Lieutenant Colonel Robert Eustice
Robert Richard Eustice was born July 7, 1899 at Galena, Illinois. He was the
son of James Eustice and his wife Lydia Morris.
He had a fascination with airplanes and flying but was just a bit too young to become involved with World War I.
Following the war, he became involved as a partner with a man named McBoyle, who was one of the original “Barnstormers” operating from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. The word barnstorming evolved because pilots in the absense of airports, would land their planes in farm fields and offer to pay farmers “rent” to use the pasture for the day.
Barnstormers worked on their own, or in very small teams, putting together “flying circuses” sometimes with several planes and stunt people. While Robert did some flying, he mostly did maintenance and groundwork on airplanes owned by the early “barnstormers.” His wife encouraged Robert to end his barnstorming career when she met him at the airport only to see a fence post and several feet of barbed wire dragging behind the landing gear as he landed his airplane.
The experience served Robert well and when World War II started, he was called into service with the rank of captain. He served in the US Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946 and was commander of P-47 fighter squadron at Selfridge Field in Michigan. Later, he became head of the sales department for Drennan Motors, a Cadillac dealership in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Birmingham, the Retired Officer’s Association and the American Legion.
Robert Eustice married Ethel Mary Blades in 1923. Dr. Robert Eustice was their only child. Robert Richard Eustice died July 17, 1982 in Birmingham, Alabama. Survivors included his wife Mary Ethel Eustice; son Dr. Robert J. Eustice of Biloxi, MS; brother Roy J. Eustice, Warren, IL and sister, Mrs. Myrtle Baker, Galena, IL.