Robert Villafana

Robert Luis Villafana

Wednesday, May 5th, 1943 - Thursday, September 14th, 2023
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Please share your favorite memory of Robert to be included in a special keepsake book for the family.
Robert L "Luis" Villafaña, a deep-sea and SCUBA diver with the US Army during the Vietnam era and later a senior international furniture sales executive who retired in 2008 after an entrepreneurial sales career of over forty years, died of complications from prostate cancer on Thursday, September 14, 2023 in White Stone, Virginia, his retirement home since 2002. He was eighty years old.

Luis was born in Hamilton, Bermuda, where his father piloted ships. After graduating from Mount St. Agnes Academy in Bermuda, he studied at the University of Maryland and subsequently enlisted in the US Army. He was commissioned, trained by the Navy as a diver, and served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969, commanding a dive team of ten. Among other military decorations, he was awarded the Bronze Star medal.

Upon his discharge from the Army, Luis entered the furniture business,where he remained for the rest of his professional life. After working for Ethan Allen from 1970 to 1981, he established his own firm and entered upon a long and highly successful career in international sales.

He and his wife, Georgine Sandelli Villafaña, met in high school in Bermuda, and married in 1964. They ran their company together until Luis retired, after which they moved to the Northern Neck of Virginia. In retirement, Luis enjoyed long trips on his motorcycle, traveling the world with his wife, target shooting, and touring Israel with his longtime friend. He re-established contact with his Vietnam divers and sought to assist them with numerous issues relating to the Vietnam conflict and veteran support.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Georgine; daughters Christina of Norfolk, VA and Danielle of Chesterfield, VA; son Marc of Falls Church, VA; brother Allan of Utah; and three grandsons. Luis was preceded in death by his parents, Lillian Petty Villafaña of Bermuda and Pedro José Villafaña of Cienfuegos, Cuba.

A funeral mass, followed by burial, will be held at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Kilmarnock, Virginia on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, and to celebrate Luis’s lifelong love of animals, donations to Northern Neck Partners for Pets ( would be much appreciated.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Thursday, September 21st, 2023 | 11:00am
    Thursday, September 21st, 2023 11:00am
    St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church
    154 East Church Street
    Kilmarnock, VA 22482
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church Cemetery
    154 East Church Street
    Kilmarnock, Virginia
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event

    Online Event

    About this event

    In Loving Memory Of

    Robert Villafana

    May 5, 1943 - September 14, 2023

    Look inside to read what others have shared

    Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.


We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Robert here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

No video recorded.

Private Condolence

Mitch Miller

Posted at 08:24pm
As a child, Tintle Rd in Butler was a wonderful place to grow up. It was a paradise for a child. A beautiful wooded street surrounded by thousands of acres of woods that you could get lost in for hours on end.
It was a time when a neighbourhood was a magic safe place that consisted of neighbours who cared for and looked out for each other. And for each other's kids. As a kid, you knew all of your neighbours and they knew you. There were chilly Halloween nights, 4th of July picnics, and neighbourhood gatherings. Christmas lights, snow-filled days and nights, playing hide and seek on a summer evening while stopping to catch a lightning bug. But also, as a kid, if you did something wrong, your parents knew it by the time you hit the front door. Paradise isn't always perfect, but this was close.

Mr and Mrs Villafana and the girls lived in the house on the corner of Tintle Rd and Stony Hill Crt. You couldn't go anywhere down that road, from where we lived without passing their home. The Villafana's were one of the wonderful families that made our street a little slice of paradise. Mr Villafana (AKA Luis, AKA Robert) would always wave and smile or take the time to talk to me. And though I was just a boy, and it may have just been a boy's perspective, I do believe he inspired my father at one point, to grow a mustache.

Luis was also the guy who got my parents a great deal on the Ethen Allen dining room furniture that adorned our formal dining room. A shrine-like room that we were only allowed to go into on holidays. Sitting at that Ethan Allen table was an honour reserved for Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas. Perhaps Mother's Day and Father's Day, but the others were certainly the big three.

Luis and Georgine also gave me my first big paying job... babysitting the girls, Christina and Daniel. Lovely girls, that were always asleep by the time I got there. In truth, it was me, the family dog, TV, and snacks. The easiest money I ever made.

