Robert B. (Bob) Priestley, a longtime summer resident of Oak Bluffs, died May 20 in South Yarmouth. He was 95.

Bob graduated from Melrose High School and Brown University. At Melrose, he played on the undefeated 1937 football team, and was selected for the All Scholastic Football Team. He also played hockey and baseball at Melrose.

At Brown University, he was a three-year letterman at tight end and was selected for the N.E. College All New England Team. Bob played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles. He also played in the Eastern League for the Boston Olympics and football for the Providence Steamrollers.

He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Europe during World War II, in a heavy Bomb Group, as an infantry officer. He was awarded six battle stars for his service.

After his honorable discharge from the Army, he was an assistant football and hockey coach at Brown from 1947 to 1951. Bob was named hockey coach and assistant football coach at Norwich University in 1951. He coached hockey for 29 years, and was head football coach for 10 years. He also coached golf for 20 years and assisted with baseball. He was the director of athletics at Norwich for 15 years, being honored twice as the Eastern Hockey Coach of the Year.

During his career at Norwich, Bob served as president of the American Hockey Coaches, the New England Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the New England Intercollegiate Football Association and the ECAC Hockey Association. He also served on the Hockey Rules Committee and the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Selection Committee. Bob is also a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame at Melrose High School, Brown University and Norwich University.

Preceding Bob in death are two wives, Terry (Nolan) Priestley, and Justine (Tyrell Smadbeck) Priestley. He is also preceded by his son Pfc. Joseph Priestley USA, in 1977, and granddaughter Rachel Priestley in 2003.

Those left to cherish his memory are his children, Pamela Priestley Schelper, Patricia Priestley Karmody, Mark Priestley, Paula Casey, Kelley Priestley and his six grandchildren, Joseph Priestley, Nolan Schelper, Amanda Priestley, and Declan, Kells and Callan Casey. Also surviving are his siblings Russell Priestley, Jean Flanagan, Anne Spencer and Marie Dolloff.

Bob was an avid golfer, fisherman, reader, and bridge player. He participated in archaeological digs in Belize and the Mohave Desert after his retirement.

“I have had a good life, good wife, good wife, good family and hope to see most of you at a later date.”

Friends may share condolences and sign Bob’s register book online at