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March 25, 2013
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Obituary: Robert Forrest Setterfield

Jan. 22, 1918 - Mar. 16, 2013

Robert passed away peacefully in Carson City, Nevada, at age 95. He was born at home on Terminal Island, Los Angeles, California. While still a teenager he learned to fly airplanes in exchange for washing them. He attended Fremont High School and then went on to Compton College, where he played football and served as student body president. He graduated from UCLA as a history major in 1941. He was a life member of UCLA Alumni Association. He received more flight training with the Navy in Texas and sailed in the U.S. Merchant Marine for seven months. He then flew world wide for 35 meritorious years with Pan American World Airways. He met his wife to be, