Col. Robert G. Kissling Jr., Ret. USMC, passed away peacefully at home on April 14, 2012. Robert was born on March 2, 1942 to Robert George and Helen Baugher Kissling in Milwaukee, WI. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and Memphis State University School of Law in 1975. Col. Kissling was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the United States Marine Corps in 1964, followed by flight training at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL. He served two tours in Vietnam, flying med-evac helicopter missions before returning to Pensacola where he was a flight instructor for three years. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, A Purple Heart, and other decorations for active combat service. As a reserve, he was the Commanding Officer of Marine Squadron VMA 124 at the Naval Air Station in Millington before returning to active duty for the Gulf War. Robert enjoyed a 30 year career as a commercial airline pilot, beginning with Southern Airways in 1973. He was active with the Airline Pilots Association, offering his legal expertise throughout his career. He retired with Northwest Airlines in 2002. He was an active member of the NRA, served as president of the 50 Caliber Association, and enjoyed shooting competitively. He loved the opera and supported Opera Memphis for over 30 years. Robert was also a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the state of Kentucky. Col. Kissling was a student of the American Constitution, domestic politics, and international affairs. He embodied the best values of our generation: decency, integrity, and devotion to duty. He was outspoken and principled with a deep love of his country. “Uncle Bob” shared a mutual respect and delight with each of his nieces and nephews, always extending his mechanical, fishing, and science expertise to his many young friends. Robert leaves his beloved wife of 28 years, Janet Hodges Kissling, to whom he was totally devoted, nine nieces and nephews: Brittany, Emily, and Eric Johnson; Bryan and Elizabeth Mellon; Kathryn, Shelby, Bailey, and Wesley Hodges; and his giant Alaskan Malamute, ‘Timber’. A memorial service will be held for family and friends to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Memphis and Shelby County Humane Society, Crossroads Hospice, or the charity of your choice.
Dedicated to Friends, Past and Present
Robert G. Kissling Jr.
March 2, 1942 - April 14, 2012