OXFORD — Robert Lewis Tumlin, 81, of Oxford, formerly of Greenwood, passed away on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. A diehard Atlanta Braves fan, Capt. Bob went peacefully, sitting in his chair watching a baseball game on television, with his favorite dog, Chipper Jones, in his lap. Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford is in charge of arrangements.
Bob is predeceased by his parents, Lewis and Eloise Church Tumlin, and his wife of 42 years, Evelyn Hallonquist Brown Tumlin.
He is survived by his sons, Russell Tumlin of Oxford and Steven Tumlin of Carson City, Nevada; granddaughter Sierra Dillard (Brandon) of Oceanside, California, and grandson Stevan Robert Tumlin (Micha) of Great Falls, Montana; sister Anne Tumlin Hill of Jacksonville, Alabama; and sister-in-law Rita Daniel Brown of Frederick, Colorado. He is also survived by the “Defective Women’s Club,” a circle of truly wonderful friends who made his life so very special.
Bob was a very proud veteran of both the Navy and the Air Force. Bob was a master aircraft mechanic (A&P – IA) and pilot, both fixed wing and helicopter. As a helicopter pilot, his adventures included flying in the jungles of Peru delivering supplies and personnel to remote locations, ferrying personnel to offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, logging off Mount St. Helens to salvage the timber after the eruption, and crop dusting all throughout the South with his Bell 47-G3B and Bell 212 helicopters. He was the personal pilot for Dr. Michael DeBakey and L.F. McCullam of MAC Helicopters Inc. of Houston, Texas. A deputy sheriff of Limestone County, Alabama, Bob was very proud of his association with them, training their pilots and supervising their maintenance program. However, his greatest achievement was that of flight instructor (CFII), as that is how he caught the eye of his bride-to-be, Evie Brown.
Bob spent many years rebuilding, showing and selling antique aircraft. His accolades included the Silver Wrench Award for preservation of aviation history in 1996 (with a PT-17 Stearman) and 2008 (Hiller OH 23 D Raven) from Oshkosh, and the 1999 Reserve Grand Champion at the Sun’n Fun Fly-in (P-T 17 Stearman).
While in Greenwood, Bob was overseer of Four-Fifths Plantation, which belonged to Evie’s family, where he developed and physically maintained 200 acres of catfish ponds, in addition to judiciously managing the farm leases on the remaining 1,800 acres. Bob took a debt-ridden, poorly managed family estate and turned it into a debt-free, profitable entity. Everything he touched was better when he was through with it.
A talented and versatile cook, his intimate Sunday Suppers were legendary.
In accordance to his wishes, no public memorial will be held. A private ceremony will be conducted later in the spring when he and Evie will be interred in the family plot in Anniston, Alabama. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the Friends of the Oxford Mounted Patrol, 715 Molly Barr Road, Oxford, MS 38655, or the charity of your choice.
Quiet Birdman — Flown West (Burro).
KD5JOM has now gone silent.
Online condolences may be left on his tribute wall at www.colemanfuneralhome-.com.