Robert Carl McFarlane

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Robert Carl McFarlane passed away on May 12, 2022, with his family gathered at his side. Born in Washington, DC on July 12, 1937, he was the son of William Doddridge McFarlane, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 13th District of Texas and Alma Carl McFarlane who lived in Graham, where Bud lived until 1945, when the family moved to Washington. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1959. Upon graduation he served in the United States Marine Corps for 20 years, including leading the first US forces to land in Vietnam. In 1965, he was awarded an Olmsted Scholarship to study at the lnstitut des Hautes Etudes Internationale in Geneva, Switzerland, where he received a Masters of Science in Strategic Studies. He was accepted into the prestigious White House Fellows program in 1971.

His distinguished record of public service includes serving as Military Advisor to Henry Kissinger and Brent Scrowcroft, as well as both Counselor of the Department of State and President Reagan’s Special Envoy to the Middle East. As President Reagan’s National Security Advisor, he was an architect of a comprehensive set of U.S. policies including the Strategic Defense Initiative (‘Star Wars’) that both stressed the Soviet economy to the point of the collapse of the Soviet Union and achieved the first reduction of nuclear weapons in history.

In recent years, Mr. McFarlane co-founded the bipartisan U.S. Energy Security Council and was co-founder and board chairman of IP3, and international company whose mission is to develop and operate peaceful and secure civil nuclear power globally.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jonda Riley McFarlane, and the families of their three children, Lauren (Steve; Maggie, Tom)’ Scott (Malinda; Cara, Pierce, Elliott, Aidan)’ and Melissa (John; Tulley, Piper). He is also survived by two sisters: Mrs. Barbara Mcfarlane Staton of Sarasota, Fla.; and Mrs. Mary McFarlane Pitcock of Graham and their families. He was preceded in death by a brother W. D. McFarlane, Jr. of West Palm Beach, Fla. and a sister, Mrs. Betty McFarlane Morris of Wilsonville, Ore. As his family, we wish to share our deep sadness and note his profound impact on our lives. We remember his warmth, his wisdom, his deep belief in God, and his commitment to serving others. We loved his long intricate jokes and envied his matchless skiing form. He had an uncanny way of making whoever he was talking with feel like the most important person in the room, and he derived an enormous pleasure in mentoring, leading to deep and unique friendships with several generations.

Bud’s lifelong devotion to his wife Jonda (‘Jonny’) was a love affair for all time. Their marriage reflected their deep commitment to and love for each other and was an inspiration and model to many. Though devastated by our loss, we will always celebrate the big and wonderful life he had and are grateful that he created it so fully with us.

A memorial service will be held at the United States Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Md. on Aug. 2 at 10:30 a.m. followed by interment at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery. All are welcome. Those desiring to make a memorial gift in his honor may do so at, or to an organization of their choice.

The Graham Leader

620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 228-0589