VisitationHutson Funeral Home, Steelville, MO
Steelville, Missouri 65565
Robert “Bob” Charles Tash of Steelville, MO was born on Sunday, January 4, 1953 in Richmond, IN to Eldon Tash and Geraldine Maines Tash. He passed away at his home at the age of 66 years, 8 months and 10 days.
Bob’s family moved to Pinellas Park, FL when he was in junior high school. Through academic excellence, (he had a Mensa IQ with a near perfect SAT score) Bob qualified for early graduation with honors from Dixie Hollins High School in St. Petersburg, FL and was at the top of his class; but, he was not allowed to attend the commencement ceremony because he was suspended from school. As a class assignment, he was tasked to write a protest debate paper about the Vietnam War. He did such a good job on the paper that it was published in his school newspaper and the St. Petersburg Times, gained local and national attention, which resulted in a lawsuit with the ACLU representing him. This event also resulted in an article being published about him in the June 1971 edition of Playboy magazine.
Bob received his Draft Notice into the Army during the Vietnam War so he immediately went to the Navy and Air Force recruiting offices. He enlisted in the Air Force the same day. Bob entered the US Air Force in August 1972. Initially, he was trained as a Combat Medic. He was later transferred to the dental service unit. He trained as a Dental Technician and worked at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX as an Expanded Duty Dental Assistant. He was then assigned to work at McKowen Dental Clinic treating fellow servicemen and their families. He was also assigned to treat returning POWs who were badly beaten in the face. Bob never talked about that assignment until his final days. He carried the memories of the injured deep inside all of those years. Next, he was promoted and fast tracked through officer training school. Again, he graduated top of his class as was affectionately known to classmates as Captain Kirk. Upon receiving his commission, he was assigned as the Executive Officer of one of seven USAF Airborne Command posts.
Bob’s EC-135 Command Post was part of the famed Looking Glass and Able Archer missions. During this wartime effort, one EC-135 was always airborne 24 hours a day to serve as flying command post for the Joint Chief of Staff in the event of nuclear war. Bob’s squadron was always on alert and could be in the air within 4 minutes of the arrival of the battle staff. His team supported CINCLANT (Admiral and Senior Officer Battle Staff from all branches of service). Missions were typically 13 ½ hours at a time and his primary flight pattern was over the North Atlantic. Their mission was to provide communication from the United States President throught the Joint Chief of Staff to the U.S. fleet and to initiate nuclear action if necessary.
Bob continued as Executive Office for two years. During that time he was one of two officers in the entire USAF that were awarded the USAF Commendation Medal for Outstanding Achievement.
Bob’s next assignment took him to Calumet Air Force Station as Squadron Commander of a radar base in support of the Air Defense Command. This station was located in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Again, the mission revolved around nuclear defense against Russia. During this assignment Bob was once again awarded a second USAF Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.
Finally, in 1983 Bob resigned his Commission due to a pending assignment in Iceland and the inability to take his family to the underground facility. Bob had married Kathy Richie and were wed for 17 years, to this union a son, Shawn, was born and Bob adopted Kathy’s daughter, Shannon.
Civilian life included caring for his family while working in Indiana. Bob joined his brother Tom at Beldon Wire and Cable as a Statistical Process Engineer. He later became one of the nation’s first Novell Certified Network Engineers while leading his own company, T2 (T-squared) Software. (The “2” represented him and his son Shawn)
In 1983 Bob and Kathy divorced. Bob returned to Florida and began working as a Statistical Process Control Manager for Siegel-Robert Company in Pompano Beach, FL. Bob was soon tasked with establishing a statistical control system at all seven Siegel-Robert factories, with the main plant based in St. Louis, MO. This is where Shelly enters his life. Shelly received a puppy for her birthday from her brother Dave. She named the dog, “Bob.” Unfortunately, little Bob was so wild that she and the dog were kicked out of the best obedience training program in St. Louis. Shelly posted a message on the local internet site trying to find someone to help train little Bob. Bob Tash replied with, “Who in the hell would name their dog Bob?” After several weeks of online feuding over names, Bob and Shelly decided to meet to discuss little Bob. The rest is history.
Bob and Shelly were married in St. Louis on May 16, 1998. They lived in Pompano Beach, FL and Bob worked as a Systems Analyst for Florida Power and Light. Shelly joined the US Coast Guard Auxiliary to learn about boating because Bob kept taking her out in their boat on ocean voyages and repeatedly threated to make her drive it home or swim.
Soon Bob’s love for all things aviation returned. He started a business called AirShow Man and began creating and producing vintage and defense asset air shows across South Florida. His most notable show was the 2003 Pompano Beach Air Show, which was named one of the top 10 Best Warbird Air Shows in North America. And somehow through some old connections, Bob arranged for Air Force One to do a low runway fly-over at the air show in Fort Pierce, FL.
