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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Robert “Bob” Eugene Smith, Sr, USAF (Retired)October 10, 1930 – July 18, 2018
Robert (Bob) Eugene Smith, Sr, 87, of Lakeway, passed away on July 18, 2018.
Bob was born Oct 10, 1930 in Paola, KS to Floyd Andrew & Emma Lucille Smith. His early years were spent in KS moving to CA at age 9. He spent his youth in Yuba City, CA graduating from Yuba City High School in 1948, where he was class president his senior year. As an Eagle Scout he earned a badge for flying. He flew out of Mooney Field in Marysville while in High School. Right after high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force at the age of 17, where he was a member of the Air Force Band. During his time at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX he met his first wife, Frances White, and had his son, Glenn.
Bob returned to CA and attended Yuba College, then transferred as a music major to San Francisco State University, where he was a member of the ROTC. In September 1956 he married Joann Evelyn Paxton in Yuba City, CA. Together they had 5 children. He was commissioned as an officer in the USAF in 1957. His years as a pilot, training pilot, and rescue pilot took his family to many locations around the US and in the Pacific. During the Vietnam War he was stationed in northern Thailand. As a Jolly Green Giant pilot, he (with his crew) flew rescue missions over northern Vietnam and Laos, retrieving downed B-52 crews and jet pilots. He retired in 1973 and moved with his family back to CA where they settled in Nevada County. Eventually, he moved back to the Yuba City area, taking a job as the Veterans Affairs Officer at Yuba College in Marysville, CA.
After retiring he traveled extensively with his partner, Virginia Bromley. Together they enjoyed traveling with their truck and trailer, visiting family and friends across the country and in foreign locations. Bob enjoyed trying foods in the different environs, amassing a large collection of locally produced cookbooks from their travels. He settled in San Antonio in the early 2000’s where he built a community of friends and continued to travel until his health limited him from going too far from home. During the final weeks of his life he was attended to and surrounded by all his children at varying times. He died peacefully and is well loved. His charisma, charm and sarcastic wit will be missed.
He is survived by his children: Glenn (Linda) Smith of Horseshoe Bay; TX, Robert (Adrienne) Smith of Ovilla, TX; Donald Smith, of Hailey, ID; Karen Platner (Tim) of Sacramento, CA & Kathryn (Kay) Clarke (Ken) of Castro Valley, CA; His sister Julia Compton of Baltimore Maryland and his brother Michael Smith (Mary) of San Francisco, CA and an extended family that includes 8 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his parents Floyd and Emma Smith and infant daughter, Mona Lyn Smith.
A private family memorial service will be held at a future date in California. Memorial donations can be made for Retired USAF Major Robert Eugene Smith, Sr. to: https://www.fisherhouse.org
Arrangements entrusted to Cremation Advocates by Putnam, 206 Avenue H, Suite 204, Marble Falls, Texas 78654. (830) 798-8413.
~ GUEST BOOK ~
July 21, 2018 at 8:31 amHe was an awesome person and will be missed!~Robyn Rivers
July 31, 2018 at 3:10 pmI am saddened very much to hear this. I considered Bob as one of my dearest friends and thought of him often. We trained together to go to Udorn and spent a year flying the Jolly Green Buff. We completed our tours about the same time (Aug -Sept 1969) and returned to Eglin AFB as H-53 Instructors. I last saw Bob at the 2017 Jolly Green Reunion. Both of us had missed several reunions and I got him to come to that one so we could get together. Bob appeared to be in good health then and I was surprised when we talked after returning home and Bob told me that he drove alone, nonstop, from Fort Walton Beach back to San Antonio. Bob was 86 at that time. What saddens me the most is that I have frequently thought of Bob and meant to call him but kept thinking “I’ll do that tomorrow”. So sad! I waited too long!~Jerry Jones