A kind, gentle, caring man with a wonderful sense of humour and a smile. A good family friend. That is the way I knew him and will always remember Luis. And as with all good people, this world was better because he was in it and will be less so with his passing.

Hooroo, old neighbour, old friend. Thank you for watching over me, and taking the time for me when I was a child. Thank you for helping to make our neighbourhood a special place. It was also better because you were in it.

Christina Villafaña Dalcher Posted at 07:32pm

Dear Mitch,
There’s no competition, but this is one of my very favorite notes. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it.

We did indeed grow up in a magical time, and your thoughts took me right back there.

All good wishes to you and yours, and thank you for remembering Luis with such affection.

Hilda Miller

Posted at 03:37am
Harold first met Luis in the late 60's while driving upTintle Rd. in Butler. Luis was working in the yard of their new home 3 houses down from ours, building a stone wall. Harold never passes anyone without stopping to say "Hello." Especially while they are working in their yard building anything from stone, because Harold loves stones and became a great stone mason.

After that encounter the two became friends, and when we became aquainted with Georgine we became fast friends in a neighborhood that seemed to nurture friendships.

Over the years when Georgine had one of her famous best Christmas parties in the world, Harold and I could talk all night with Luis and Georgine after the other guests went home, and at times we found ourselves leaving at 5:00 a.m. because there always seemed to be facinating stories, and of course, Luis's famous jokes he was so good at telling. As a matter of fact, when Luis and Georgine drove all the way to Bend, Oregon to visit us in September 2019, we were still telling him how we laugh when we think of him telling his "Washy Washy" joke. So that opened the door for more of the same. He was a master at it.

The stories of his traveling to sell Ethan Allen furniture over seas was intriguing, as well as hearing about their world travels together was fascinating to us who hadn't traveled much at that time in our lives. When I think of the time when they visited Bora Bora and stayed in one of the few little huts with thatch roofs perched over the water that seemed so exotic, lovely and quiet, it was like out of a fairy tale that a resort could think to do that.

I certainly don't feel it would have been as wonderful of a trip if they waited until recently to go there with what it's like now with so many of those little huts sticking way out over in the water in the same resort. I am thankful they were probably some of the first to exerience it with all it's charm and privacy, and glad we were able to listen to their experiences during their travels and where they stayed with families in farm houses or other quiet places out of the way of hourds of tourists and big hotels

Our oldest son, Harold Jr., became aquainted with Luis when he was about 12 when Luis was driving his motorcycle out of his driveway while young Harold was going fast on his bicycle by the bottom of their driveway and skided and almost fell. Luis made certain he was Ok and then talked to him about riding his bike safely and slower down the hill.. After that when Harold Jr.saw Luis in his yard, he liked to stop and talk to him because Luis gave him good advice and would converse with him.

We had no idea how much Luis loved to drive his motorcycle/motorcycles, and how many miles he drove in the USA and abroad, until we would receive Georgine's Christmas letter telling us where he, and at times with his son in law Paul with him, had driven.

What a great relationship that was for the two of them. So many memories together. Very special for Paul now, I'm sure.

Luis did something very special for us when we were ready to have new dining room and bedroom sets.

He used his know how to secure beautiful Thomasville furniture for us, with added pieces, for such a low price it was unbelievable. So much so, that when they arrived at one of the furniture stores Luis did business with a little way from us, he called Harold immediately and told him to pick it up as quickly as he could because the Thomasville furniture factory burned down about the time it arrived, and the furniture store owner where it was shipped wanted desparately to buy it from Harold because he wouldn't be able to get any again. He even tried to purchase it as Harold and his brother were taking it to the truck. They never rebuilt the factory or Thomasville furniture again we were told. So the store owner was right to want to purchase the beautiful sets and crystal chandelier Luis secured for us. Thomasville was well known top quality furniture in our country and built in Greenville, N.C. where almost all furniture was made in the 60's and 70's where Luis went to choose furniture for his Ethan Allen clients and other furniture after going into his own business with Georgine.

