Robert C. Fields, 98, formerly of Tipton and Cedar Rapids, passed away Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, at Maple Knoll Village in Cincinnati, Ohio, after a short illness. Bob was born Aug. 18, 1920, in Tipton, Iowa, the second son of Forrest Filson Fields and Frieda Werling Fields. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Fry Funeral Home in Tipton. Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the funeral home.
Bob was educated in the Tipton Consolidated Schools, graduating from high school in 1938. He worked the next three years at a local dry cleaning establishment. On Oct. 26, 1941, he married Velma Ohlsen of Olin at the First Methodist Church in Palmyra, Mo. Bob worked the next year for AT&T Long Lines Division in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. During that year, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force, being called to active duty in January 1943 as an aviation cadet. He qualified for pilot training, spending the next 40 weeks in Santa Ana, Calif., Glendale, Ariz., and Pecos, Texas, graduating at Pecos in March 1944 as a pilot second lieutenant.
During the balance of his time in service, Bob was a flight instructor in the West Coast Flying Command. His most unusual experience during this period was his assignment as a flight instructor for a squadron of Chinese pilots from Chiang Kai Shek's Air Force, instructing them in instrument flying and aerobatics prior to their receiving B-25 and P-51 aircraft upon their return to China.
Upon discharge from the USAAF in October 1945, Bob enrolled in engineering at Iowa State College, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in June 1949. Bob was hired by R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. prior to graduation in June 1949, starting a 36-year career with this fine printing firm. He started as a manufacturing trainee and ended up as vice chairman of the board of directors. He served on the board from 1971 until 1985. He spent 13 years in the Crawfordsville, Ind., division, being named division director and a vice president of the corporation in 1958. In 1963, he was named director of the Chicago Manufacturing Division. In 1964, he was assigned a sales division and became a member of general management of the company. He was in charge of all sales and manufacturing operations from 1974 to 1981. He retired from day-to-day operations at the end of 1982.
Bob attended the 40th Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1963. He was elected to the board of trustees of the Iowa State University Foundation in 1971, remaining an emeritus member until his death. He received an engineering achievement award from Iowa State in 1983. He was director of the Indiana Manufacturing Association, Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement of Chicago at various times during his years at Donnelley.
Bob and Velma purchased a winter retirement home at the La Quinta, Calif., Country Club in 1980 and spent the next 24 winters there. Bob was president of the La Quinta Country Club for two years, 1991 and 1992. He was elected director of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 1991. He played in the golf tournament for three years. They started their summer retirement years at their homestead in Downers Grove, Ill., moved to Oak Brook, Ill., in 1985, to Fort Collins, Colo., in 1990, to Colorado Springs in 1995, and to Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids. In January 2009, Bob was married to Marianne White Moon, a longtime friend of the family dating back to 1949.
Bob was preceded in death by his first wife, Velma; his son, David; his parents; his five brothers, John, Richard, Keith, Henry and James; and his sister, Mary Jean Hammer.
He is survived by one son, Michael and wife Lewanda of Laporte, Colo.; David's wife, Laura of Adams, Wis.; his two sisters, Ann Edge (John) of Cave Creek, Ariz., and Carol Jean Fields of Tipton; his five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Bob and his family enjoyed many wonderful vacation experiences, fishing and visiting many of our national parks. Bob felt he had the opportunity to work with the finest people in the world, his fellow employees, his customers and suppliers. He felt deeply of the strong support Velma gave him throughout his career and his retirement.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Iowa State University Foundation, Fields Engineering Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 2230, Ames, IA 50010.