Robert ("Bob") Harold Cahoon, 93, died on May 20, 2013, after a brief illness, at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, where he had lived for many years with his wife of 70 years, Alice Dubberly Cahoon, and his daughter, Susan Alice Cahoon, an Atlanta attorney. Bob was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 22, 1919, the only child of the marriage of Harold Stoddard Cahoon and Alice Melba ("Melba") Anderson.
Thanks to his wife's interest in genealogy, Bob learned that he was a direct descendant of Reynolds Cahoon, an early convert to the LDS church, who travelled with Joseph Smith and others from New York to the Midwest and later joined Brigham Young and other early Mormon pioneers soon after they moved to Utah. Bob's father was born in Rexburg, Idaho to George Ernest Cahoon and Rhoda Stoddard Cahoon. His mother Melba was one of the daughters of Walter Christian Anderson and Alice Hook Anderson of Salt Lake City, and his mother returned there for Bob's birth, although she and Harold Cahoon spent their married life in various towns in Washington and Oregon. Following his parents' divorce, Bob and his mother moved to Olympia, Washington, where he graduated from Olympia High School as class salutatorian in 1937. He spent the next year working in a butcher shop and at a service station to earn money for college before enrolling in 1938 at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington. During his two years there he continued to work to help pay for his education and his membership in Phi Delta Theta.
In 1940 he transferred to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he intended to major in actuarial sciences. However, as World War II raged in Europe, he recognized that the U.S. soon would be involved and, in June, 1941, immediately after his junior year, enlisted in a Naval aviation cadet training program.
Thanks to the Navy, he was sent for some of his training to Jacksonville, Florida. There, he met the love of his life, Alice, in early October 1941. They were on a date on Pearl Harbor Sunday, when word of the attack began to circulate and he and all active duty military personnel were ordered to return immediately to their bases. While Bob continued training to be a navigator on multi-engine airplanes and later served as an instructor in naval air navigation, he was posted to a series of stateside locations from which he continued his courtship of Alice, who finally said "yes" and married him on April 17, 1943. Later that year he began flying with VR-1 from NAS Patuxent River, first to the Azores and Morocco and later on routes to Scotland and, once, to Paris. A highlight of his time with VR-1 was acting as the navigator for a famous passenger, Charles Lindbergh, who agreed at the crew's request to pilot their airplane for several hours. After VE Day, Bob was transferred to VR-11, flying from NAS Honolulu to various locations in the Marshall Islands until VJ Day.
Following 4 ½ years of active duty, Lt. Cahoon was released to return, with countless veterans of World War II, to complete an interrupted college education. Back at the University of Michigan, he and Alice made their married student "housing" at the Willow Run base in Ypsilanti habitable while he finished his degree, but with a change in major to accounting, in which he earned a B.B.A., with distinction, in 1947. He was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma business academic honorary society and to Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting scholastic honor society.
Like a good Southern woman, Alice persuaded Bob to stay South after his graduation. They settled in Jacksonville, Florida, where her parents, William Emmett Dubberly and Julia Hires Dubberly, and her grandmother, Lula Smiley Hires, then lived, after they had sold their family farm in Long County, Georgia. In Jacksonville and later in Atlanta, Bob worked as a financial accountant for companies whose owners recruited him between the two cities until he moved for good to Atlanta in 1970. During their years in Jacksonville, Bob became a 32° Mason (Scottish Rite Order), joined the Lions Club, and was a deacon and director of the Training Union at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, while Alice sang in the choir and both taught an Intermediates Training Union class.
Alice's family became very close to Bob, who was separated by geography from his mother and by divorce and untimely death in 1954 from his father. He was more son than son-in-law to "Emmett" and "Julia" and grandson to "Mrs. Hires." The late Carol Callahan, the husband of Alice's first cousin Agnes Davis Callahan, was like a brother to him, and Bob was always "Uncle Bob" to Agnes and Carol's children and grandchildren, as well as to the family of Alice's first cousin Myrtice Davis Fountain.
After Bob retired at 62, he and Alice stayed active gardening together and working on household projects. He loved to cook, and he loved to travel – especially long distance driving trips. During his mother's life, family vacations consisted of a drive from Jacksonville or Atlanta to Olympia and other parts of the West and the Canadian Rockies. In later years, the 3 Cahoons enjoyed two driving trips from Atlanta to Alaska – one in 1992, the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway, and the other in 1999, when Bob caught a 100 lb. halibut in the waters off of Homer, Alaska. In addition to their many trips to the Pacific Northwest and Canada, the family made several trips to Europe, including visits to the ancestral home of the Cahoon (Colquhoun) clan in Luss, Scotland; to the small town in Germany from which Alice's Hires ancestors had emigrated in the 1750's; and to Norway, from which Bob's Anderson relatives had emigrated in the 1840's.
Bob is predeceased by his parents and by his half-brother William ("Bill") Douglas Cahoon (son of Harold S. Cahoon and Mildred Aumiller Cahoon) and Bill's three children (Doug, David and Erin). He is survived by his wife Alice and daughter Susan.
The family will receive visitors at H. M. Patterson & Son, Spring Hill, on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 from 2 to 4 in the afternoon & 6 to 8 in the evening. The family will also receive visitors Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6 in the evening at Pearson – Dial Funeral Home, Blackshear, Georgia. Burial will be at Rye Patch Baptist Church Cemetery, Long County, Georgia, with a graveside service on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 2:30 in the afternoon.
The family would like to thank all the wonderful people from Professional Registry for the Northside who helped look after "Mr. Bob" for the last 2 ½ years, but especially Frances Samples (who could always bring a smile to his face), Maggie Cofield, Lucienne Richards, Margaret Mitchell and Arnetta McMichael.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emory University – Cahoon Family Chair.