~ IN MEMORY ~
Military veteran WA/DL Capt. Robert W. Spielman
June 15, 1937 ~ February 25, 2018
Word has reached us with the passing of retired Western/Delta pilot Captain Robert William Spielman, age 80. Captain Spielman joined Western Airlines 04-07-1969 and was based SLC. He is survived by his wife Debbie, their children and grandchildren, plus many dear friends and aviation colleagues. All obituary and available information appears below.
For those wishing, personal condolences may be sent to the family at
250 River Bend Drive, Reno NV 89523-9515.
You may also contact son Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Carol for the PCN
Obituary and service information ....from son Mike Spielman email@example.com
Dad's ceremony (not to be confused with a funeral which he was adamantly against!) is to be held:
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.
Reno Air National Guard
1776 National Guard Way, Reno, NV 89502
Reception immediately following at the SANGA (Dad's all time favorite bar on the National Guard grounds)
Please forward this to all friends and family as I do not have everyone's email.
Colonel Robert W. “Bob” Spielman glided away from us on February 25, 2018. Born June 15, 1937 and known lovingly as “Spiels,” “Chukar,” “Dad,” and “Jiji,” he left a deep imprint on the lives of everyone fortunate enough to have crossed his path. He was an adventurous man with an infectious laugh and boundless energy.
Born with a playful spirit in South Windsor, CT., son of the late Arthur and Agnes Spielman Sr., he graduated from Ellsworth Memorial High School and Trinity College where he first experienced flying. His “addiction” to flying was made possible by “borrowing” $7 from his mother’s wallet to fly for an hour at the local airport. Bob went on to proudly serve in the United States Air Force flying F-100 Super Sabres and then his favorite fighter, the F-105 “Thud” Thunderchief in Fukuoka, Japan where he met his lifelong love and future wife of 54 years, Debbie. His most memorable mission in Vietnam was the bombing of the Doumer Bridge in Hanoi, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also earned the top graduate from the Nellis Air Force Fighter Weapons School.
After the Air Force, Bob spent his career flying for Western Airlines, flying F-4 Phantom IIs for the Nevada Air National Guard, and finally retired from Delta Airlines in 1997. Never one to stay on the ground for long, he embarked on a 25-year journey flying gliders as a member and former club president of the Nevada Soaring Association. He shared his enthusiasm, expertise, and experience with pilots from around the country and has been recognized with the prestigious Glattly Award for his involvement in glider flying. He also broke many regional and national soaring records.
The FAA presented Bob with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying. Shortly after, at the age of 77, he can be vividly remembered floating from the sky above downtown Reno in a blue parachute after his glider’s wings snapped off, earning him yet another nickname, “Lucky Bob.”
Bob was also an avid outdoorsman, and most content chasing chukar all over Nevada. He taught his family a love of the outdoors and an endless sense of adventure. He can also be remembered wood cutting, skeet shooting, feeding wildlife, laughing out loud, and having an unbridled enthusiasm for life.
Bob’s family meant the world to him (when there was not good soaring conditions). Just last week, he looked at Debbie and remarked how beautiful she was and how truly lucky he was. He is survived by his children, Michael married to Aiden Gould and Kimi married to Mike Riter; grandchildren Evan, Kita, and Kaia; siblings Arthur Spielman Jr. and Janet Prior, and many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Nevada Air National Guard on March 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. All friends and family are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bob’s honor to the Jim “”Billy Goat”” Hayes Youth Soaring Scholarship Fund. http://www.airsailing.org/fundraising2017.html (Click on the bottom “Donate” button and write “Chukar” in the “what is the donation for?” box. ) Checks can be mailed to Ty White, Treasurer ASI, 5973 Kolb Ranch Drive Pleasanton, CA 94588.
With eternal gratitude for your love and friendship for him,
Kimi and Mike
Robert W. Spielman
Preferred Name: Bob
Nickname/Call Sign: Spiels
Date Of Birth: 06-15-1937
Highest Military Grade Held: Lt. Col, O-5
Hometown: South Windsor, CT
Trinity College 1955-1959
USC Safety School 1964
Fighter Weapons School F-105 1966
1959-1960 Primary – Spence AB T-34, Basic – Laredo AFB, TX T-33
1960-1961 Luke AFB, AZ Nellis AFB, NV – F-100
1961-1963 36TFS Itazuke AB, Japan, F-100
1963-1965 334th TFS Seymour Johnson AFB, SC F-105,
1965-1968 35, 36, 80 TFS Yokota AB, Japan, F-105, F-4, (they couldn’t make up their mind.)
1966 TDY 354TFS Takhli AB, Thailand F-105 (Of 5 TDY pilots from Yokota, Art Mearns MIA, Vic Viscarra and Bob Keller rescued)
1967 TDY Takhli AB, Thailand F-105
1968-1969 434TFS George AFB, CA F-4
1969-1997 Western Airlines/Delta Air Lines (WAL hire date 04-07-1969)
Feb. 26.....From: Wallybird eNews Subject: Passing of WAL/DAL & Wallybird Captain Bob Spielman
It is with great sadness that I pass along the information from chief Pilot Tim Tobin.
Sadly, our good friend and former WAL pilot Bob Spielman passed away Sunday morning from a heart attack. Please spread the word.