Robert Thomas Stolzle, Sr., died peacefully in his sleep on July 2, 2010. Born on June 26, 1919 he was 91 years and 6 days old and had suffered from the effects of Alzheimer's disease during the last years of his life. A memorial service will be held at Johnson Funeral Home on August 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM with a visitation starting at 2:00 PM. There will be food and drink at Linda and Alan Perry's residence following the service. Interment will be Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 2:00 PM at Pinehill Cemetery.
Bob Stolzle, the youngest of ten children, grew up during the Great Depression on the farm homesteaded by his parents in Woodlawn, LA. At the age of 21, following his dream to fly, and finding a magazine advertisement for pilots, he hitchhiked to Canada and was accepted as a student pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force on Prince Edward Island. Following a year of primary and advanced pilot training, he served a year as an aerial gunnery instructor. After flying off bases in Quebec and Newfoundland and officer training he was sent to Halifax, England in June 1943. He was transferred to the Army Air Corps (predecessor of the USAF) in November of that year and flew the P-51 fighter with the Red Asses Squadron of the Pioneer Fighter Group. He flew 129 combat missions in his plane, the Lula Christine, had three kills and was one of the advance groups flying out of France after "D-Day". He received the Distinguished Flying Cross with 13 bronze and 2 silver oak leaf clusters as well as a Purple Heart, two Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and several presidential unit citations.
After VE Day, Bob was a flight instructor in Panama City, FL and Las Vegas, NV. He married Inge Poppelbaum in 1948. She was a translator working for the Air Force and they had met in Frankfurt, Germany when he was visiting relatives after the war. They had three children, Rudolph, who died in infancy, Robert Jr. and Linda. Bob's love of family replaced flying and he raised his in Woodlawn close to his boyhood home. He was devoted to his children and enjoyed hunting and family vacations. Bob worked at Continental Oil Company's refinery and petrochemical plants in Westlake and retired from there in 1980. After retirement, Bob and Inge enjoyed traveling with family and friends throughout the western United States and helping with their grandchildren.
Robert Stolzle, Sr. is survived by his wife, Inge, a son, Robert Jr. and his wife Delaine, and a daughter, Linda and her husband Alan. He also has six grandchildren: Linda and Alan Perry's children are Jessica Perry Alderson and husband Seth, Kayla Perry Fairchild and husband Jude, and Alex Perry who all live in Florida, Michael Stolzle and wife Hayley, Amanda Stolzle and John Stolzle, Robert Jr.'s children, all live in Kansas. He also has nieces and nephews too numerous to mention living throughout the country.
He was very much loved and will be deeply missed.