Robert L. Epling

Robert L. Epling

Robert L. Epling (Bob), age 79, died on February 23, 2022, in Stuart, Florida at home with his wife and daughters.

Robert is survived by his wife, Viktoriya Epling, of Stuart, Florida; children, Lisi Osborne (Jay) of Alachua, Florida, Jennifer Moses (Johnny) of Niceville, Florida, Cari D’Angelo of Margate, Florida, Tyler Wansakul of Homestead, Florida and Michele Umarov of Italy.

He is also survived by his six loving grandchildren, Chad (Brittany), Austin, Nadia, Tianna, Amaya and Cameron.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Lois Epling of Homestead, Florida; and his son, Tim Gillis Jr. of Homestead, Florida.

Robert was born on December 22, 1942 in West Virginia, to parents Howard and Lois Epling. They later moved to Homestead, Florida when Bob was still a kid.

He graduated from South Dade Senior High in 1960, where he was the first recipient of a full football scholarship to Furman University in South Carolina.

He later earned his B.A. degree from Furman University (where he played tackle for the Paladin football team) and graduate banking egrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Oklahoma.

Bob began his career as an assistant bank examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Washington, D.C.

From there, he moved to South Florida, where he spent most of the next fifty years. Bob worked for several banks in South Florida and served as the President and CEO of Community Bank of Florida for the last forty years of his career until he retired in 2017.

Through his work at the bank, he consistently proved that he was an honorable and ethical man.

Bob was also an active member of the South Florida community. He served as the Chairman of the International Hurricane Center for twenty years, he was an integral part of rebuilding Homestead after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. He served on the executive board of the South Florida Council of Boy Scouts of America, and was a member of the Military Affairs Committee of the Greater Homestead/ Florida City Chamber of Commerce, among many other activities.

Bob was also a Senior Advisor to the Orange Bowl Committee, after serving as its President in 1993. Bob was a respected member of the National Football Federation.

In addition, he spent more than 30 years as an agricultural lender and grower of tropical fruits, and he was on the Board of the Dade County Farm Bureau.

Bob was a Director of AvMed, Inc.; the Founding chairman of Vision Council; chairman of Beacon Council, Dade County's official Economic Development Agency; and chairman of Tomorrow's South Dade, a visioning process for all South Dade County. His efforts over the years helped raise more than $1 million to give back to his community.

Bob served as president of the Community Bankers/Florida Bankers Association from 1988-90, and the Community Bankers of Florida named him the "Banker of the Year" in 1993.

Florida International University presented him its Distinguished Service Award in 1999, and the Florida Bankers Association presented him with their "Legends Award" in 2003.

Bob was a great family man and a loving father as well as a loyal friend. He believed in hard work and a good education. Bob was a calm, well spoken, patient man at work and at home. He enjoyed family vacations anywhere, as long as everyone could be together. He also enjoyed fishing trips with friends to Costa Rica, Alaska and North Carolina. He was never too busy to lend an ear or give some sound advice. He enjoyed fishing, football, a great meal with a nice glass of wine and don’t forget “dessert.” Helping his friends and community, as well as spending time with his family making memories, were by far his favorite. His family and friends will always remember him as a “man of the people.”

A “Celebration of Life” is scheduled for Robert on March 19, 2022, 3:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Homestead. There will be a barbecue, complete with dessert on church grounds following the service for his family and friends to honor him, and to share stories and memories.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in his honor to be made to the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.