My friend Marylou Crosby Wade, whose family suffered the agony and loss of their brother and son Capt. Herby Crosby when he went MIA in Vietnam in 1970, is with her family to mourn the loss of another American patriot and hero, her uncle Bob Crosby.
I’m thinking of Marylou and her family today, as they gather to say their final farewell to a man who risked his life to protect and defend our country. I hope you’ll join me in offering a prayer for Bob Crosby’s soul, and of thanks that we have men such as this. Thank you Uncle Bob. Rest in peace.
ROBERT EDWARD CROSBY
ROBERT EDWARD CROSBY, 92, a member of the Greatest Generation, died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in the arms of his loving family. Born Nov. 17, 1918, in Fort Wayne, he was the fourth of eight children of Edward Clark and Bertha May (Lantz) Crosby.He proudly served his country in World War IIas a member of the U.S. Eighth Air Force, 458th Bombardment Group, Crew 30. As flight engineer and top turret gunner on B24’s flying out of England and North Africa, S/Sgt. Robert Crosby was credited with a confirmed enemy fighter destroyed from the top turrent in April 1944.
Pilot David Manker, with whom Mr. Crosby flew 31 missions, later recalled one of many harrowing events, “We made it to our air base and landed with a blown-out tire making sparks fly off of the metal rim. We ran off the runway onto the grass where the plane stopped. Our engineer/top turret gunner, Bob Crosby, climbed onto the wings and he told me that he could see no gas in any of the tanks. We had used up all 2,700 gallons. We counted 67 flak holes in our plane. I still believe God had a hand in our making it back that day and all other days”.
Discharged as a Technical Sergeant, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four bronze Oak Leaf Cluster’s and a Merit of Valor.
He became a Carpenter Apprentice in 1939 and had advanced his way up to General Superintendant for Clarence Figel Construction Company, when his employer retired in 1962. In 1963, he founded R. E. Crosby Inc., General Contractor, contributing to the development of Fort Wayne in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s. He retired in 1986.
He was a founding member of the Fort Wayne Summit Club, a board member of Club Olympia, a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a member of the Mizpah Shrine. In later years, he and his wife enjoyed traveling and relaxing in their homes in Fort Wayne, Jensen Beach, Fla., and at Lakes James in Angola. However, their greatest joys were their children and grandchildren. He is deeply mourned by his children…