Colonel Robert W. Fish was born on 30 May 1917 in Gladwin County, Michigan, the third child in a family of seven children. In 1923 his family moved to Ohio where he was educated in rural Ohio elementary and high schools. In 1939 he joined the Army Air Corps and was trained as a pilot. He served his country for thirty years as a pilot officer. In addition to pilot training, he graduated from the Air Tactical School, the Air Command and Staff school and from the National War College. He taught in both the Air Tactical School and the Air Command and Staff school. During his thirty year military career he served in many command and staff positions throughout the Air Force. Twelve of these years were spent at high headquarters in Washington D.C. For two years, he served as Military Attache to the Nationalist Chinese government at Taipei, Taiwan. From civilian institutions he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a major in Industrial Management from Ohio State University, and a Master's of Arts Degree, majoring in International Relations from George Washington University. He is retired from the United States Air Force as of February 1970. Since his retirement he has produced a book entitled "They Flew By Night " which chronicals the activities and history of the Air Force Group which he commanded during World War II. In 1970, he established his retirement home on the shores of Falcon Lake at Zapata, Texas and became active in the preservation of the history of the Zapata area. His first endeavor resulted in a Preliminary Index to the Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in Zapata County. This product was quickly followed by a paper on Jose Bernardo Maximiliano Gutierrez de lara. This paper entitled "A Zapata County Hero" was produced for the school children of Zapata County. A subsequent paper entitled "The Flags of Zapata" identifies each of the fourteen flags that have been used to claim jurisdiction over the Zapata County area. Simultaneous with the publication of this paper he launched and promoted the formation of the Zapata County Sheriff's Mounted Posse to carry the fourteen flags in formal parades throughout south Texas. His latest historical endeavors have resulted in the recording of the family histories of many of the descendants of the original Spanish land grant settlers in the area that is now Zapata County, Texas. These histories are an on-going endeavor. He was preceded in death by his parents Ethel Bevis and Amon Emil Fish, brother Garold Fish and sister Isabel Coleman. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jean Young Fish, sisters Mildred Shoup of St. Charles, Mo. and Dortha Miller of Marion, Ohio, brothers Carl Fish of Delaware, Ohio and Paul R. Fish of Whitehouse, Ohio and nieces and nephews. He was a life member of the National Rifle Association. Las Bexareños Genealogical Society, The Huguenot Society, Languedoc Chapter, the Order of Daedalians, Stinson Flight, The Air Force Association and the Military Officers Association of America. Services will be held at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at 9;00 A.M. on Thursday 23 Oct. 2008. The service will be conducted by Rev. Vivian Young Kinnear.
Published in San Antonio Express-News on Oct. 22, 2008.