Robert Lee Peckham
January 21, 1924 – June 28, 2020
ROBERT LEE PECKHAM passed away on June 28, 2020, He was 96 years old. Born in Horton, Kansas on January 21, 1924 to Orville and Thelma Peckham. They moved to Colorado when Robert was age 7 where he was raised.
Lived in several places in Colorado, but always seemed to end up in Colorado Springs. He graduated from High School in 1942. Six days after graduation and Six months after Pearl Harbor Robert was sworn in the US Navy. Served about 3 years during WW2. He trained as a radio operator and aerial gunner. First duty station was at Ford Island Hawaii about a year after the attack. Rode the rear seat of aircraft towing targets for the fleet and patrolling the Hawaiian Islands. He then was transferred to another squadron (towing etc) and went lo Guadalcanal in the Solomons. From here they flew all over the South Pacific providing towing for all who asked and they could accommodate, including Anny coast defenses. Was sent for temporary duty to a dive bomber squadron for about 3 months and aboard the carrier Yorktown, (second one commissioned ' 1943). And then back to Guadalcanal when regular replacements came in. He was discharged in I945 and returned to Colorado, attended the University of Colorado, and re-enlisted in the Navy in 1948.
Robert retired from USN in 1965 in Hawaii and worked for Bendix Field Engineering on Johnston Isl. on the Navy's Pacific Missile Range. Maintaining and operating tracking radar. Bendix lost the contract and was transferred to NASA's Deep Space Instrumentation Facility at Barstow, CA.(in 1966) He was promoted from antenna driver to crew supervisor at the Mars station. Operated and maintained one of the largest tracking antennas in the world, 210 feet in diameter. He worked on such projects as Surveyor, Apollo, Pioneer, Mariner and Viking. His crew was working and tracking Apollo 13 when they had their "problem". They were the only antenna in the world at the time that could receive a signal from them and could tell that the crew was alive. (Bccauscour antenna was so large they had better sensitivity). Very fascinating job. Bob qualified for the job because of training he had received from the Navy.
Bob moved back to Colorado Springs because of a job offer from RCA as electronic logistics for the dew line contract. But before it got started he moved to Tennessee and held several jobs and on one of them learned to fly and received a license. The company then moved Bob to Colorado Springs to open a branch. Bob continued flight training on the GI Bill and got up to lnstnnncnt Instructor.
He moved to Wichita, Kansas to work for Beech Aerospace as an instructor. Taught Avionics black box trouble shooting on all Military aircraft that left the factory. An FAA certified mechanic went with each military aircraft that left the factory for maintenance. He later bought a Cessna 150 and leased it to Benton Airport, he also taught flying with it himself. When the owner of the airport got ill, he offered to sell Robert the airport for a down payment of a 5 acre lot at Falcon Airport near Colorado Springs.
They then bought a mobile home and moved to the airport. He had a contract to patrol power lines. He especially enjoyed the patrols because he got to (legally) fly even with the tops of the poles. Sometimes he had to fly up to get over the hedgerows.
Eventually, Bob sold the airport and moved to Cedar Park TX where Bev did a lot of volunteer work and painting.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cagemillsfuneraldirectors.com
- Cheryl Sensing, Daughter
- Niki Eckis, Daughter
- Julie Crofford, Daughter
- Scott Peckham, Son
- Rhonda Oxford, Step-daughter
- Dana Thurman, Step-son
- Rocky Thurman, Step-son
- Denise Crosby, Step-daughter
- Bob also leaves behind several grandchildren, nieces, and nephews to cherish his memory. . .
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Robert Lee Peckham
July 6, 2020
RIP BOB. I REMEMBER DRIVING THRU PECAN ORCHARDS STOPPING AT LITTLE STORE AT STAHMANN FARMS GETTING ICE CREAM THEN GOING TO GET SOME MEXICAN FOOD IN MESILLA. GOOD TIMES!