Robert Grills Obituary

Robert  H. Grills
Robert H. Grills

June 5, 1937 - May 29, 2017
Born in New London, CT
Resided in New London, CT


New London – Robert H. Grills, devoted husband, father, and loving grandfather (affectionately known as Poppy) peacefully entered eternal life early on Monday, May 29, 2017, after battling a long illness.
Son of the late Harry R. Grills and Mary C. Aguiar, Bob was born and raised in New London, CT. He graduated from New London High School in 1954 where he met his beloved wife of 50 years, Valeda P. Wood. Bob graduated from State Technical Institute with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Bob's career as an engineer began at DuPont in Delaware, then continued to Electric Boat in Groton, and finally leading his own division of Science Applications International Corporation in New London. During his vast career Bob was one of the designers of an Ultrasonic Imaging System awarded a patent and used globally for nondestructive testing. He is the 1985 recipient of the ASNT Fellow Award for his expertise in NDT (non-destructive testing).

During his career he was able to travel all over the world working with and promoting the technology that he and his team invented. His travels took him all over the USA, as well as countries such as Israel, England, Australia and countless others. He and his wife loved traveling the world whether it be for work, or for pleasure, and had so many beautiful experiences. Some of his favorite places included San Francisco, New Orleans, Portugal, Bali and Bermuda.
Bob was a strong presence in the New London community. He was involved in community service and was very active in New London politics as well as fundraising for the local New London Kiwanis chapter. Bob was a dedicated member of the New London Kiwanis Club and served in many leadership roles. He served as president of the New London Chapter in 2005 and 2007, and served as Lieutenant Governor for the New England and Bermuda Chapter. Active in raising funds for Kiwanis children's programs including the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute, Tufts University, Medford, Mass., Reading is Fundamental, Bike Safety Rodeo and Safe Kids. Over the years he has provided bicycle helmets to hundreds of area children through the Kiwanis club.

Bob was appointed to the New London Water Commission where he remained an active member up until recently. Bob was a member of the New London Republican Town Committee for many years and served as the Town Chairman. He was also a Boy Scout leader for Troup 11 out of St. Joseph's Parish. He served on the St. Joseph's Parish Council and the St. Bernard Parent's Council.

Bob and his wife Valeda were members of the Sons of Italy. After a trip to Italy during Carnevale Festivals they brought the Italian Carnevale Gala to the area as a fund raiser for area student scholarships.

Bob played both the clarinet and the piano. He started playing the piano professionally at a very young age becoming the youngest member of the local musicians union. He was an avid musician who loved to entertain and led his band at the Morton House for over 17 years.

Bob is survived by his daughter Merrijo Grills Logan and son-in-law Christopher Logan, of New London; his son Timothy Grills and daughter-in-law Sheryl Basque Grills, of Niantic; and grandchildren Kristi Cook Galloway and her husband Gordon Galloway of Charleston, South Carolina; Jonathan Logan and fiancée Erica Miller, of New London; Megan Grills Ressler and her husband Timothy Ressler, of New London; Jacob Grills, of Niantic; and a great grandson, Emerson Logan. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Lee Ann Grills of New London, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, David and Mary Maria of Bonita Springs, Florida and many nieces and nephews across the country.

Bob was predeceased by his wife Valeda and his brother Donald Grills.

A funeral mass will be held at 1:00 PM on Friday, June 2, 2017 at St. Joseph Church on Montauk Avenue, New London. There are no calling hours. Burial will be at St. Mary's Cemetery immediately following the mass.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to The Kiwanis Club of New London, P.O. Box 333 New London, CT 06320; St. Joseph School Endowment Fund, 15 Squire Street, New London, CT 06320.

The Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 12 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT., is assisting the family with the arrangements.

To send an online condolence or to view Bob's online condolence, please visit





St. Mary Cemetery
600 Jefferson Avenue
New London, CT US 06320
Friday, June 2, 2017
St. Joseph Church
17 Squire Street
New London, CT US 06320
Friday, June 2, 2017


St. Joseph Endowment Fund
15 Squire St.
New London, CT US 06320
The Kiwanis Club of New London
P.O. Box 333
New London, CT 06320
Home    |    Request More Info    |    Send Flowers    |

Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home: 12 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT 06320 • 860-443-1871

Thomas L. Neilan & Sons East Lyme Funeral Home: 48 Grand Street, Niantic, CT 06357 • 860-739-6112

© Copyright  2010-2018 Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Homes  and FuneralNet®
Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Homes
Home | Request More Info | Send Flowers | Call Anytime: 860-443-1871
Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A life well lived is worth remembering.