Robert Best | Passages

POULSBO — Robert James Best, 73, passed away peacefully at home on July 14 surrounded by his loving family.

He was born in Crete, Neb. on February 9, 1939 and moved to the Panama Canal Zone at age two with his parents, Earle and Phyllis McGowan Best. He graduated from St. Mary’s School in Balboa, Canal Zone and Loyola High School in Los Angeles, California. He received a BS degree from Florida State University.

He began his employment with the Panama Canal Company in 1962 with the Locks Division; he was later a U.S. Customs Criminal Investigator, and retired from the Marine Bureau in 1995 as an ad measurer. Upon retirement, he moved to Poulsbo and worked as a consultant for the American Bureau of Shipping, where he enjoyed assignments in Alaska, Canada, Samoa and the U.S. West Coast.

Bob’s passions were his family and baseball. He was a member of the first Panama Canal Zone Little League team to travel to the states for the Little League World Series He was also an avid golfer.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Panama Canal Society, and he was an Lifetime Member of the Elks.

He is survived by his wife Ann of Pouslbo, Washington; daughters Patricia Cowles of Vicenza, Italy; Michele Best Miller (Grant) of Gilroy, California; and Shari Best Laterrade (Remy) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; sons Gregory Cowles (Jennifer) of Leander, Texas; and Dennis Cowles (Dena) of Haleiwa, Hawaii; granddaughters Casey Cowles, Kaylee Cowles, and Rebecca and Jacqueline Miller; sisters Patricia Aho of Phoenix, Arizona; Mary Mullen (Tom) and Joan Young (Ken) of Jacksonville, Alabama; and brother William Best of La Mirada, California. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant son, Robert J. Best, Jr. A Memorial Mass was celebrated July 27, 2012 at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Burial will be at the Corozal American Cemetery in Panama. Arrangements were entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home on Bainbridge Island. Online guestbook at

Donations in his memory may be made to local food banks or St. Vincent de Paul, St. Cecilia’s Church, 1310 Madison Ave. N, Bainbridge Island.



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