Mr. Robert 'Bob' VandeBrake
Mr. Robert "Bob" VandeBrake, age 86, passed away in Atlanta, GA, on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 after a long illness. He was a man of strong faith and good works.
Bob was born in Sioux Center, Iowa, and spent his childhood in the upper Midwest. He left home at the age of 16 to join the Navy during World War II "to help win the war" only to find that he was too young for induction into that service. However, he was able to join the Merchant Marines who were supporting the Navy during the war years from 1943-1945. As a result he was involved in key battles in the Pacific such as the Philippines, Okinawa, Tinian Isles, Saipan, the Marshall Islands, and New Guinea. After the war, he continued with the Merchant Marines and visited India and South America and was able to achieve his lifelong ambition to see the world.
Later, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he was assigned to the First Guided Missile Group where he trained to launch V1 and V2 missiles (previously captured from the Germans and under the direction of Werner Von Braun) and similar Nike, and Honest John missiles. This military training and testing took place in Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Proving Grounds in Nevada and New Mexico from 1950-1952 at the same time as nuclear underground testing was taking place.
Having roamed the world, mostly in warm climates, Bob was not content to work in a rock quarry in Orange City, Iowa, so he decided on a career in sales which would accommodate his love of travel. He met and married his wife of 58 years, Patricia, in 1955 in Omaha, NE, and together they moved ever southward having lived in Memphis, TN; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA, and finally Newnan, GA, in 1993 where he was employed with real-estate sales at SummerGrove and as the front desk greeter at Piedmont Newnan Hospital until the age of 82.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Mary Borgman VandeBrake and Lane VandeBrake; and three brothers, Russell, Irwin, and Marion VandeBrake. He leaves behind his wife Patricia "Pat" VandeBrake; four children, Cheryl Ivey of Newnan, GA, Kim Posten of San Diego, CA, Mark VandeBrake of Omaha, NE, and David VandeBrake of New Jersey; as well as seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Newnan, GA. The Rev. Stuart Green and Rev. Gary Parrish will be presiding. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob's memory may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America; the building fund of First United Methodist Church of Newnan; the Humane Society of America or one's favorite charity.
Higgins Hillcrest Chapel, Newnan, 770-253-4723.