Robert Arthur Norman (Bob), 83 of Pinehurst, passed away on December 1, 2017 at his home.
He was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and spent his early years living on Sioux Indian Reservations while his father worked for the Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs. During World War II while his father served in the Navy, the family settled in Rye, New York where Bob graduated from Rye High School in 1953. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in International Relations with honors from Brown University in 1957. He was a member of Air Force ROTC and Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He received a Masters of Business Administration degree from George Washington University in 1977.
Upon graduation from Brown, Bob was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and attended pilot training. His first assignment was at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma as an Instructor Pilot. It was during this tour that Bob met his future wife, Christa, from Berlin, Germany, while she was working as an international stewardess for Pan American Airlines. To make up for her mistake of accidentally spilling coffee on his lap while on a transatlantic flight, he convinced her to leave her glamorous jet-setting career to become a military wife and move to Oklahoma! They married in November 1961 and took advantage of her Pan Am benefits to travel around the world on their honeymoon. Their daughter, Christina, was born in Enid in 1963. In 1964, he was sent as an advisor to the Republic of Vietnam working as an air liaison officer and forward air controller in support of the Vietnamese army and air force. The family reunited in 1965 and moved to England where he flew F-4s. The next 20 years saw multiple moves between the US and Europe with assignments at Fort Leavenworth, KS; Seymour Johnson AFB, NC; the Pentagon and Ramstein and Sembach Air Bases in Germany. His final assignment was as Deputy Defense Advisor to the US Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium. He served in the USAF for 30 years and retired in 1987 as a Brigadier General and Command Pilot with over 5700 hours flying hours.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, the family remained in Brussels where Bob headed the European office of E Systems and then Raytheon Industries. He and Christa enjoyed their years in Europe participating each year in the NATO Political Industrial Conferences which afforded them the opportunity to visit many of the beautiful countries of Europe. He retired from the industry in 2000 and they moved to Pinehurst, NC where he could indulge in his hobbies of tennis, golf, and flying his small airplane. Bob was active in the Military Officers Association, the Republican Men’s Club, Daedalians and the QB’s, two fraternal aviation societies. Robert was in charge of the MOAA Empty Stocking Fund for many years, providing Christmas cheer for many needy families in Moore County.
Robert’s pride and joy were his family: his daughter Christina, her husband Jeff and their three children: Katie, Stephanie and Caroline. Christina followed in her father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force and married an Air Force pilot. Bob and Jeff enjoyed many discussions about flying over the years. Katie became the third generation to join the military, commissioning in the Air Force upon her graduation from Creighton University. Bob encouraged and supported all the girls to excel in education and explore the world. Both Stephanie and Caroline joined in his passion for international relations and history graduating with those degrees from the University of Denver and Tulane University respectively. They all will miss their greatest champion.
He is survived by his wife, Christa H. Norman (nee Krafft); daughter, Christina Norman Thompson and her husband, Jeffery of Colorado Springs, CO; granddaughters, Katherine (Tokyo, Japan), Stephanie (London, England) and Caroline (Denver, CO); also survived by one sister, Carolyn Crenson and her husband, William of Omaha, Nebraska.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM at Boles Funeral Home in Pinehurst. Interment at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to MOAA- Moore County Chapter, PO Box 4205 Pinehurst, NC 28374.
To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Robert Arthur Norman, please visit Boles’ Tribute Store.
Online condolences: BolesFuneralHome.com.
Mr. Norman’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at Sandhills Sentinel.