US Air Force

Robert Howard

November 14, 2020


Robert G. Howard was born August 15, 1933 in Columbus, OH to parents Florence Swank and Harold Howard, and passed away peacefully on November 14, 2020 surrounded by his family.
Dad pursued the love of his life, Elaine, for five years before marrying her on July 29, 1956. They were married for 61 years before our Mom’s passing May 25, 2017. Dad is also preceded in death by his mother Florence, father Harold, and his sister Mary (Toots) Stewart.

Influenced by his future brother-in-law and best friend Air Force Colonel Frank Hamilton, Dad enlisted in the Air Force and trained to become a navigator. He was absolutely enthralled with flying and military aircraft and flew missions all over the world. He was stationed in many bases in the US and completed a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1967-68. During his deployment there he was assigned to the 39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron where he rescued Marines and downed pilots from the battlefield and refueled combat aircraft in flight.

Dad’s military career spanned over 22 years, spending 2 years (1951-1953) in the Naval Air Station located at Port Columbus, then serving 20 years in the United States Air Force before retiring in August 1973 as a Major. Dad was also awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his meritorious achievement and participating in this aerial flight. Dad completed 10,363 hours of flight time, an accomplishment he was very proud of. During his military career, Dad also attended school at the University of Omaha and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1966.

Dad had a very positive attitude and outlook on life, a Cup Half Full approach, despite a challenging childhood and seeing firsthand the horrors of the Vietnam War. Through it all, Dad enjoyed many things and pursued his talents as a cartoonist and artist, photographer and videographer, and piano player for his family and friends. He liked to tell jokes and stories and he absolutely loved aircraft and flying. The days of traveling by RV or flying the U.S. and other countries with Mom, Aunt Judy and Uncle Frank, or grandkids in tow were very special memories for Dad and were memorialized via the many family movies and photos, thanks to Dad’s efforts. But most of all, Dad was a wonderful Grandpa to his twelve grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Dad is survived by his four daughters, Sandra (Hubert), Kathy (Scott), Barb, and Cheryl (Mike); his sister Nancy, and niece Kristina (Matt); and lastly, Dad’s beloved cat, Walter.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Vitas Hospice of Columbus for their generous care and support during Dad’s last days on Earth. A Celebration of Life will be planned for a later date in 2021. Arrangements by DWAYNE R. SPENCE FUNERAL HOME, obituary written by Roberts family.

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