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Robert L. Warren
(11/21/1920 - 09/10/2013)
The heart of a great man is now stilled forever, though his love, lessons and legacy will live on through many generations. Robert Lee Warren, 92, passed away on Sept. 10, 2013. He was born Nov. 21, 1920, in Elkhart, Ind., to Lee Roscoe and Lois (Walker) Warren. On March 14, 1943, he married Mary Margaret Jones, who survives, along with 10 loving children, 18 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, a sister, a brother and many adored nieces and nephews.
Bob came into this world in the early years of air flight, and its fascination never left him. Growing up, he and his brother Dick would spend all winter building model airplanes in the basement, only to sail them--firecrackers attached--in the spring over the St. Joseph River. When the resulting explosion took place, Bob and Dick were ecstatic, and Grandma was aghast.
Bob continued to build balsa wood model airplanes throughout his life, often giving them as treasured and cherished gifts to friends and family. Wherever he lived, his bedroom ceiling was often studded with his creations. With his brother Ben, he owned a Porterfield and a Piper Tri-pacer, until, of course, the 10th child came along.
Unfortunately, during World War II, Bob tried to join the military, but was denied due to health reasons. Undaunted, he joined the Merchant Marine and traversing Lake Michigan on an iron ore ship, transporting this precious metal for the war effort from the north to steel factories in Chicago and Indiana.
Bob was retired after many decades as a welder/pipefitter. When local work was scarce, he traveled the country to find work to support his family. For the last 10 years of his career, he and his wife and youngest child lived in Southern California, where he worked on the San Onofre nuclear power plant. After retiring, he returned to the family home in Elkhart, where he and his wife and children had lived since 1951.
Bob was a devout Catholic who let his faith speak through his actions. He never had a lot of material possessions, but he abounded in love for and from his family and friends. All knew him as a kind and generous man with a sense of humor that defined his spirit.
He also had the heart of a wanderer and loved nothing better than a road trip (or plane trip) to anywhere, particularly to airfields, air expositions, air museums, air attractions, air anything.
Everywhere Bob went, he delighted in making others feel good. With nurses and waitresses and store clerks and others, he would often ask, “How are you today besides beautiful?” That inquiry would never fail to elicit a smile and sometimes a hug. His family and friends are the better for having been a part of his life.
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