Robert Douglas McWilliam

Robert passed into Heaven May 6, 2011 at the age of 79 years. Bob was born and raised in Woodland, CA and was graduated from the University of California Pharmacy School in 1954. He joined the Army and decided to become a helicopter ambulance pilot, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel. Robert was a member of the Solopilot Society whose members routinely flew hazardous missions (1952-1959) in underpowered helicopters lacking navigational aids and limited to external litter carrying capability. These pioneer aviators performed, unaided, all ambulance duties; pilot, copilot, medic, and crewchief. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, the last one as commander of the renowned 54th Medical Detachment in Chu Lai in 1967-1968. He had deep pride and appreciation for the men and their accomplishments.

Bob went on to become a hospital administrator with a Masters degree from Baylor University. He served in Europe and many areas of the US during his 30-year Army career, including his favorite three year tour in Hawaii. After retirement Bob studied art at UTSA and became a well-known kaleidoscope maker, showcasing his talent with hardwood and stained glass.

Bob and his wife of 54 years, Patricia, enjoyed traveling around the US and Canada, seeing new places and learning new things. Bob had a great fondness for the western mountains and he spent many summers backpacking and fly fishing in wilderness areas of Montana and whitewater rafting the rivers of the US and Canada. This was done with family and friends from his childhood, giving him much pleasure. Bob was a loving husband to his wife, Pat, and devoted father to his two wonderful sons, Michael R. and John D. McWilliam and his wife Donna. He loved spending time with his two grandchildren, Bailey and Michael, and had started to show them the delights of camping and rafting.

Bob was beloved by his family, his friends and by the men who served with him. He was always positive, caring and could find good in anyone. He readily admitted he had enjoyed a wonderful and fulfilling life.


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