NO. 17743 • 9 September 1924 – 13 February 1991
Died 13 February 1991 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, aged 66 years
Interment: The Washington Crossing Methodist Church Cemetery, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
LILBERN WAS BORN 9 September 1924 in Rochester, Missouri to Garnet and Norman Roberts. He was a serious young boy who excelled in school, especially in mathematics and science. He was very active in the Boy Scouts and inevitably became an Eagle Scout.
He graduated from Central High School in St Joseph, Missouri and attended St Joseph Junior College for a semester until he joined the Army Air Corps in March 1943. Lilbern became "Bob" upon entering the service, but he remained Lilbern to his family and friends in Missouri.
He completed a six‑month airplane (B‑24) mechanics course at Keesler Field, Mississippi and an aerial gunnery school at Laredo, Texas. He remained at Laredo and served as a gunnery instructor for the remainder of World War II. Bob was appointed to West Point through the Army. He attended Amherst College from 1945-46 in preparation for his studies at West Point, and in July of 1946 he began his four years at the Academy, along with many other World War II veterans. As a cadet, he was a member of the Radio Club, the photographic editor for The Pointer magazine and varsity manager of the cross country team.
I met Bob on a blind date in November 1949 at the Penn‑Army game in Philadelphia. For me, it was love at first sight. I never doubted that he would become my husband. After graduation Bob was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, and was soon transferred to Fort Dix, New Jersey. We were married in Teaneck, New Jersey on 3 February 1951.
Bob served in Korea from 1952‑1953 with the 105mm Field Artillery Battery and was reassigned to Japan for an additional year. He resigned from the Army in November 1954 and started his civilian career with Alcoa in Edgewater, New Jersey. Bob completed his Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering at New York University night school. Bob also became active in the National Guard and, later, the Army Reserves, attaining the rank of colonel.
He worked for ITT for about 10 years. Some of that time was with Federal Electric Corporation, a subsidiary of ITT, which was involved with maintaining the DEWLINE‑ Distant Early Warning System.
In 1976, Bob joined Mobil Oil Corporation's engineering department in Princeton, New Jersey, and we settled in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Bob worked in Indonesia a short time and traveled to Saudi Arabia and Australia.
In 1979, Bob was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which curtailed most job‑related traveling. Bob maintained a positive attitude all his life. He lived with cancer for 11 years, and I can't remember him ever complaining. He was concerned only for others, and he could always reverse the conversation to center on friends and family rather than on himself.
Bob was well liked and respected by everyone who knew him. He had a special rapport with children of all ages. I know he touched many of their lives. To me, he epitomized the word "gentleman," for he was always such a kind and gentle man.
Bob remained loyal and faithful to "The Corps" and to his country. He had a strong Christian faith which was a comfort and strength for him.
He is survived and deeply missed by four children: Dwight, David, Linda and Cornelia; his wife, Nancy; and nine granddaughters.
"That which we lose, we mourn, but must rejoice that we have ever had."
- C.J. Wells