Lt. Col (Ret) Robert C. Mennell, Bob to his friends and family, died in the early hours of the morning on March 15th in his beautiful blue room at Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, NC. His son Tom, his daughter Bonnie and his loving wife of 69 years Alice gathered around him in gratitude for his finally being at peace.
Bob was born in New Brighton, PA on April 9, 1921. A master mechanic and machinist, Bob was fascinated by engines beginning with his early years as an avid motorcyclist who owned his own Indian motorcycle shop prior to serving in WW II as a B-24 Liberator Bomber pilot in the 98th Bomb Group in Lecce, Italy. This continued throughout his many years as a career Air Force officer: as an instructor pilot in B-24s and B-29s stateside during the remainder of the war, as maintenance officer and B-29 flight instructor with SAC after the war, as commander of various squadrons of the Air Rescue Service in the US, England and Germany; as Chief of Maintenance in the 1611th Air Transport Wing at McGuire AFB; and prior to retirement in 1965, a tour in Vietnam as Logistical Plans Officer at the 2nd Air Division Headquarters in Saigon. He then began his second career as a Sr. Pratt & Whitney Technical Representative specializing in military jet engines at Patuxent River Naval Air Test Station in Maryland, fully retiring in 1993.
Bob loved to figure out how things worked and was a man with the skills to create, to repair and to re-purpose just about anything—going beyond engines and planes into children’s go carts, antique furniture, lighting fixtures and wiring, window installations, faucets and plumbing, decks, boat ramps, appliances, etc. His children’s houses are blessed with the many gifts of this life-long interest and talent. His life in the military and with Pratt & Whitney also took Bob and his family around the world and throughout the US and that has had an incalculably positive impact on all of their lives.
Bob is survived by his daughter Bonnie Mennell and her husband Paul LeVasseur of Putney, VT; his son Tom and his wife Sharon of Monroe, NC; his son Robert and his wife Ann of Yorktown, VA; a granddaughter Ashleigh Mennell Dering and a grandson Vincent and their families of Denver, CO; a niece Connie Mennell Baker and family of Beaver Falls, PA; a nephew Dale Mennell and his wife Laurine and family of The Villages, Florida; also the loving members of the Poe family (Carol and Tom; their children Alison, Jeffery, Amy and their families) and his dear wife Alice who will continue to reside at Carol Woods, Apt. 5115, 750 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514. A gathering to honor and celebrate Bob’s rich and long life will take place later in the spring.
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Bob was predeceased by his parents Lester and Marie Mennell and brother Ed and his wife Millie of Beaver Falls, PA.