Robert James Near, 21, of Granger passed away on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, while serving as a private first class infantryman in Afghanistan.

He was born Nov. 18, 1989 in Woodland, Calif. to Dale R. Near and LuAnn Scott.

When Robert was two years old his father Dale and he, moved back to the family cherry orchard in Granger. Robert attended the Granger School District from kindergarten through graduation from Granger High School in 2007.

In 2008 Robert left the farm in Granger to continue his education with the Nampa, Idaho Job Corps, where he excelled at his career choice of computer programming and repair. After his graduation from the Job Corps in March of 2009, he made the decision to enlist in the U.S. Army, where after his basic training he continued with his training in computer technology and also began additional training in satellite communication.

In April of 2010, he was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he remained until his death on Jan. 7, 2011.

Robert had a very positive attitude towards everything he was involved in, and that along with his intelligent mind made him someone who was going to make life as successful as possible, no matter what difficulties it offered. He is survived by his father, Dale Near of Granger; one brother, Kyle Scott; three sisters, Jennifer Amen, Teddy and Arial Scott, all of California; his grandmother, Elvira E. Near and fiancé, Jim Wertenberger; uncle Terry W. Near; aunt Cheryl L Gilson; uncle and aunt, Tom and Ayvonne Simon; cousins, Ashley N. Mackie and Amber L. Mackie (who were best friends with Robert growing up), Win Gertlar, Robin Simon and Fernando Torres; and good friend, Michael Blevins.

He was preceded in death by his mother, LuAnn; and his grandfather, Malcolm W. Near.

Robert's family would like everyone to know that we loved him very much and are very, very proud of the person he became. He, like all those like him who serve in the U.S. military, regardless of what they do, or where they are make America the great nation that it is. Although sometimes the cost seems extremely hard to understand and to accept, they still put their lives in constant danger fighting and protecting our United States. Thinking of these brave men and women serving in America's military, how could we not be proud of them.

Funeral services will be held Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at 10 a.m., at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside, will burial to follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside.

Those wishing to share their memories or sign Robert's on-line memorial book may do so at

Smith Funeral Home LTD and Crematory in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.


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