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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 64
Year of Death: 2021

Robert W. “Bobby” Nelms

Robert W. “Bobby” Nelms was born in Suffolk, Virginia, to Barbara Bradshaw Nelms and the late Robert Langley Nelms on November 20, 1956.

Bobby was a true public servant. As a teenager, he joined Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department, where he became a lifetime member. He had a passion for helping others, which led him to also join Nansemond Suffolk Volunteer Rescue Squad, where he was a lifetime member and past chief.

Bobby enjoyed a long career working at Lipton Tea in Suffolk until his retirement, when he chose to pursue a full-time career in EMS. He was the second employee hired at the Isle of Wight Rescue Squad, where he was affectionately known as the “Station Dad.” Bobby found his daily reward in helping others. He was a mentor to many generations of EMS providers in the Suffolk and Isle of Wight area. Bobby was a member of Virginia D-Mat One for several years. He enjoyed working in his spare time in one of the local emergency rooms as an ER technician.

Bobby was a devoted and loving husband, father, Pawpaw, and a true friend to many. He left behind his loving wife of 31 years, Liz, whom he always referred to as his “Bride.” Bobby also left behind his loving children, daughters, Sarah N Brock (EJ) and Ashley G Nelms; sons, JW Hogan (Renee) and Bill Hogan (Teresa); grandchildren, Reese, Alana, Thomas, Riley, Liv, Dylan, and Ezrah; and a brother, David B Nelms (Molly).

After Bobby’s retirement from Isle of Wight County in 2019, he and Liz moved to the mountains in Southwest Virginia and built their dream home in Fries, where Bobby continued to volunteer with Fries Volunteer Fire and EMS. Bobby loved riding ATVs and exploring the outdoors. One of his many passions was guns and competitive shooting sports. Bobby loved music. He played air guitar and used whatever was close by as his drums. He couldn’t carry a tune, and we would all giggle at him, with his earbuds in place as he sang to the tunes he listened to so intently.

Bobby left us way too soon, after a very brief, unexpected illness. We are so thankful for the time that we had him with us and miss him every single day. Bobby was able to mentor so many young people in his life, and they thank me for that each time I see them.

He would always say, “I love you from the mountains to the moon and back.” Those words will forever be embedded in our hearts.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

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  1. Bobby we love and miss you. Bobby you touched so many hearts and souls leaving such a huge impact on everyone you met.

    – Chris Smith
  2. I miss you dearly my “brother from another mother”. Not a week goes by that I don’t think of you. I will love you and Liz always.
    Lorie Shepherd (the pain in your ass sister…lol)

    – Lorie Shepherd
  3. I’m so grateful to have had the gift of knowing Bobby for as long as I did. He was such a dear friend and was always there for me whenever I needed him. His presence was palpable whenever he was around. He left a great void behind when he left us too soon.

    To this day, I can still hear that “squeak” when he walked. Not because of his shoes or his old bones, but because of the ENORMOUS amount of stuff he carried on his belt and in his pockets! Oh, Bobby. We miss you.

    Jeffrey Elmore
  4. Bobby was truly one of a kind. He and his bride impacted my life greatly. My prayers are still with Liz and their family for their tremendous loss.

    – Micah Showalter
  5. I sure miss you my friend. Even though we didn’t know each other for a long time I feel like I had known you for ever. Watch over us down here and we will see you soon. We will take it from here. Love and miss you

    – Melanie Boyer
  6. We had the honor of meeting Bobby here in SWVA. He would stop over to chat or help me start my generator. An absolutely wonderful man and his wife is just the sweetest lady. We only wish we had gotten to know him sooner. He will be forever missed. 💙

    – Jodi
  7. Bobby, I will never forget you man! You were one of a kind and you are missed every day my friend!

    – Andy Coe