American Aviation Historical Society


Robert E. Williams

1923 - 2003

Bob Williams held the position of managing editor of the Journal for twenty-four years and was the person who gave the Journal its current professional look and feel. Bob went West on July 18, 2003.

He was born in a small mid-western town in Indiana and married his high school sweetheart six months after her graduation from high school and three days before he entered the U.S. Army in December 1941. They raised six children during their life together. With Bob in the Army, Gerry followed him to each post until Bob went overseas in late 1944.

When Bob returned, he attended college at the Dayton Art Institute. During school breaks when the Gl Bill checks were not coming in, Bob found work as a sign painter. Gerry worked at various jobs to supplement the family’s income. After graduation, Bob concentrated on the sign business and bought an undeveloped lot, built a house, dug his own well, laid the foundation, plumbed, wired and finished this house. This was his approach to life, he did everything possible for his family, friends or employer.

Bob started his aerospace carrier working for the Air Force, Air Material command at Wright-Patterson, AFB, in Dayton, as an illustrator. Rising to supervisor by working on many key projects, but realizing the limitations of a civil service career, he decided to move to California to work for Douglas Aircraft Company where he worked for the next 30 years and forged many new friendships. When he started at Douglas there were C-124s, B-26s and the XC-133 in the plant . His first assignment was to furnish illustrations for the XC-133. For the engineering publications department he created the "Yesteryear..." series of articles on the history of Douglas aircraft that were published world-wide in the "Douglas Service" magazine that was distributed to all users of Douglas aircraft.

In the Spring of 1977 he took over the post of managing editor for the American Aviation Historical Society Journal and held that post for twenty-four years, producing close to one hundred issues and developing its style and increasing its professional quality. We at the Society are very proud of his work.

When he started with the Journal it was produced by hand, a long and protracted process and now, thanks to Bob the Journal is all done on the computer.

At the age of 74, Bob went back to school to master the computer. And master it he did!
Thus, he made the Journal easier to produce and at less expense.
He was steady, dependable, consistent, meticulous, and not flashy by any means.
He was self-sufficient and resourceful.
He was a great role model.
He will be missed by family and many friends.

Jim Turner, one of his many friends


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