tayler, T.J., William, Reese, Danielle, Madison, Paige, Ryan, Robert (Max), and Ella and 3 great grandchildren, Chase, Eliana and Jaxson. R.A. was pre-deceased by his parents, Dr. Robert and Elizabeth Luke and his sister Diane (Luke) Getman and her husband, Captain Robert Getman, and their daughter Ashley and son R.T. and is survived by his nieces and nephews, Scott, Shawn, Chris, and Kelly. R.A. truly loved spending time with his friends and family in many ways, including a lifetime of memories he made at his camp at Brantingham Lake, where the days were filled with boat rides, water skiing, and wintertime snowmobiling. However, it was really the simple pleasures of camp that brought R.A. the most joy - spending time with his family and friends at his Adirondack ‘home away from home’, enjoying cold beer, good food, and great company. With the exception of his 24 years in the Navy, R.A. was born, lived, and died a resident of his beloved village of Ilion. R.A. could be seen virtually every day on a walking tour of the village, completing many miles and making multiple stops at his “clubs”, i.e., The Elks, K of C., or the Marine Corps League. R.A. relished in meeting up with his buddies and discussing the topics of the day, military history, high school sports, or the next snowmobile excursion. The friends R.A. truly loved are too numerous to mention, but David and Lois Stone’s companionship through thick and thin has been truly amazing and for which the family will be forever grateful. A funeral mass to celebrate the life of R.A. will be held at Annunciation Church in Ilion, NY on Saturday, October 21st at 10:30 a.m. with the burial taking place immediately afterward at Armory Hill Cemetery. The family invites family and friends to the Ilion K of C for a celebration of life reception after the mass and burial to talk about the great stories they shared with RA throughout his lifetime. Arrangements are under the direction of the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home, 100 Otsego St. in Ilion. The family would like to thank Hospice and the Abraham House in Utica, N.Y.R.A. would have been so grateful for the care his was given during the last days of his life along with the support shared with the family during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, the family asks to consider donations to the Abraham House, 1203 Kemble St., Utica NY 13501. To leave condolences for R.A.'s family, please visit
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Robert Luke

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Robert Luke

1934 - 2023

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