US Navy

Robert Stetz

November 15, 1928 ~ April 9, 2021 (age 92)


Robert Matthew Raymond Stetz, 92, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, passed away April 9, 2021 in Hazlet, NJ. Born in Newark, NJ, Robert spent most of his childhood moving around from Newark, NJ, to Detroit, Michigan, to Wilkes Barre, PA, and back to Newark, NJ. At the tail end of World War II, 1945, he shipped out as a 17 year old in the US Merchant marine. In 1950, while aboard US flag ships making Europe to Scandinavia runs for Moore McCormack shipping lines, he met a young Norwegian woman, Randi Hoff, at a summer rowing regatta in Oslo, Norway. On April 25, 1951, they were married in Oslo. Subsequently, Randi left her family in Norway and set sail for the US, arriving in New York on October 30, 1951. In 1952 they purchased a home in North Arlington, NJ and then in September of 1956 moved into a new home in Hazlet, NJ where their 3 children were raised. Robert continued working aboard ships with the National Maritime Union. He retired from the NMU in 1966 and began working in the construction business around Hazlet. In 1974 He landed a job with the Navy Department. He shipped out as a civilian seaman aboard a Navy ship in the Military Sealift Command. The MSC provided fleet support for the US Navy. From 1974 until 1983 he served with pride aboard a number of MSC ships, taking him on a series of seafaring adventures. At times his family didn’t know where he was because the work he was involved with was classified. On October 8 1981, Robert crewed on a brand new, state of the art, Naval support vessel the USNS Apache. Being part of the crew at the launching of a new vessel was an honor for him that he was proud of. The ship is still in service today and his name is on a plaque mounted aboard the Apache. The Navy refers to any original crew of a ship as a “Plank Owner” of the ship. In April of 1983, he retired from crewing MSC ships and went to work at an MSC fire fighting school in Freehold, NJ. He fully retired in 1996. In 1967 Robert became a member of the Sons of Norway, Lodge 466. He and Randi were life members and were always very involved. Robert served as lodge president 5 times. He was also an avid bowler for many years. During his retirement years Robert always kept busy with the Sons of Norway and enjoyed his grand kids as they grew up, regularly attending soccer games, baseball games, football games, band performances, tennis matches and eventually college graduations and weddings. Robert is predeceased by his father Mathew, his mother Charlotte, his sister Rita Ann and his son Raymond. He is survived by his wife Randi, of Hazlet, NJ, his son Ken Stetz and his wife Diane of Collegeville, PA, his daughter Jo-Ann Johnson and her husband Chris of Brick, NJ, daughter-in-law Lisa Stetz of Beverly Hills, Florida, along with two nieces, Laura and Barbara, 3 grand children, Rebecca, Evan and Kyle and 3 great grandchildren, Remy, Leo and Sandy.

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