Robert E. Brinkley, Sr.

Published 12:08 pm Thursday, July 6, 2023

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AHOSKIE – Robert Earl Brinkley Sr. died July 4, 2023, surrounded by his family at ECU Health in Greenville, NC after a brief illness.

Robert Earl Brinkley Sr. was born to David Ralph Brinkley Sr. and Bertie Alleen Brantley on August 4, 1931, and was raised in the Center Grove Community, attended Ahoskie High School, and graduated in 1950. He began dating Carolyn Early in high school where they fell in love and married at a young age in 1951. They recently celebrated 72 years of marriage on June 10th.

Soon after marriage, Robert Earl was drafted in 1951 during the Korean Conflict into the United States Army and after basic training in Kentucky, he was stationed at Stuttgart, Germany. He achieved the rank of corporal/company clerk and received an honorable discharge in 1953. After returning home, he worked several different jobs and farmed to provide for his family. In 1963, he was employed by Planters National Bank, which later became Centura Bank, in the Trust Department in Ahoskie specializing in Farm Management. After retiring from the bank in 1990, he opened his own farm management business known as REB Farms Inc. which remains operational today. His love has always been agriculture and recently he and his wife were recognized by the North Carolina Department of Agricultural Century of Farms for owning a farm that had been in Carolyn’s family for over 100 years and which they still own today.

Robert Earl always believed in community involvement. Because of his love for agriculture, he has also served on the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association, the North Carolina Society of Farm Managers (20 years), the United States Farm Service Association (42 years), the Hertford County Soil and Water Conservation Board (41 years), the Hertford County Farm Bureau (35 years) and was a member of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce and a Board Member of the Ahoskie Rural Fire Department where he served as Treasurer for over 40 years.  Robert Earl was also part of the Ahoskie Lions Club and during his membership in the Lions Club he served as President and received the Jack Stickley Lion of the Year Award by the North Carolina Lions Foundation. He received several more community awards over the years and most recently the Roanoke Chowan News Herald Front Page Award. He was part of the Chowan University Christian Service Association at Chowan University.

He was a member of the Center Grove Baptist Church during his childhood and later became a member at Earlys Baptist Church and has been a member for over 72 years. He served as Deacon, Sunday School Director and Treasurer for several decades and was very instrumental in several remodeling projects and two major building projects at the church.

He has spent his entire life in the Roanoke-Chowan Area. His love and care for the community and people in the Roanoke-Chowan Area was unmeasurable.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, David Ralph Brinkley Sr; sister, Nellie Mae Brinkley Dilday; and grandson, Andrew Colby Brinkley.

He had three sons, Robert Earl Jr. “Bob” (Carol) of Raleigh, NC, Don (Debra) of New Bern, NC and Doug (Susan) of Ahoskie, NC. They have seven grandchildren: Christie (Vicki), Robert III, Justin (Leah), Jared (Joanna), Jessica (John), Jenna (Brandon), Elizabeth (Noah) and seven great-grandchildren: Alli, Will, Davis, Parker, Owen, Wells and Chesson.

The family will receive friends Friday, July 7, 2023 from 6-8 p.m. at Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service, Ahoskie, NC and other times at the home.

A celebration of life funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 8, 2023 at 11 a.m. at the Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel, Ahoskie, NC, with Rev. Dr. Jesse J. Croom, and Rev. Joshua Prosser, officiating. Burial will follow at Highland Memorial Gardens.

Flowers are welcomed or you may contribute directly to Earlys Baptist Church Inc., 310 Early Station Road S, Ahoskie, NC 27910; or you may donate online by visiting; type Robert Brinkley.

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Brinkley family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting