Robert “Bob” Tata passed away surrounded by his family on June 11, 2021 in Stanardsville, VA. Bob was a husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, 30- year state delegate from Virginia Beach’s 85th District, a Tidewater Virginia Coach of the Decade, and all-star athlete at the University of Virginia.
Bob was born in Detroit Michigan to Luigi and Domenica Tata on January 27, 1930. He is predeceased in death by his parents, his sister Merrhe and his beloved wife of 62 years, Jeraldine “Jerri” Morris Tata.
Bob was a standout baseball and football player at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and was recruited heavily by colleges for his athletic prowess. He accepted a full scholarship to The University of Virginia to play football and baseball and always remembered his humble beginnings as the son of a brick mason and housewife, both immigrants from Italy. As a football player under head coach Art Guepe, Bob played both running back and defensive back and was known as, “The swivel-hipped halfback from Detroit.” He was a fluid, cunning runner, a menace to his opponents, and a dangerous scoring threat. He was selected for the North-South Shrine All-Star game during his prestigious college football career. Bob also played first base on the Cavaliers’ baseball diamond and was known for his fielding magic, home run prowess, and his ability to steal bases. He was also in the IMP secret society while at UVA studying education to become a teacher and coach. Bob was drafted by the Detroit Lions as a running back and was released after an injury, resulting in him returning to Charlottesville to earn his Master’s Degree in counseling whereupon he met Jerri, who was teaching at Albemarle High School.
Bob and Jerri were married 62 years and have three children: Robert, Anthony and Kendall. Robert married Anne-Ferrell and they have four children: Peyton and husband Rafe (great granddaughter Tinsley), Carter and husband Tad, Riley and Robert. Anthony has two children: Brooke and Zachary and wife Lindsey. After a two-year commitment in the army at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, the Tatas relocated to Norfolk, VA where both served as teachers at Maury and Granby high schools. Bob coached the Granby Comets to the state final game in 1965, losing in a tough match to Annandale. Shortly thereafter, Bob was an assistant coach for the UVA Cavalier football team and reluctantly left his Granby Comets. A former Granby player from that team came to visit Bob when he was 90 and spoke of how “Coach” changed so many young men’s lives during his career. The Tatas moved to Charlottesville VA for a year while Bob coached the defensive backs and recruited new athletes. Bob realized he preferred coaching at the high school level and returned to the Tidewater area where he served as the head football coach at Norview High School. He was also a physical education teacher, history teacher, baseball coach, and guidance counselor. Coach Tata was voted Tidewater’s Coach of The Decade from 1970-1980 for his winning record and his ability to mold and mentor young men.
In 1983, Bob ran for the 85th District of the Virginia General Assembly. Establishing the Tata Team, Bob successfully served the Old Dominion for 30 years including as the Chair of The Education Committee, and as a member of the Appropriations and Transportation Committees. Bob was featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch as one of “The Sustainers,” a group of four veteran state politicians that railed against the “our way or the highway” philosophy of politics. Representing his constituency was his top priority, and Delegate Tata was highly respected on both sides of the aisle. Bob was endearingly called “Coach” throughout his political career for his legendary coaching career, common sense politics, and loyalty to his constituents.
Bob enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play sports and encouraged them to excel in all aspects of life. An avid golfer, he played in the Virginia Beach senior men’s league and with his children. Bob moved to his wife’s hometown, Stanardsville VA in Greene County to live and enjoy the golden years with Jerri and Kendall on the Morris-Tata Farm.
The family would like to thank the staff at The Harbor in Stanardsville, VA for their exceptional and genuine care for Bob.
Visitation will be held at Ryan Funeral Home on Friday, June 18th from 5-7 p.m.
A funeral service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Stanardsville on June 19th at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Holly Memorial Gardens at 3251 Seminole Trail, Charlottesville, VA 22911.
in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), 4441 South Blvd. Virginia Beach, VA 23452.
An online guestbook is available at www.ryanfuneral.com
Ryan Funeral Home of Ruckersville is in charge of arrangements.