Robert E. Laird
Robert E. Laird
RUTLAND TOWN — Robert E. Laird (Bob) of Rutland Town took his last flight home on Thursday, June 19, 2014, in The Pines at Rutland, with his family by his side.
Bob was born in Rutland, Vermont, to Ned Franklin Laird and Bessie (Clark) Laird on December 25, 1921. He was a 1939 graduate of Rutland High School. He married Olga Garcia of Rutland on July 1, 1951.
Because of his interest in flying, Bob enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces on September 21, 1942, and flew 26 bombing missions on the major cities of Japan. He was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, two Unit Citations and other decorations, but was most proud of the Distinguished Flying Cross awarded “by direction of the President for extraordinary achievement while participating as a crew member of a B-29 aircraft on a daylight incendiary mission from a base in the Marianas against Kobe, Japan, on June 19, 1945”.
After being discharged, Bob founded his own contracting business in 1951. He designed and built a number of homes in the Rutland area and held a Vermont Real Estate Broker’s license, as well as electrical and plumbing licenses, and was also an accomplished woodworker.
Bob had many interests. He served as a Rutland City Alderman, taught for the Vermont State Building Trades Apprentice program for over 25 years, built and operated a rope tow for a couple of winters at Killington, and built and operated a campground in Leicester. Bob also authored several books and other essays and poems, founded, directed and appeared together with Mary Blair and George DuBray in Southeast Varieties, a two-day PTA benefit variety show for Southeast School for 18 years and countless other benefit performances.
Bob was a 61-year member of American Legion Post #3l, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 20th Air Force Association, The Distinguished Flying Cross Society, the 39th Bomb Group Association and was its first historian.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Olga (Garcia) Laird; son, Robert E. Laird Jr. and Linda Armstrong, of Essex Jct.; two daughters: Carol Laird and Donald Tetzlaff of Colchester, and Judi Laird and David Recchia of East Burke, grandchildren: Lindsay Rivard Barreiro and Daniel of Boca Raton, FL, Dr. Robert L. Rivard and Rachel of Minneapolis, MN, Antonia Armstrong-Laird of So. Burlington, Wesley Armstrong-Laird of Burlington, and Lukas Armstrong-Laird of Essex Jct., and great grandson, Sebastian Alexander Barreiro of Boca Raton, FL.; brothers and sisters-in-law; Olaf Garcia and Nancy of Charlton, MA,, Oralia Williams of Williston, Ofelia Navarrete and Raul of Rutland and several cousins, nieces and nephews. Special family friends include the DuBray family, Russell Tucker of Warsaw, NC, David Ross of So. Burlington, Lori Clark Baxter of Rutland, Stephen and Judy Rivard of Williston and Wayne Brownell of Jericho.
He was predeceased by a sister, Mildred, twin brothers, and a sister who died in infancy.
The family would like to thank Dr. Bruce Bullock, the staff at The Pines at Rutland, especially all the staff on the Second Floor, Nancy Pratico of the At Home Senior Care, and Flo Smith for their help and care. A special thank you goes out to niece and nurse extraordinaire Lisa Navarrete whose compassion, knowledge and humor has been so important to our family over the years.
The funeral service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church on Wednesday June 25 at 1:00 PM, with The Very Rev. Christopher David, interim rector, officiating. Burial will take place in the family plot at East Clarendon Cemetery immediately following the funeral. Following the burial all are invited to meet with Bob’s friends and family at the American Legion, 33 Washington St. in Rutland.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Trinity Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, 85 West St., Rutland, VT 05701.
Tossing Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.