Robert William Allardyce
1922-2013 PITTSFIELD Robert William Allardyce, 90, of 16 Churchill St. died peacefully Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at his home surrounded by his family.
Robert, known as "Bob" to his friends and family, was born in Sacramento, California, on September 23, 1922, son of William R. and Addie Wilmot Allardyce.
He graduated from Oakland (California) High School in 1941 and completed an Airplane Engine Mechanics program at the National Youth Administration Vocational School in Sacramento. He graduated from the CAL-Aero Technical Institute in 1946.
Following vocational school Bob was as an airline mechanic at the Sacramento Air Depot at Plane Haven, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in December 1942 and became a flight engineer on B-17 and B-29 aircraft in the Pacific Theater as part of the 6th Bombardment 39th Squadron 20th Air Force in the Marianas. Bob flew photo reconnaissance and bombing missions over Japan from the U.S. base on Tinian Island. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Master Sergeant on Dec. 4, 1945.
After the war Bob married his first wife, Maxine, and lovingly raised two children, Pegi and William. With his second wife Barbara, whom he married in 1974, he raised two children, Dagan and Kimberly, in the Berkshires.
Following World War II he worked as a commercial airline flight engineer and international relief officer, first for Trans Ocean Airlines and then Trans World Airlines (TWA). Bob retired in 1985 after 32 years with TWA. Most notable of the various aircraft Bob flew were the Lockheed Constellation, the Boeing 707 and the Boeing 747.
As an investigator of aircraft crashes, Bob was recognized as an industry expert in navigation and aircraft controls systems. The highlight of this work was an 11-year investigation into the 1983 Korean Airlines Flight 007 tragedy. In 1995 the two-volume book "Desired Track" by Bob and coauthor James Gollin detailed their research and position on events precipitating the passenger aircraft's destruction by a Soviet fighter jet. The work inspired the made-for-television movie "Shootdown."
Bob fought for human and labor rights. As a union leader he was instrumental in securing fair salaries and worker protections for flight engineers of major airlines in the early 1960s. Bob also trained the first African-American flight engineer in U.S. commercial aviation history. Bob's TWA retiree business card reads: "Goodwill Ambassador," a testament to his personality.
An avid reader, intellectual and writer, he contributed frequent letters to the editor and opinion columns to the Berkshire Eagle.
Although his life experiences and accomplishments could fill a novel, Bob's true love was spending quality time with family and friends. A caring and thoughtful father, he gave first priority to children and family at home, traveling, camping or attending sporting events. He touched many people's lives with his love and sense of humor.
Bob leaves his wife, the former Barbara J. Ziehlsdorff, whom he married June 1, 1974; two daughters, Pegi Allardyce of Hayward, California, and Kimberly Allardyce-Moon of Kailua, Hawaii; a son, Dagan Allardyce and his wife Annemarie of Waterbury Center, Vermont; a granddaughter, Isla Allardyce; nieces and nephews on the West Coast; as well as his dog, Ziggy.
He was pre-deceased by a son, William Robert Allardyce, who died November 24, 2008.
FUNERAL NOTICE: A celebration of Bob's life will be held at the Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield, Massachusetts on Sunday, July 28 from noon to 5 p.m. Readings and remembrances will be held at 2. All who knew Bob are welcome.
To help the family plan accordingly, please email email@example.com if you intend to join the celebration.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on June 30, 2013