Bob’s shows were attended by thousands of aviation enthusiasts. Many people came to see the vintage warbirds, noted celebrities (General Paul Tibbets, who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima; Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter; and Double Ace General Frederick “Boots” Blesse), the precisely choreographed air aerobatics and shows. Every show as a success and a lot of work. When asked about the enormous production effort needed to put on an airshow, he would always answer, “When the weight of the paper equals the weight of the plane, it’s time to have a show.”
In Bob’s spare time, he meticulously restored MGB sports cars, fished the Atlantic Ocean, and restored a 1969 Camaro which he now passes on to grandson Easton Charles Tash. He also devoted time to his favorite church, Atlantic Baptist Church in Margate, FL. He served as Chairman of the Deacons at ABC. Bob formed a special friendship with Pastor Belford at ABC. The two men became true brothers in Christ and found support in each other’s wisdom and sarcasm. Bob said that Pastor Belford would always be “his Pastor.”
In 2006, Shelly accepted a job with Home Depot Corporate. In one day, they sold their home and moved to Orlando, FL. It was here that the first effects of Bob’s illness became pronounced. He was diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension by his doctor and good friend, Dr. Daniel Layish. Bob was immediately placed on medical disability and he gave up his full time employment. Since his prognosis was only 3-5 years to live, he and Shelly started making plans to return to Missouri since he was a man of his word and promised her father at their wedding in 1988 that he would return her home.
Bob drafted their building plans and sketched the plans of what would be their new home in Steelville. He supervised each building phase remotely from Florida until the couple were able to move to Missouri in 2012. Then the hard work began, Bob acquired every wood working tool he could find. He finished the interior by himself with a few hired hands. The building project was difficult for Bob, his failing health was both a hindrance and a source of encouragement. He HAD to finish Shelly’s house on the hill. He said it was his last project he would ever do, so naturally Shelly kept adding things to the list. In April of 2015, the house was finished and like being in queue, Bob’s health began to decline. As he said, “Well, I finished the job.”
Between 2016-2018 Bob continued to fish, restore the family’s 1949 Case Tractor, garden and watch the deer play in the yard. His health continued to decline, but his outlook remained positive. He was at peace with his life and his God. He vied every day past the original 3-5 year prognosis as a “bonus day.”
In November of 2018, Bob and Shelly embarked on a two to three month winter get-a-way to Victoria, TX. The trip resulted in a 77 day hospital stay throughout Texas and Florida and took 8 months for Bob to recover enough to make the trip back to Missouri. He just wanted to be at Huzzah with Shelly, sitting on the front porch. It was there on the porch that he found closeness to his Creator. Bob hated needles. So to divert his attention during the blood draws, he would warn the nurse that he was going to sing. He always sang the Air Force Song, which always made the staff chuckle.
Bob was first and foremost a Christian man, saved on February 28, 1974. Bob loved his Savior Jesus Christ, his family, friends and airplanes. He was a complex man, highly intelligent and talented. He served his country with honor and distinction. His word was his bond.
In his final days, he only worried about Shelly, Shawn, Kaitlyn and Easton.
He told Shelly that no matter what happened, he wins. He either gets promoted to the front office (heaven) or he gets better. Either one is a win.
He was preceded in death by his parents Eldon and Geraldine Tash; grandparents Charles and Lola Tash; sister Patricia (Richard) Marshall; nephew Ricky Marshall and brother-in-law David Zachritz.
He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Shelly Tash of Steelville, MO; children Shawn (Kaitlyn) Tash of Riverview, FL and Shannon Tash of Indianapolis, IN; grandsons Caleb Tash of Indianapolis, IN and on the way Easton Charles Tash of Riverview, FL; brothers Thomas (Betty) Tash of Richmond, IN, James (Ann) Tash of Connersville, IN and Ronald Tash of Polk City, FL; father-in-law Sheldon Zachritz of Cuba, MO; uncle Clark Baker of Cuba, MO; aunt Rita Stulce of Steelville, MO; nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Visitation was from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at Hutson Funeral Home, Steelville, MO. Funeral Service immediately followed at 12:30 PM with Pastor Bob Belford of Weaverville, NC officiating. Burial was at Sanders Huzzah Cemetery, Steelville, MO with full military honors. Memorials were suggested to the family.
Music played was Amazing Grace, Trust & Obey and the Air Force Song.
Pallbearers are Shawn Tash, Jimmy Marshall, Dwain Moses, Mark Johnson, George Seidl and Stanley Seidl.
Arrangements under the care of Hutson Funeral Home, Steelville, MO.
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