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Robert F. Gates

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Robert F. Gates Obituary
Robert F. Gates LEBANON Robert (Bob) Franklin Gates, 94, died at Cornwall Manor on Sunday, January 12, 2014. Born in Durant, Okla., on August 31, 1919, to Wallace Wesley and Dora Albright Gates, he was the third of six children. Bob was drafted into the Army during WWll while he was at Oklahoma A&M College, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a pilot. Upon completion of pilot training he was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the Ferry Command delivering all types of aircraft throughout the US and overseas. He received the Air Medal for the first successful delivery of P-38 aircraft over the North Atlantic. Following this service he was assigned as Captain in the Air Transport Command flying C-54 transports from Wilmington, Delaware to the border of China. It was while stationed at New Castle, Del., that he met Jean Barr Howell, and married her on May 1, 1943. While in the service, he became interested in working to improve aviation safety, so upon discharge he moved his family to Kansas City, Mo., in 1945 and joined the Civil Aeronautics Administration as a Flight Operations Inspector assigned to supervise TWA. In 1949 he became Section Chief in Washington, D.C. for low visibility runway operations, which later moved to the FAA Technical Center near Atlantic City, NJ. During this time the family resided in Ocean City, NJ. His work continued for 20 years until his retirement from the FAA in 1972 when he received the prestigious FAA Achievement Award. In retirement he organized a consulting business, Gates Associates, which kept him busy advising on airport lighting systems for many domestic and international airports. After six years of consulting, Bob and Jean fully retired to Buck Hill Falls in the Poconos, where they enjoyed golf, tennis, lawn bowling and cross country skiing. After 20 years in Buck Hill they moved to Cornwall Manor. Bob was also a popular Explorer Scout Master and Sunday School teacher for many years. He sang in church choirs for over 75 years and also held several lay positions in various churches He was a devoted husband, and loving father having encouraged growth in arts and careers. He leaves behind Jean Howell Gates, 94 at the Health Center of Cornwall Manor; son, Henry (Jaqueline) of Cambridge, Mass; daughters, Virginia (Frank) May of Buck Hill Falls, and Elizabeth (Richard) Petrunis of Mays Landing, N.J.; eight grandchildren Sandra Cassel, John May, Joshua Gates, Jessica Makovsky, Erica Gates, Kristopher Gates, Evan Petrunis and John Petrunis; and five great-grandchildren, Mason and Gina Cassel, Makalya and Mila Gates and Ashley Makovsky; and two sisters, Della Craighead and Lois Lenz. He was predeceased by his eldest son, Robert Jr (Molly) a prominent documentary film maker from Charleston, W.Va. He was also predeceased by sisters, Rubie Bryant and Dora Mae Yates; and brother, Walter Gates. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, January 16, 2014 at the Cornwall United Methodist Church, Cornwall Pike & Alden Sts., Cornwall, with Rev. James Heath officiating. The family will receive visitors following the service. Interment will be on a later date at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville. The family requests in lieu of flowers that a contribution in the name of Robert Gates be made to the . Arrangements Entrusted to Porterfield-Scheid Funeral Directors & Cremation Services, Ltd., Lebanon. For further information contact 717-272-4634 or to submit an on-line condolence visit
Published in Lebanon Daily News on Jan. 15, 2014
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