Obituaries » Robert L. Wallick
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April 3, 1921 - June 5, 2016
Robert (Bob) L. Wallick, 95, of Big Horn, WY passed away on Sunday, June 5th in a Denver, CO hospital, surrounded by his loving family. He was born on April 3, 1921 in Lebanon, Missouri.
Bob was a true Renaissance man and an inspiration to his family and many friends. He developed a passion for flying and golf at an early age and became a pilot at the age of 16. A natural innovator, he turned his family farm into a golf course and earned his high school spending money while managing it. In high school he was a track star and won a national music contest in Denver, Colorado. Bob attended Drury College in Springfield, Missouri on a music scholarship and majored in art and music. While in college he married Ellen Coonrod. They had two children and were later divorced.
Bob logged 20,000+ hours as a pilot with an Airline Transport Pilots license and A&P Mechanic license. Throughout his life he left a legacy wherever he landed, creating new ways of approaching any problem. During WWII, he worked at Curtiss Wright Corporation creating airplane maintenance programs and teaching military employees. Because his role was essential to the military, he was not drafted into the Army until after the war in 1945. There his talents were discovered and he was assigned to creating airplane maintenance training camps in Germany. After his time in the Army he returned to the United States and started an airplane maintenance business in Springfield, Missouri and then moved to Wichita, Kansas to work for Boeing Aircraft from 1949 to 1960. He created and supervised the Technical Data Section that crafted the flight and maintenance manuals for the B-47 and B-52 bombers, he also created the artwork for the military aircraft proposals. After establishing these systems at Boeing he found a way to get back into the air. Flying was his first love so he began to ferry airplanes for Boeing on his time off and on weekends. Bob made the first general aviation flight across the Pacific in 1960 flying a Cessna 310 to Tokyo to an aviation fair. The FAA challenged him with a gross weight violation because of the need to carry extra fuel over the Pacific. This resulted in a change in regulations to allow ferry flights to carry the needed extra weight. He finally resigned from his job at Boeing and began his adventurous 28-year flying career ferrying small airplanes around the world.
Bob’s true adventures started when he married Joan Claassen Ford in 1963 and they began their 53-year partnership living in Big Horn. Bob and Joan’s travels took them around the world to Israel, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France, Africa, Bangkok, England, Philippines, and Belize. On June 2, 1966 they set off on their round-the-world flight in a Beech Baron beginning and ending at Manila in the Philippines and set a world record with 5 days, 6 hours, 16 minutes (6 minutes more than Bob’s estimated time of arrival). Bob died during the 50th anniversary of this legendary trip.
He served on the Wyoming Siting Council, making decisions about whether to allow industries into sensitive areas of Wyoming. Bob and Joan were two of the many founders of the Powder River Basin Resource Council. During this time he flew many officials around the state to view the damage that strip mining was causing to the valley streams. Through the lobbying efforts of many, they were able to stop this practice.
As a Renaissance man, Bob played many roles in his 95 years: artist, pilot, golfer, innovator, teacher, manager, avid birder and photographer, movie lover, mechanic and he knew how to build and fix almost anything. He was a devoted husband, father and friend during his 95 years and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Bob is survived by his wife and the love of his life Joan Ford Wallick, his son Robert L Wallick, Jr. (Cathie Wallick), daughter Kay Wallick (D.J. Purcell), daughter Anne Montgomery (Robert Montgomery), daughter Dr. Sarah Wallick (Aaron Denberg), and grandchildren Lee Wallick Richmond and Will Wallick, and great-granddaughter Dakota Wren Richmond.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Powder River Basin Resource Council, 934 N. Main, Sheridan, WY 82801.
A memorial to celebrate Bob’s life will be held on Sunday, July 10th at the Big Horn Woman’s Club at 5 p.m.