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Obituaries

ROBERT FRANCIS SOKOLOWSKI, SM

Brother Robert Francis Sokolowski passed away on May 19, 2022, in Savannah, Georgia at the age of 80.

Brother Robert was born in Chester, PA on May 20, 1941 to Edward “Sokey” and Matilda “Tillie” Sokolowski.

Both of his parents are deceased as is his sole brother, Edward, and sister-in-law, Terry Sokolowski.

Brother Robert has had a long-time attachment to the Catholic faith and in 1960 he entered the Marist Society in Washington, DC to become a Marist Brother. He attended Novitiate from 1962-1963 in Watch Hill, RI. Upon returning to the Marist Seminary in 1963, he was appointed to their General House in Rome, Italy where he remained until 1968. While in Rome, he witnessed the Second Vatican Council first hand and with other Brothers attended to 12 Bishops until the closing of the Council. Brother Robert also carried out many duties at the Marist’s beautiful General House in Rome including maintaining the extensive gardens and landscaping.

Brother Robert returned to the U.S. in 1968 and spent several years at Marist College in Washington, DC. He was transferred in 1984 to the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Brunswick, Georgia where he served as Pastoral Assistant. Brother Robert was subsequently transferred to the Catholic Cathedral in Cleveland, OH and then to St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington, DC. In 1989, the decision was made by the Marist Society to transfer Brother Robert to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah where he remained until his retirement in 2010, serving as Master of Ceremonies and Pastoral Assistant in addition to managing the Cathedral’s wedding rehearsals and weddings, as well as assisting in developing the Cathedral’s docent program, which continues to provide a welcoming presence for all who come into the Cathedral.

Brother Robert also became well known for his work on the floral decorations in the Cathedral throughout the year, particularly at Christmastime when he was responsible for the erection of the poinsettia tree as well as the installation of a crèche, which utilized the entire chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both of these additions became icons of the Christmas tradition in Savannah and now draw thousands of visitors each year.

A visitation will be held for Brother Robert from 5 until 7 o’clock, Tuesday evening May 24, 2022, at Gamble Funeral Service – 410 Stephenson Avenue.

A rosary service will be held at 7 o’clock Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, in the chapel of Gamble Funeral Service.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 o’clock Wednesday morning, May 25, 2022, at The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist – 222 East Harris Street.

Burial by the Marist Society will be at 10 o’clock Wednesday morning, June 1, 2022, in Mt. Olivet Cemetery – 1300 Bladensburg Road NE, Washington, DC, where Brother Robert will be among his fellow Marists and in the same city where he began his long tenure as a Marist Brother in 1960.

Remembrances: Cathedral Heritage Endowment Fund – c/o The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist – 222 East Harris Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401-4616.

Brother Robert and his friends were always appreciative of the care and love shown to him by Rita Slatus and her staff at Buckingham South.

Online Condolences

  1. Paul & Anna Kaluzne says:

    “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful….I will put you in charge of many things; enter the joy of your Master.’”

  2. Leamon Johnston says:

    Dear Brother Robert, good luck in your next journey and may your legacy of the alter and creche be forever moved forward as you brought beauty to the Cathedral Basilica where I grew up my entire life. May your close friends have peace in life without you and peace finally to you.

  3. Joan Heyward says:

    May you Rest In Peace, Brother Robert.
    For all of the love, affection and talent you shared with Tommy and me, I remain forever appreciative. You are beloved to so many for all of your kindness.
    Forever with your God.
    Joanie Heyward.

  4. Michael P. McCarthy says:

    A kind & holy man who will be missed. God bless! R.I.P.

  5. Rev. Billy Hester says:

    Thank you, Brother Robert, for all the ways you helped and served our community, your parish, and our family. What a blessing you have been. If heaven didn’t look and feel good enough already, I’m sure you have already upgraded it!
    (Please say “hello” to Butch for me!)
    Love,
    Rev. Billy Hester

  6. Pat Cook says:

    Brother Robert,
    Your talents and devotion to the Cathedral Basilica will live on, but the love of friendship will stay with me as I see it everyday. Thank you my friend. You will be missed.

  7. Beth and Tony Buttimer says:

    Brother Robert was such a bright light that shined everyday, even in darkness. A dedicated man of God, who loved sharing his God given talents with others. We are better Christians from being in his presence. Oh, how he will be missed. Rest easy, our faithful servent. You are loved.

    Beth and Tony Buttimer

  8. Brian and Paula Palmer says:

    We just heard of Brother Robert’s transition (apologies, we were away all of May). He was a blessing to our parish and to so many who ever visited (or will visit) the creche. Calm, energetic, talented, dedicated, a true servant of God and a light that shined among us. He will always be remembered, missed, and loved.

    Brian and Paula Palmer
    Savannah, GA

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