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Robert A. Draper passed away in his home on September 30, 2023. Robert was born in Wylie, Texas on August 8, 1937, to AJ and Bobbie “Stone” Draper. Robert’s family moved to Mount Vernon when he was a young boy. His parents bought a piece of property in Mount Vernon that would later become Robert and his wife, Norma’s home till their passing. Their beautiful home and property were kept perfectly manicured by Robert and was admired by everyone who passed on Interstate 30. Robert and Norma married February 22, 1958, in Mount Vernon, Texas and soon after moved to Arlington to begin his long successful career with Commercial Metals and grow a family of three sons.
He is survived by his sons, David and wife, Jurga of Vernon Hills, IL, Darrin of Mount Vernon, Dean and wife, Rachel of Pickton. He also has four grandchildren and four great- grandchildren that lovingly called him “Papa”, Parey Reed and husband, Cody, Parker Jean, Collins Perry, Callum Thax, and Prescott Kate reside in Mount Vernon. Dawson Draper currently resides in Searcy, AR, Dean A Draper resides in Midland, TX and Josephine Draper resides in Pickton. Brother, James Ray Draper and wife Vickie of Stephenville. Sisters in law, Polly Yates, Beth Barron and Bobbie Mills and a host of nieces and nephews. Robert was preceded in death by his parents and precious wife, Norma.
During Robert and Norma’s time in Arlington, Robert gained a reputation throughout the world working for Commercial Metals.
Robert began working for Commercial Metal Co. in August 1958 as a clerk typist. He was hired for his typing speed and shorthand. He retired from Commercial Metals Co. in August 1997 after 39 years of service working his way from a clerk typist to Senior Vice President of Dallas Ferrous Division. He was a consultant for several years after his retirement In Mount Vernon, Texas.
He was one of the most respected steel scrap and rerolling traders in the World. Daily he received inquiries from scrap and reroll buyers and sellers from all corners of the world. Amazingly he took the time to answer most of these inquiries and usually made deals. He helped develop large quantities of imported used rails from Russia and other European origins during the nineties to support CMC T post facility in Magnolia, AR.
Robert poured out his time and talents to CMC. His influence on numerous trainees, including many which later led the company, provided invaluable training in the steel scrap trading business. Robert was a master at executing contracts, from vessel chartering to knowing the ins and outs of getting paid. His staff was amazed at how he managed to successfully negotiate documents against some of the most difficult letters of credit. He was always a tough taskmaster when it came to trading and doing it right.
Robert started his career by typing individual invoices in CMCs home officer and later progressed to writing invoices and handling claims. He was later promoted to the steel scrap export division where he chartered large scrap carriers both voyage and time charters. He worked in CMC plant dismantling division doing jobs such as Dallas Copper trolly lines/Texas City Refinery/Vivian Louisiana tank farms, missile silos in the Western USA and dismantling and shipping a large quantity of steam locos from Amite, La.
In 1962, Robert assisted many others in CMC to develop a code system for steel scrap trading to use in prohibiting competitors from being able to intercept CMC offers to the Far East. Even today some of these code words are still used. In 1985 Robert helped open the Chinese Markets by selling 12 large steel scrap cargoes to a Chinese Govt. buying agency who spent several weeks in the USA inspecting and learning about the world steel scrap markets from Robert and his staff. Later Robert & Norma traveled all over China and spent time visiting many steel making facilities and port operations. In the mid-nineties Robert directed Commercial Metals Co. with Joint Venture partner R.C. Mac Donald of New Zealand in the dismantling of the New Zealand South Island Railways which produced many thousands of tons of prime scrap which was marketed and shipped via large vessels to Japan. In September 1995 Robert sold and shipped from New York the Largest steel scrap cargo ever loaded in the United States destined to one Consumer. The cargo shipped from NY abroad to M/V Tahir Kaptan with 85,000 tons of steel scrap to buyer in Thailand. Value was over USD 17 million.
Robert was known as Elroy to his CMC associates because the late President Charles W. Merritt found him one fall afternoon sneaking out of the lunchroom to watch the World Series and especially Elroy Face (a fireball pitcher for Pittsburgh), Robert’s favorite player. The nickname stuck.
Robert was not only dedicated to his work with Commercial Metals but stood out as a husband, father, and grandfather. His remarkable commitment to his family was admired by many. He and Norma were active members at Hillcrest church of Christ and continued to serve as life group leaders at Shannon Oaks Church in Sulphur Springs after returning to Mount Vernon.
Robert was a die-hard Cowboy fan claiming his pride to everyone he met about being a classmate of Don Meredith. He and Norma attended many Super Bowls and held season tickets in the old Cowboy stadium. Robert was also a huge fan of his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. He didn’t miss many events they participated in. He invested his heart, time, and money in the Draper Ranch to make it a place where his family could enjoy time together fishing and riding four wheelers. Robert also loved listening to rock and roll and blues music and sharing his life stories with everyone he met. If you were lucky enough to sit with him and hear his stories and his laughter, you were blessed.
Robert’s Celebration of Life will be held Friday, October 6, 2023, at 11 am at Sam B. Harvey Funeral Home with Jeff Harris officiating. Visitation will be Thursday evening, October 5, 2023, between 6-8 pm. Robert supported Journey Road and the Foster care ministry. He requested that memorials be given in his honor and memory. Donations may be made at www.journeyroadministries.com or mailed to PO Box 157, Pickton, Texas 75471.
As is often said about unusual people, we are not likely to look upon his kind anytime soon.
Services are entrusted to Sam B. Harvey Funeral Home and online condolences may be made at www.samharveyfuneralhome.com