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Sunday, March 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Obituaries

Obituary: Goldsworthy, Robert F. Usaf Major General Ret.

Age 96

GOLDSWORTHY, Robert F. USAF Major General Ret. (Age 96) Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, Off we go, into the sky… It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Major General Robert F. Goldsworthy, USAF Reserves, on January 25, 2014 at the age of 96. Robert was a remarkable man, and his accomplishments extraordinary. He served his country with courage, loyalty, and dedication. He will be sorely missed. Robert Goldsworthy was born in Spokane, WA on September 26, 1917, to Harry and Pearl Goldsworthy. He spent his early life on a farm operated by his father and mother. He attended Rosalia public school and graduated from Washington State College in 1939. After a short stint as a radio announcer at a Spokane radio station, he joined the Army Air Corps as a flying cadet, receiving his wings and commission on October 3, 1940. He spent four years in the training command, instructing in single and multi-engine aircraft. He then volunteered to fly the new B-29 aircraft and was sent to the Pacific Theater to engage in the air offensive against Japan. On December 3, 1944, on his third bombing run over Japan, he was shot down over Tokyo and spent the next nine months in a Japanese prison camp as a prisoner of war. After the war he returned to active duty until he separated from the service and returned to operate the family farm. He remained in the active reserve. When the Korean War started, he returned to active flying, flying bombing missions over Korea from Japan and Okinawa. He then returned from the Pacific Theater and was stationed for a year at Fairchild AFB. He separated from the service again and returned to the family farm. He stayed in the active reserve and served with the Air Defense Command, the Military Airlift Command and the Strategic Air Command. He retired from the Air Force after 35 years of active and active reserve duty. He was a Command Pilot and retired at the rank of Major General. He served 16 years in the Washington State Legislature. He served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, chairman of the State Budget Committee and as Republican Caucus Chairman. He was especially proud of obtaining the funding for the newly formed system of community colleges in Washington State. During that time he received the Alumni Achievement Award from Washington State University. He belonged to many military and fraternal organizations. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart and the Air medal. After retiring from the farm, he and his wife, Jean, traveled extensively, enjoying many cruises and trips to foreign lands. One of his greatest pleasures was spending summers in their cabin on beautiful Priest Lake. He and Jean spent many winter months on Maui with his many lifelong friends. His hobby was oil painting. He and Jean were great fans of Dixieland Jazz. Such facts give only a partial picture of the man. To his friends and family, Robert (Bob) was known as an amazingly unassuming man. He loved a good time and he entertained us all with his singing and ukulele playing. He was adept at reciting humorous poems with unfailing memory. He was a fiercely loyal Republican, but counted as his friends equally loyal Democrats. In the legislature, he reached across the aisle to achieve practical results. One could not help being won over by his warm humor and respectful approach. Robert was compassionate and generous. After the war, he returned to the neighborhood of his prisoner of war camp in Japan, bringing needed gifts to those Japanese who had shown him small and risky kindnesses as a POW. He wrote a book recounting his experiences as a POW, Our Last Mission, and expanded and re-issued it to include the surprising tale of his reconciliation with the Japanese community near which he was first taken prisoner. We, his friends and family, will always remember the kindness, forbearance, and generosity that he, devoted father and friend, showed us. His courage, warmth, humor and dignity will continue to be a model for all who have been fortunate enough to know him. Robert is survived by his beloved wife of 73 years, Jean. She was his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life. He is survived by his brother Harry Edgar Goldsworthy of Riverside, CA; son Robert (Genie) Goldsworthy, Jr.; daughter Jill (Roland) Dougherty; his five grandchildren, John (Katie) Goldsworthy, Joe (Valerie) Goldsworthy, Suzanne Goldsworthy, Brett (Danielle) Rogers, Brad Rogers and Patrick (Sarah) Dougherty as well as numerous great-grandchildren. A special thanks to Hospice of Spokane for their tender car (Dan, Casey, Kayla and Susie), Dr. Kirk Rowbotham (and staff), and Dr. Arvind Chaudhry (and staff) for their kindness, humor and professionalism. Donations may be made in his honor to Inland Northwest Honor Flight, 608 W. 2nd Ave. Ste 309, Spokane, WA 99201 or Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. A Memorial Service will be held at The Ridge Main Lounge at Rockwood South, 2903 E. 25th on Saturday, February 8th at 2:30 PM.
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