Passages: Capt. Robert Morrison Wampler
September 8, 2008 · Updated 1:23 PM
Capt. Robert Morrison Wampler was born on April 8, 1920 and raised in Bloomington, Ind. Bob passed away peacefully at September House in Friday Harbor, Wash. on Aug. 30, 2008.
Bob was a pilot throughout the golden age of aviation. A B-17 and B-29 flight instructor during WW II, Bob was also a pilot during the Berlin Airlift as well as being an aircraft commander of the first C-54 into frozen Greenland in support of the Defense Early Warning line as a member of the Colorado Air National Guard in the 1950s. Bob was the recipient of the USAAF Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross.
Bob retired from Continental Airlines in 1980 after 34 years where he flew DC-3, CV -240/340/440, DC-6, DC-7, VC-700/800, B-707, B-720, B-727, B-747 and DC-10. As a pilot with Continental, Bob also flew Military Airlift Command flights into Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict, at times encountering enemy ground fire while landing at Bien Hua and Da Nang.
Bob also flew as senior captain with Continental's subsidiary, Air Micronesia. Bob landed at Honolulu in a DC-10 30 minutes before his 60th birthday, the FAA mandatory retirement age for pilots, thus ending a brilliant flying career.
The consummate outdoorsman, during Bob's life he enjoyed trapshooting, camping, farming and sportfishing. Bob also owned a salmon gillnetter based out of Friday Harbor, Wash. Bob was a life member of the NRA and was a member of the American Legion and Elks.
Bob is survived by his sister Evelyn Cone of San Marcos, Calif.; his children, Capt. John Wampler of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Susan Wampler-Bryant of Friday Harbor, Wash., Nancy Melbourne of Mount Vernon, Wash., and Tom Wampler of Maple Falls, Wash. Bob also had four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Bob was preceded in death by his father, Roland, in 1974; his mother, Malloy, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1996; and his brother, Glenn, of Bloomington, Ind., in 2001.
In his last selfless act, Bob donated his body to further the research into the cause and remedy of Alzheimer and Parkinson's Disease.
To quote the last line of "The High and the Mighty" by Ernest K. Gann,
"So long ... you ancient pelican."
— Family of Robert Morrison Wampler