Tombstone Tuesday–Col. Robert E. Kimmel, Sr.

Today’s Tombstone Tuesday is a little different than those I usually post. Today I would like to pay tribute to a former Mercer County, Ohio, native that recently passed away in California. Thanks to Judith for sending me Col. Robert Kimmel’s newspaper obituary.

Colonel Robert E. Kimmel, Senior, USAF (retired) had a very impressive military history. According to his obituary:

Robert entered the Army Aviation Cadet Program in October 1940. He served as a B-17 instructor pilot and was one of the first members of the 97th Bomb Group. They were some of the first American bomber pilots to go to England’s defense in 1942 and were later made famous in the move Twelve O’clock High. He flew the B-17 in both the European and Pacific theaters until the end of the war and survived 50 combat missions. He was awarded the Silver Star in 1942 for gallantry in action when he saved a crippled bomber from German fighters. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and earned the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters. His aviation skills and achievements are documented in several scholarly books of that period.


Robert flew with Major Paul Tibbets of Enola Gay fame; bunked with Major General Jimmy Doolittle; briefed Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Dwight Eisenhower; flew with Major General Ira Eaker; and met and dined with President Roosevelt in North Africa. He was selected to be Chief Pilot and Executive Assistant for General Carl Spaatz, who later became the U.S. Air Force’s first Chief of Staff. In 2014 Robert Kimmel’s wings were added to the Flyers’ Wall of the Mission Inn, Riverside, California.

Robert married Annette Yale in 1945 and they had two sons, Lt. Co Robert E. Kimmel, Jr, USAF (retired) and Lt. Col. James W. Kimmel, USAF (retired). His wife passed away in 2017. Both Robert and Annette are buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.

Robert graduated from the Ohio State University and moved to California, where he retired from a career in real estate in 2008.

We certainly thank Robert and his family for their service to our county.

A little about Robert’s Mercer County history:

Robert Elroy Kimmel was born on 10 June 1915 in Dublin Township, near Rockford, the son of Ralph and Fannie Clesta (Hoverman) Kimmel. Ralph and Fannie were married at the Methodist Church in Willshire in 1903. His father Ralph Kimmel was born and raised in Dublin Township and his mother Fannie was born in Spencerville, Ohio, but was living in Blackcreek Township at the time of their marriage. [1] 

Robert’s father Ralph was born in Mercer County on 14 July 1883 and died of cancer on 4 December 1934 in Dublin Township. He was 51 years old and is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Rockford. [2]

Several years later, on 7 October 1944, Robert’s mother Fannie (Hoverman) married widower and retired farmer Gilbert Lampy. Her address was RR Mendon, Ohio, at the time of their marriage. [3] Fannie (1883-1959) is also buried at Riverside Cemetery in Rockford. [4]

Robert’s father Ralph was the son of William and Lydia (Tester) Kimmel. In 1900 one William Kimmel owned land in Section 19, Dublin Township, west of Rockford. It was located on the east side of Township Line Road and a little south of Rockford West Road, not far from some of my Schumm relatives, the Friedrich Schumm family. This was likely where the Kimmels lived. The William Kimmel family in 1900: William, 44; Lydia, 42; Ferdellus, 18; Ralph, 16; and Jesse, 8. William and Lydia had been married 22 years and 3 of their 5 children were living. [5]

Robert’s parents Ralph and Fannie married in 1903 and Robert was born in 1915. The 1916 Mercer County Directory indicates that Ralph lived in Rockford. The Ralph Kimmel household in 1920 in Dublin Township: Ralph, 36; Fannie, 36; Gerald, 15; Willie, 13; Robert, 4; Paul, 1; and Augustus Huff, 31, boarder. Ralph was a farmer. [6]

The Ralph Kimmel household in 1930: Ralph, 46; Fannie, 46; Gerald, 25; Robert, 14; Paul. 11; Betty, 5; and Ida Hoverman, 71, mother. Ida would have been Fannie’s mother. Ralph was still a general farmer. [7]

Robert’s father Ralph died of cancer in 1934. [2] In 1940 Robert worked road construction, his brother Paul farmed, and their mother Fannie managed the farm. The household in 1940: Fannie, 57; Robert, 24; Paul, 21; and Betty, 15. [8]

Robert Kimmel had the following siblings:
Oscar Gerald (1904-1984), married Florence Jane Webb
William Conrad (1906-1973), married Ruby Merinar
Betty (1924-2016 ), married Odus Baxter
Paul P (1919-2012), married Joan Eichenaur

Colonel Robert E. Kimmel, Senior, USAF (retired), passed away 9 January 2018. In remembrance of him and with appreciation for his service to our country.


[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images,, Ralph Kimmel and Fannie Clestia Hoverman, 8 Nov 1903; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 8, p.494; FHL microfilm 914957.

[2] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images,, Ralph Kimmel, 4 Dec 1934; Dublin, Mercer, file no. 74797; FHL microfilm 2022234.

[3] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images,, Gilbert Lampy & Fannie Clestia Kimmel, 7 Octo 1944; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 16, p.477; FHL microfilm 2366956.

[4], Ralph Kimmel memorial no. 93640520; Fanny Kimmel memorial, no. 93640691.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Dublin, Mercer, Ohio, ED 77, p.13B, dwelling 274, family 278, William Kimble;; FHL microfilm 1241303, NARA microfilm T623, roll 1303.

[6] 1920 U.S. Census, Dublin, Mercer, Ohio, ED 128, p.10B, dwelling & family 235, Ralph Kinnell;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[7] 1930 U.S. Census, Dublin, Mercer, Ohio, ED 6, p.2A, dwelling 32, family 33, Ralph Kimmel;; FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[8] 1940 U.S. Census, Dublin, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-6, p.3B, line 44, Fannie C Kimmel;; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

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