Cover photo for Robert Means Prioleau's Obituary
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Robert Means Prioleau

January 23, 1934 — May 7, 2024

Charleston

Robert Means Prioleau

Robert Means Prioleau of Charleston, South Carolina, passed peacefully on May 7, 2024, with his loving wife of almost 70 years by his side. He was 90 years of age.

Bob was known as a caring husband, father and friend, an endlessly inquisitive and curious mind, a devout Christian, and a faithful servant to his community. Upon meeting Bob you immediately felt the warmth of a kind and quintessential gentleman with a witty sense of humor and distinct, old-fashioned vocal style.

Bob was the son of Horrÿ Frost Prioleau and Isabella Means Prioleau of Charleston, South Carolina. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Green Prioleau and three children: Charles Horrÿ Prioleau and wife Mimi; Robert Pinckney Prioleau and wife Rachel; and Caroline Elliott Prioleau. He is also survived by his three grandchildren - Carolyn Means Prioleau Bathon and husband Chris; Wilson Horrÿ Prioleau and fiancée Elsebeth; and Isabel Grace Prioleau - as well as an older brother, Horrÿ Frost Prioleau Jr. and wife Diane; a twin sister, Caroline Pinckney Prioleau Haydock; and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.

Bob was born on January 23, 1934, in The Hague, Netherlands, where his father was employed by Standard Vacuum Oil Co., an overseas affiliate of what is now Exxon Corp. At the onset of World War II, the family was forced to flee from the Netherlands before it was overrun, and returned to their traditional home in Charleston, South Carolina.

After attending The Charleston Day School in 1938, he was later enrolled at various grammar schools in the vicinity of New York City, where the family lived. In 1947, Bob attended high school at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, where he excelled on the soccer field, served as editor-in-chief of The Talon, the literary publication of the school, and graduated in June 1951. He received a degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, was a member of Cottage Club, and graduated in June 1955, with honors. He received his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1957.

Bob first met his future wife, Pat, during his junior year in college at a social event in Darien, Connecticut. After learning that Pat was leading tours at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, he showed up a few days later for her tour and the rest is history. They married in New York City in 1956, at Calvary Episcopal Church in Manhattan. 

In July 1957, Bob enlisted in the US Navy as an Officer Candidate and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Civil Engineering Corps. He was stationed at Port Hueneme, California, where he was the Assistant Resident Officer in Charge of Construction at that base. In 1959, he was ordered to report to The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and taught in the Engineering Department. After two years of teaching, Pat and Bob celebrated the birth of their first son. Bob then retired from active duty and began work as a Process Engineer at the Exxon Chemical plant in Bayway, New Jersey.

For the next thirty-five years he worked for Exxon Chemical Company in various positions in petrochemical manufacturing, plastics film fabrication, international petrochemical operations, and large-scale advanced plastics recycling. He retired in 1995, and moved back to Charleston, South Carolina, soon after.

Active in the Episcopal and Anglican Churches, Bob was a Lay Reader in several churches and served on numerous vestries. He served as a member of the Vestry and Treasurer of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston as well as Chairman of “Lord of the Streets,” an Episcopal ministry for those experiencing homelessness in Houston. While in Houston, Bob also served as board member of the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, as well as a member of Texas Corinthian Yacht Club and Houston Racquet Club. 

In Charleston, Bob was President for several years of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, and co-authored a short history of the Huguenots in America, titled “Huguenot Footprints,” in 2010. He was a member of the board of the Charleston Library Society, a former Chairman of the Association for the Blind in Charleston, a board member of the Preservation Society for Charleston, a member of the Society of the Cincinnati and of The Society of Colonial Wars in the state of South Carolina, and was on the board of the historic Pompion Hill Chapel. He was a member of the Carolina Yacht Club, the Charleston Club, and the St. Cecilia Society.

The scope of Bob’s interests and hobbies was expansive. While an avid sailor, skier, tennis player, and bird hunter, he was just as drawn to the symphony, the state of world affairs, and the stack of books always within his reach. He was the engineer who could fix anything around a house and the artist who could sketch and paint a portrait of its exterior. He had a soft spot for dogs, particularly dachshunds, and anything chocolate or coffee flavored. Forever upbeat and interested in others, Bob will be remembered by family and friends as a true gentleman who always left people feeling deeply cared for.

Friends and family are invited to a celebration of life at one o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at Bishop Gadsden Chapel at 1 Bishop Gadsden Way, Charleston, SC, 29412. The service will be followed by a reception at Bishop Gadsden.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Huguenot Society of South Carolina at www.huguenotsociety.org, Bishop Gadsden at www.bishopgadsden.org, Christ Church Cathedral in Houston at www.christchurchcathedral.org, or the charity of one’s choice. 
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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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