Luis also brought home curios and lovely items the furniture stores would use for photo displays and then discard them, so Luis would purchase them and let us see them and buy some from him. When he and Georgine visited us in Bend, OR. in 2019, Georgine was srprised to see the sleek placemats with the lovely red and pink peonies on them I put on the table for our meal together. She said "I still have mine and use them a lot, and I still have gifts you gave me, Hilda." What a surprise. If she had stayed with us in the guest bedroom she would have seen some of the curios, like the beautiful mother elephant with her baby with the Ethan Allen logo on the botom, and the little Hummel soldier boy they gave to our young son Eric for his bithhday one year, and others.

December 3, 1978 Harold and our son Mark moved to Maui after we sold our home on Tintle Road in September, to find a place for us to live before I arrived January, 7, 1979 after I closed the sale of our house. Withn days they located a new cottage for Harold, me , Eric, age 7, and Carol Mae, age 4, and a studio in thebrand new home in front where Mark, age 19 and Mitchel, age 16 moved. By February we had already purchased our property, and Harold and the boys started building almost immediately. Mark already had a job with an electrician who lived down the street from our rentals and Mitchel had registered in High School. Both worked with Harold every night and weekends to help get the house built.

We were only in the rentals a very short time when
Luis came for a visit. While conversing with our son Mark, he suggested that he may be interested in becoming a furniture salesman like him, and suggested Mark go with him on his next sales trip to Japan and see what it was all about, which Mark did. Almost immediately. I can't recall if Luis left and Mark followed, or Mark left from Maui with Luis a day or so later. I just remember Mark being in the studio aparment after he came back, because his clothes and other things were strewn all over the apartment after he went to work or somewhere the next day. However I can forgive that after his time in Japan and probably running right away to see his new girlfriend with the gifts he brought her from Japan.. I still have a couple of the delicate set of 7 day gold bracelets he purchased for me on his trip with Luis.

There is one thing I absolutely remember of Luis by us on that trip before they left for Japan. It was when Georgine called one evening and Luis had the speaker phone on so we could all converse. When I heard her say to Luis "I have something to tell you," that didn't sound like bad news the way she said it, so jokingly, without hesitation, I blurted out "SHE'S PREGNANT ! " Totally out of nowhere. Then Luis shut the speaker phone off for her to tell him in private what she wanted to say, and I could tell when we saw Luis's face in major surprise, that what I said was probably true. Sure enough, when he put down the phone he said quietly "She's pregnant."

5 years later when their entire family came to visit us we all got to meet the 5 year old in that converstion. His name was Marc Villafana and he was as cute as a little boy could be.

Beside how cute he was, I remember that he was facinated with Eric who was 12 by then. Eric was standing in front of the sofa looking down at Marc while talking to him about something, when Marc simply looked up at him and said "Eric, you're booful." Booful was how he said it, and I can still hear that adorable word and remember how he looked while looking up at Eric and saying it every time I think of that visit with the family.

I also remember we only had a work van and took the family in it while they were sitting in sand chairs to show them the back side of Haleakala that looked like a moonscape when we first moved to Maui, but no matter how long we drove we couldn't locate it. IWe found out later that it was no longer like that because it had rained a lot and unknown to us, it hadn't rained in 7 years on that side of Haleakala so grasses and bushes had already grown over the shiny black lava we had seen that went from the top of the mountain into the sea.

What troopers Luis and Georine were to put up with sitting in sand chairs in the back of a van flopping around and sliding across the floor at times. Who else would do that??

What I recall of Christine and Danielle is how much our children enjoyed them being at our house and swimming and playing with them in our back yard, and one day all of them touching the 3 fluffy baby wild ducklings in Carol Mae's baby pool Harold Jr. Incubated day and night like a mama duck sitting on her eggs.. Then visiting us on Maui when they were older, and Carol Mae and Danielle could appreciate going to the ocean and jump the waves with the older ones.

All of those memories and more started when Harold stoped to talk to Luis that day.

