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Robert "Big Bob" SMOUSE

1924 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Robert "Big Bob" SMOUSE Obituary
SMOUSE, Robert "Big Bob"
Robert "Big Bob" Smouse
September 2, 1924 - March 27, 2015

Perhaps the kindest, most caring and honorable man that ever drew a breath took his last one after 90 and half years leading a life brimming with world travel, service to his country, marriage to an extraordinary woman, adoration of his children, love of countless friends, and recently frustration as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

"Big Bob" lived life as large as his big heart. Adventures to the Mediterranean, Europe, Mexico, Alaska, and nearly every other state. (Bob loved him a road trip!) Fishing trips to the Texas coast and the Northwest with his BFF, Mark. Bob loved to fish for bass and was an accomplished angler, active in local bass clubs and tournaments for years. He owned 14 boats in his lifetime, each named "Miss Ole 1 -14" after his one true love and wife, Ole.

Bob found two things irresistible; anything chocolate and his beloved wife of 42 years, Ole. It was love at first sight when he saw her perched on top of a picnic table at a party and said to a friend, "I am going to marry that woman".

In recent years, Bob satisfied his travel appetite with frequent jaunts to out-of-state casinos. Morning swims at his gym and neighborhood pool provided his favorite opportunities to socialize with others. He had a special talent for striking up a conversation with anybody anywhere. Fortunately, he was also an enthusiastic story teller so the listener was never bored.

Bob was unabashedly sentimental -especially about his pets, Fritz and Jackie Boy. They will miss his lap and his treats, affectionately known as "Bob fat."

For such a peaceful, easy-going man, Bob saw a lot of battle action. At 17, he joined the US Navy after Pearl Harbor. As a Navy signalman he participated in the African campaign battles of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, the Italian campaign battles of Salerno and Anzio, then from England to Normandy as part of the initial D-Day landing on Utah Beach, then finally finishing the war in the Pacific in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the war, he re-enlisted in the Air Force. He retired as Master Sergeant after 20 years of service. He continued to serve society as a City of Austin employee for an additional 20 years before retirement.

He truly personified the finest traits of "The Greatest Generation." One of the proudest milestones of his life was his participation in an "Honor Flight" to Washington, D.C. in 2013.

Bob will live on in the loving memories of his family; daughters Bobbie Burks, Gina Burks, son Bill Burks and wife, Cindy, grandchildren Eric Burks and his wife, Deva, Carl Burks and his wife, Leah, great-grandchildren Nova, Ronin, Ryker, and Reagan, as well as extended family members, Janice Hilscher, Dr. Laura Waltrip, Paula Wells, Anne Vexler and the Butland clan.

Special gratitude and appreciation to Mark, Natalie, and Christopher Butland for their support and care before, and during, his brief illness.

His burial service will be Friday, April 17, 2:45pm at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. Celebration of his long, well-lived life will be Saturday, April 18, 5pm at his home on Cliffstone Cove in Travis Country.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Fisher House Foundation for service members (https://www.fisherhouse.org) or Puppies Behind Bars, an organization that raises service dogs for wounded war veterans (http://www.puppiesbehindbars.com/home). And next time you're near a body of water, say a toast to Bob.

Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam.
Until we meet once more, here's wishing you
a happy voyage home.

Anchors Aweigh, Big Bob!
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 12 to Apr. 13, 2015
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