Robert (Bob) Eugene Bland passed from this life on April 29, 2016 in Eldorado, Schleicher county, Texas. He was born April 19, 1926 at home in Piedmont, Greenwood county, Kansas to H.C. and Sophia (Boswell) Bland. He attended Piedmont schools and graduated from Piedmont Rural High School in 1943. He took Normal school training during his senior year and became a certified teacher. After substitute teaching for one day, he decided that he should find another career. His mother felt he should continue his education and he enrolled in Butler County Junior College in nearby El Dorado, Kansas.
Bob’s education was interrupted by WWII, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the Naval Armed Guard in the Pacific Theater. He served aboard the Liberty ship, S.S. Francis Preston Blair. The ship ran aground in the Coral Sea, east of Australia on the Saumarez reef during a typhoon on July 15, 1945 and the ship remains there today. After three days surviving on ice cream, the sailors were rescued by walking across the reef to a fishing vessel. They were sent to Melbourne, Australia where they were preparing for the invasion of Japan when the peace treaty to end the war was signed.
When his military service was over, he enrolled in the University of Oklahoma to study engineering. While at OU, he joined the Acacia fraternity, serving as president for a year. He graduated in 1950 with a BS in Geological Engineering. During this college experience, he met Leota (Penny) Penwright. They married soon after both graduated in April of 1950.
They moved to Russell, Kansas where Bob went to work for Cities Service Oil & Gas Company. After two years, Bob was transferred to Great Bend, Kansas, then to Royalty, Texas after another two years. The next move was to Odessa, Texas, and then to Eldorado, Texas, where he took early retirement after 31 years with the company. He consulted for several additional years. He spent many enjoyable retirement years playing golf and travelling the world.
Bob served on the Schleicher County ISD and UMC boards for several years and was a member of the Eldorado Golf Club. He became a Mason in 1947, and held membership in the Howard, Kansas and Eldorado, Texas lodges. He was also a member of the Suez Shrine in San Angelo. He was active in the American Legion in Eldorado, Texas.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Penny, of Eldorado; son Mark (Jennifer) of Charlotte, NC; daughters Marian (Donnie) Overstreet of Devine, TX, Carolyn (Sammy) Williams of Plano, TX, and Frances Furry of Prosper, TX; sister Ramona Carpenter of Piedmont, KS; grandchildren David (Maria) Overstreet, Kati (Pacer) Holley, Lee Overstreet, Todd (Stephanie) Overstreet, Zack Furry, and Madison Furry; great-grandchildren Nyx Overstreet, Garrett Pardue, Dalton Pardue, Michaela Holley, Landry Holley, Willow Holley, and Ray Castro. Bob is also survived by special care-giver, Lizzy Fuentes.
Funeral services were held Monday, May 2, 2016 at the First United Methodist Church in Eldorado, Texas, with Rev. Jim Sweet officiating. Military honors and Masonic rites were held graveside at the Eldorado Cemetery afterwards.
Pallbearers: Danny Crowder, David Overstreet, Todd Overstreet, Lee Overstreet, Zack Furry, Garrett Pardue.
Honorary Pallbearers: Jim Lucas, Bob Lester, Dalton Pardue, Ray Castro, Jim Brame, Graham Dewhurst, Phil Bland, Leamon Tankersley, August Roden, Dee Williams, Rusty Culp, Masonic Lodge #90 of Eldorado, Bev McCormick American Legion Post of Eldorado.