Luis was a good friend, husband, father and grandfather. A veteran who was willing to do all he could to defend our freedom whether it was popular at home to be fighting in Vietrnam or not. Whether our young men and women should have been in a country so far away for what many felt had no purpose for the USA being there, or not. Then so many being treated so badly, and many treated like outcasts for having listed or going when their names were called, at a dark time in our history,

What we do know, is that people like Luis went because their country called and they did the job they were asked to do because they loved their country and their freedoms, and believed those precious gifts may be lost if they didn't do their duty to defend them. No war is ever right. But the men and women who fought in them for what they believed in, were all right, and all heros to go through what they did.. No matter their roll or how dangerous it was.

Thank you Luis for your part in that war. Thank you for being a good friend. Rest in Peace knowing you did all you could to fight your own private medical war for so long.. What you went through may actually help another man one day soon.

Your friends,
Harold and Hilda Miller


Christina Villafaña Dalcher Posted at 07:35pm

Dear Mr and Mrs Miller (or, Aunt Hilda and Uncle Harold),

My, how the years march on. Thank YOU for being such good friends to my dad. Thank you for the Fourth of July parties, and the crazy road trip to Hana, and the little recipe book you gave me all those years ago (which is STILL my little recipe book). Most of all, thank you for being unforgettable neighbors and friends.
Much love,

Tom Brown

Posted at 10:24am
My Good Friend Luis.

Almost thirty years ago, while working for La-Z-Boy, I met Luis and despite his initial grumpy persona, we hit it off and soon became close friends. Despite me being on the other side of the Atlantic, we managed to meet up whenever possible and have remained in contact ever since.

As part of my job, I had the great privilege of working in the US alongside Luis at all the High Point markets as well as traveling halfway around the world with him, mainly on my part to figure out his amazing ability to continually outsell everyone else.
The answer was simply this - he loved his wife Georgine and their family above all else and worked as hard as possible to provide the very best for them all.

Luis was an extremely loyal man who would never let a friend, colleague, or customer down, and he genuinely cared for the small group of backup staff in Monroe who ensured that his loyal customers out there would always receive the very best products available and the best possible service he could provide.

He was a great man and a true friend who will be sadly missed by me and all who knew him.

God bless you Luis, and rest in peace.
Tom and Rose Brown

Mark Miller

Posted at 05:02am
I grew up in Butler NJ in the same neighborhood with Luis, Georgine and their children. It was a great neighborhood (with BBQ's, pool parties and holiday get togethers) during a great time in our country and my life. After my family moved to Maui in 1979, Luis invited me in 1981, as very young man (all of 21 years old) to accompany him on one of his business trips to Japan, Hong Kong & Macau. What an experience! Having only ever been on an airplane one time previously (the day I moved from Butler to Maui) I certainly was not a world traveler by any stretch of the imagination. None of that mattered though, because I was with Luis, and he knew how to travel and experience far off places like no one I ever knew. What a great experience for a "wide eyed" innocent kid from rural Butler, NJ and Maui. He showed me places that most people will never experience, treated me like a man (as much as I could muster up) and introduced me life altering foreign beers and foods that I never thought I would ever eat (and haven't since). Thank you Luis. You made a difference and I am grateful and better for the experience. ALOHA!!!!

Mark Miller

Joni Gerweck

Posted at 08:04am
Luis and I worked together for several years, he was the International sales rep and I was the customer service rep for his accounts. We worked well together, and Luis always made me feel appreciated. His work ethic inspired me, he did everything with gusto! But more importantly, he was kind, he cared deeply about his accounts and the people, he was always fair. I enjoyed seeing him at Market, going to dinners, what a personality! His jokes, his travel stories, his laugh, all made him a very special person. We kept in touch after our respective retirements. Luis was a friend of mine.
He knew that he had a wonderful life and always told me to enjoy every day, each day is a gift, enjoy it all. I am reminded that on the last day of his last Market, he wrote on the bulletin board in huge letters: LUIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING! My husband and I visited he and Georgine at their lovely home in November of 2020. They were so kind to us, we had a wonderful time. Luis introduced us to a drink from Bermuda: The Dark and Stormy. Rum from Bermuda and Ginger beer. My husband and I made this drink upon hearing of Luis' passing and toasted him in the sky. I do know that Luis loved his family, his country and animals. Thank you Luis for being my friend, I will see you again, on the other side. Cheers!

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