March 24, 1922 – October 21, 2017
Bob, also known as “Colonel” to many of his friends, was born in 1922 in Jacksonville, Florida, to Joseph ”J. B.” and Geraldine Wilson. His family moved to a farm in Trenton, Florida when he was a young child, and he grew up there. In October 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and went on active duty in February 1943. After attending Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. During World War II, he served as a bombardier on a B-29 crew based first in India and China, and then in the Mariana Islands during the airwar with Japan. His missions included flying “The Hump,” crossing the eastern end of the Himalayas. During the war, Bob also conducted a long-distance courtship of Ruby through his letters, and they married as soon as he returned to the United States. Bob remained in the military, serving 28 years in the Air Force and achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel. He served mainly with the Strategic Air Command plus tours as the base adjutant at Wheelus AFB in Libya and as a military adviser to the Republic of China (Taiwanese) Air Force. While serving, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.
When Bob retired from the Air Force in 1970, he and Ruby moved to the home they had built in Shavano Park, Texas. He had a 16-year second career at Ingram Manufacturing before fully retiring. Bob and Ruby were among the original parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and were founding members of the Church’s senior group, the Silver Stars. Last year, they moved to Austin to be closer to their daughters.
Bob is survived by his wife Ruby; they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary last December. He is also survived by their two daughters, Claudia Anderson and Charlotte Wilson and their husbands; two grandchildren Robert Anderson and Judith Jones; four great-grandchildren; and three brothers, Roy, Joe, and Milam of Trenton, Florida.
A Mass will be held at 11:30 am on Wednesday, October 25 here at St. Francis. A reception with a potluck meal will follow in Henke Hall.