December 05, 2020, 09:32:15 pm

Col. Robert L. Vawter

Started by ironputts, June 03, 2020, 03:57:48 pm

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June 1, 2020

Col. Robert L. Vawter
Wing Headquarters
Delaware Wing

Col. Robert L. Vawter
("pore ole Bob"), at the age 90, of Middletown, Delaware, and formerly from Ojai, California peacefully passed away on Monday, May 4, 2020 in the comfort of his home.

Born in West Plains, Missouri on August 19, 1929, Robert's parents were John Blaine Vawter and Mable Jane Vawter. Bob attended grammar school in Ojai, Ca. where he also graduated from Nordhoff High School. He also attended Ventura Junior College in Ventura Ca. Bob never stopped learning, attending Delaware Technical College throughout his employment with the Refinery and then near his retirement he received his pilot license. Bob then joined the Civil Air patrol in June of 1987 as a mission and orientation pilot. Bob attended Search and Rescue school in 1988 at Governors Island, NY. Through Civil Air Patrol he attended education seminars in Aerospace in Las Vegas in 1993 and another in Aerospace 1994 in Los Angles Ca. Bob also went to National Staff College Maxwell AFB, AL In 1995.

Bob was preceded in death by Donna Jean Vawter, wife of 65 years, and his daughter Katherine (Kitty) Lee Vawter and his grandchild Charlotte Helga Raysor.

Bob met his wife while working as a truck driver for an orange farm in Orange County, Ca. where she was a picker, they were married in Mexico in January 25, 1947. He joined the Tidewater Associated Oil Co. in 1950 and worked as a roustabout in the oil fields. Bob came to Delaware to help with the building of the Tidewater refinery in Delaware City in 1956. Bob held just about every job at the refinery with his last position being the Refinery Superintendent. Bob retired in 1991 with 41 years of service.

Bob was an avid Yankees fan, baseball and softball player. In Nordhoff High he was their number 1 pitcher and was recruited to the New York Yankees minor league system. He gave up his dream to become a major league baseball pitcher to support his family. With his employment through the oil refinery he joined Fast pitch softball, winning numerous regional and national championships he pitched well into his forties with one-year pitching 105 games with one loss and that was a complete game no hitter. Their team played exhibition games against the King and his Court - Eddie Feigner.

Bob also raised and sold Appaloosas (an American breed of horse) and at one time was the president of the Appaloosa Association of Delaware for many years. He was also what is known as a gentleman farmer. He worked hard baling hay and straw, also planting crops of soybeans and corn to support his hobby of horses.

Bob and Donna were travelers. When he first retired, they took trips all over the globe. They visited almost all of Europe from the London bridge, Eiffel tower, ruins in Greece, Leaning Tower of Pisa, bulls running in Pompeii, and countless other places. Along the way they visited Australia and were the first tourists to be allowed to visit China where they led a group tour in May 2002. They visited all 50 states including Alaska where Bob got his license to land seaplanes.

Bob joined the VVV Association (Vawter/Vaughter(s)/Vawter) shortly after it started in 1977; they hold a yearly gathering at a different location across this fine country. He enjoyed getting to know these distant cousins and their fellowship. Bob once held the position of President of VVV Association from 1984-1986, along with several other positions. He attended the gatherings religiously every year that he was able to until his medical limitations no longer allowed him to attend the last three years. The real fun would begin after the main meetings in his or Judge Fred Wickers' (MS) room. They both had a sharp wit, memory and life experiences to fill many hours of social gathering. Cousin Senator Roger Wicker (MS) and the Judge will have to carry on without Bob and his nephew Garry Vawter who also passed away recently.

Bob took the same dedication that he had in his employment to Civil Air Patrol. He held many positions in the Wing CAP from Senior member, Director of Communication, Orientation Mission pilot, Mission Observer, SAR/DR, CD, Mission Coordinator, CN Observer, Emergency Services Master, Mission Check Pilot, PAO, Flight Line Officer, Counter Drug Enforcement Officer, Colonel and Delaware Wing CAP Commander from January 18, 1997, to January 26, 2002. Through working for the DEA Counter Drug Task force in searches for illicit drugs on the Delaware coastline and on land he was well respected by the officers that he worked with. CAP is also set up search and rescue missions from aircraft to boats that Bob led and participated in many missions to locate and help rescue a countless number of people on their worst days. Through Civil Air Patrol Bob met many politicians along the way. Many of them were flying on missions from oil spills to coastal storm damages. He also went to Washington DC. to advocate for Delaware Wing. Delaware Wing was once a small player in the field to one that now leads the way in the region. There are countless politicians on both sides of the isle that considered Bob a friend and advocate for our small state getting many bills and laws passed, from Vice President Joseph Biden, Senator Thomas Carper, Senator William Roth, Senator Ted Kaufman, Governor Pete du Pont, Governor Mike Castle, Governor Dale E. Wolf, Governor Ruth Ann Minner, Governor Jack Markell, Governor John Carney and the Honorable M. Jane Brady - Superior Court Judge. If any of his friends were missed, we apologize to one and all.

Bob was inducted into the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame in June of 2000 and received his certificate of membership in 2011. Bob received the Congressional Squadron Civil Air Patrol certificate of appreciation in 2000 for the Counter Drug Program from Senator Tom Harkin - IA. In January of 2008 he received the Commander's Accommodation Award for Outstanding Duty and Performance from the National Commander of CAP for his service from August 2003 to September 2007, and again in 2015 he received this award for his service from September 11, 2011 - June 7, 2014. He received the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award for Community Service in November 2005 from Richard C. Cathcart - Rep. 9th District. While with the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Free Masonry he received his 32 degree in April of 2005. Also, in 2005 Bob received the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award from Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Lt. Governor John C. Carney Jr. In 2006 Bob was Middle East Region CAP Government Relations Officer of the year. In 2007 he was awarded the International Peace Prize from the United Cultural Convention. Dr. Ben Carson gave him a Certificate of Appreciation. Bob was immensely proud to receive two Presidential Voluntary Service Awards, one from President George W. Bush in 2005 and then again in 2009 from President Barack H. Obama.

Bob is survived by daughter Rosemary E. Raysor and husband Charles, son Robert L. Vawter II and wife Linda, and daughter Jennifer Lynn Vawter. He has also Survived by grandsons Charles (Chucky) Raysor and his wife Candice, Robert L. Vawter III and wife Amanda Mae, J. Jesse Vawter and fiancé Naeisha Palmer, and Malachi Mathias Vawter, granddaughters Amanda Lynn McGriff, Amanda Louise Vawter, Samantha Gruber and her husband John Gruber and numerous great grandchildren. His housekeeper/caregiver and dear friend of the family Margaret (Peggy) Lewis, his many friends and to his surviving relatives in California we send our thanks and appreciation.
Greg Putnam, Lt. Col., CAP