My father, Adrian Theron (A. T.) Sanders was a radio operator in the U. S. Navy on the USS Arkansas during World War II. His brother, Robert Donald Sanders, was a co-pilot on a B-17. Both were born and raised (and both are buried) in Ellisville, Mississippi. Both were nicknamed "Sandy." This site will include a lot of photos of them during their service years and some of their service items I have.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

(Robert Webster, the ball turret gunner on the "Sandy Kay," died Sunday, February 4, 2007. I was searching for his phone number Wednesday, February 7, and instead found his obituary.)

PAUL, IDAHO--Robert Dean Webster, an 84-year-old resident of Paul, died Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007, at Countryside Care and Rehab in Rupert.
Robert was the second son to be born to Harry and Hazel Walker Webster of rural Antiock, Kansas, on Nov. 12, 1922. He, walking beside his older brother, Willis, attended rural grade school of Elk County, through the eighth grade. Together, they drove to Howard High School, no sports nor other after school activities as there was work on the farm. Robert belonged to F.F.A. and was a member of crop and livestock judging teams; receiving awards for both. The brothers graduated together in 1939. Robert remained at the farm home to raise crops and start a cattle herd. His brother, Willis, moved to attend Wichita Business College.
At the age of 20, Robert was called to serve in World War II, and reported to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He was assigned to the 8th Army Air Force on Jan. 19, 1943. After training at Las Vegas, he was shipped out from Florida, immediately after completing gunnery school. They flew out in a new B-17 Bomber and were based in Knettishall, England, in 1943-1945. Robert was assigned to position as ball turret gunner with a crew of nine. The plane was named "Susan Kay" after the daughter of the only married flier of the crew.

One day we lost a plane on a bomb run over Germany. We knew it was a 388. Back at the base we found out the plane crew included a cousin, Don. He had parachuted out and was picked up by Germans as a P.O.W. for seven months.
Robert was pleased to have completed his service to his country and was happy to receive the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters. He also was recipient of the following medals or awards: Bombadiers Wings; European Theatre Medal; American Theatre Medal; American Defense Medal; Victory Medal W.W. II; Group Presidential Citation; and Good Conduct Medal. After 35 combat missions with goal reached, Robert was discharged as a Staff Sergeant in the Spring of 1945. He has been a life member of the 388 Bomb Group attending several reunions including the 40th and 50th anniversaries, plus the dedication of the Museum of Savannah, Georgia. Robert then returned back to Elk County, to farm, rent land, and start to build his own cattle herd. While in the service, he had been sending money home towards cattle buying.
An uncle farming in the Twin Falls area, encouraged him to apply for a G.I. Homestead Drawing. On July 4, 1957, his name was picked. He chose a unit at 205 S. 2900 E., just one mile into Jerome County. He loaded a box car with machinery to ship, purchased a truck and headed to Idaho. He hired Art Grove at Paul Lumber to build a home that he and his sweetheart had designed.
On June 27, 1958, at the Jerome Presbyterian Church, he married Lucille May Shafer, a home economist on staff at Kansas State University. It was at this time that cousin, Donavan Webster of Howard, plus his family, came to see, "Bob and the Homestead." That very month, their family moved to Idaho, and have been part of a close Webster family.
Robert had never experienced irrigation, but raised Idaho spuds, grain and hay. He was also a member of the Idaho Crop Association.
The family transferred to the Paul United Methodist Church and Robert to the Paul American Legion, Post No. 77.
For many years there was an annual trip to Kansas, (Leavenworth and Elk Counties) so the children could know their Kansas family. Robert and his wife later enjoyed traveling to our United States National Parks as well as other National Parks.
When Robert turned 65, his son, Bart, took over the operation of the homestead farm and is the only farmer left of many generations of Webster farmers and ranchers, as well as being the sole Shafer farmer as well.
He is survived by his wife, Lucille M. Webster of Paul; one daughter, Tracy Webster Babcock and her husband, William F. Babcock, Jr., and their children, Stuart Webster Babcock and Ashley Webster Babcock of Deerfield, Illinois; one son, Bart J. and his wife Laurie K. Webster, and their children, Dillon J. Webster and Tedi K. Webster of Paul; and one brother, Willis H. Webster of Wichita, Kansas.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, at the Paul United Methodist Church, 127 W. Clark St., with Pastor Elaine Steele officiating. Burial will be in the Paul Cemetery with military rites provided by the Paul American Legion, Post No. 77.
Friends may call from 6 until 8 p.m. Friday at Rasmussen Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., Burley, and one hour prior to the service on Saturday at the church.
The family suggests memorials be directed to the Paul United Methodist Church Stained Glass Window Fund; the West Paul Volunteer Fire Department; or to the Paul American Legion, Post No. 77, in care of Rasmussen Funeral Home.


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