Robert W. McCreary, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF-retired, and United Airlines Flight Officer, retired, took his “flight west” on March 23, 2023 after a long battle with appendiceal cancer, a rare form of colorectal cancer. He was born near Erie, Pa., on July 29, 1938. He was predeceased by his parents, H. Gordon McCreary and Clara Argow McCreary, and his infant son, William Campbell McCreary. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Susan; daughter, Mallory McCreary (Arthur Winer); granddaughter, Lemony; his son, Robert G. McCreary (Marta); grandson, Alexander; his sister, Susan Mason, and three nieces and their families.
A 1960 Distinguished AFROTC graduate of Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa., he entered pilot training at Graham AB, Florida, and received his silver wings at Webb AFB, Texas. He completed his initial training in the C-130 Hercules aircraft at Sewart AFB, Tenn., and later transferred to Langley AFB, Va.
While deployed to Okinawa, he met the woman who would become his lifetime love, Susan Abernathy of Newport News. After numerous overseas deployments, including Southeast Asia, where he flew over 500 combat support sorties in Vietnam, he retired from the Air Force in 1984. He then became a commercial airline pilot, retiring from United Airlines in 2001 to Mathews County.
He was an active member of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Gloucester, a former officer of the Retired Officers of Mathews County Association (ROMCA), a member and longtime Director of the Middle Peninsula Croquet Club, an original member and former president of Concerts by the Bay, and a member of the military Order of the Daedalians.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Gloucester at 2 p.m. on April 3. Contributions in his memory may be made to Concerts by the Bay, Box 355, North, Va. 23128, or to a charity of your choice.