Robert Franklin Bales

January 17, 1951October 16, 2013

Robert F Bales Jr. passed away peacefully at home on October 16th after a three year battle with effects from a stroke. He was born January 17, 1951 in Chattanooga TN. At the time of his death, he was surrounded by family and friends. Bob was a loving husband and father who always put the needs of his family ahead of himself and will be missed greatly.

He attended Brainerd High school and received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Bob proudly served in the United States Navy from 1977 through 1997, attaining the rank of Commander. After receiving his Aviator Wings in 1978, Bob was attached to Patrol Squadron 24 based out of Jacksonville FL. He received the Navy Expeditionary Medal for a United Nations peace keeping mission as Patrol Plane Commander of the P3 Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft that escorted Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat from Lebanon to Greece in 1982. Later as an instructor for Training Squadron 2, Bob received an award for over 1000 hours of accident free training in the T34 aircraft. His other awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation with Bronze Star, the Navy Sea Service Deployment medal with Bronze Star, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal. His last active duty station was NAS Milton FL and he retired from NAS Atlanta GA.

After retiring from the Navy, Bob became a Captain for American Airlines flying for over 25 years. During his career as an aviator, he piloted a number of aircraft including the T34, T44, P3 Orion, 727, 737, 757, 767and DC10.

He is preceded in death by his parents Robert and Elizabeth Bales, Grandparents Jack and Winifred Little, and sister Pamela Bales.

He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years Gail (Fickle) Bales and his three children: Scott and wife Buffy, Jill and husband Eric Brandon, and Patrick. Other survivors include Ralph and Peggy Fickle, Ken and Jan (Fickle) Hudgins, sister Carol (Bales) Hullander and her husband Jeff. As well as nieces and a nephew: Beth, Bryan and Eleanor.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, October 19th from 4 PM to 8 PM and Sunday, October 20th from 1PM to 3 PM at Chattanooga Funeral Home, North Chapel. The memorial service will be on Sunday at 3 PM. Interment to follow to Hamilton Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a memorial gift be made to the American Kidney Foundation ( in honor of Bob's kidney transplant in 2006. Arrangements are by the Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, North Chapel, Highway 153, Hixson, Tennessee 37343. Please share your thoughts and memories at


  • Visitation Saturday, October 19, 2013
  • Visitation Sunday, October 20, 2013
  • Funeral Service Sunday, October 20, 2013

Robert Franklin Bales

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Carl Mayabb

March 29, 2014

Bob was an awesome pilot, model Naval Officer & best friend! We fought the Cold War in our Patrol Squadron 24 P-3 Orions and shared life experiences that are impossible to describe. I'll never forget our times together as squadron mates and neighbors in Jax and Bermuda. He was a patriot to whom this country owes unending gratitude. Gail, please know that Sandy, Stephanie, Ryan & I are crushed by Bob's passing and are praying for peace and healing for you and your family. Carl & Sandy Mayabb

Bonnie & Mike Hearn

October 19, 2013

So Sad to hear about Bobby. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.I know he is at peace. Love you.

Denise Hughes

October 19, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family. Denise and Pat Hughes

Janice and Tom Bigger

October 18, 2013

Our prayers and deep condolences to the entire Bales family. Bobby now soars with the Angels! We love you!
The Biggers