Bob was born in Irvine Kentucky, January 9th, 1917 and had just graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky when he decided to look for a little adventure. He became secretary to a Methodist bishop in Zaire, then known as the Belgian Congo, and his adventurous life in Africa began! When the United States entered World War II, Bob was notified that he would have to return to America to be drafted. However, he wasn't given any money to make the trip. He and about 100 other Americans in the same situation went to South Africa to join the military instead.
Bob joined the Air Force and became a pilot. His missions involved protecting convoys in the Atlantic as well as transporting cargo. He served as a member of the South African Air Force until 1946. He met and married the daughter (Joy Stauffacher) of a medical missionary. In 1952 he and his wife, Joy, moved to Mozambique where he continued his flying and served as a US consular agent. He had said the Americans visiting the country were always getting into trouble, drinking, and missing their ships, so he tried to watch out for them.
He hosted several Hollywood stars and other celebrities who came over to go on safaris. He did the flying for several Tarzan and other jungle movies. He also took photos of African game and sold them to Hollywood studios. Photography was a hobby Bob loved throughout his life.
He won numerous awards for his wild life shots.
Bob was asked to leave Mozambique in 1964. He was a US consular agent and the Portuguese did not like the American attitude toward the Portuguese colonization. When the government canceled his pilots license preventing him from earning a living, he and his wife decided to relocate. The Peaces packed up and moved to Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, where their two of their three daughters were in school. (The twins were in English schools in Zimbabwe as Mozambique is a Portuguese speaking country.)
As Rhodesia became unstable as it progressed through the war, Bob considered returning to the United States. After all three daughters bravely moved one by one with their families to America, Bob and Joy finally followed. They first went to Houston Texas, then settled in Southern California, where most of Bob's family was living.
"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our life sublime;
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;--"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Psalm of Life"
Bob was a part of the SAAF (South African Air Force) during WWII and is featured on his Squadron's website. To read more about the SAAF 26 Squadron Bob's Story or the main page for the Squadron Click here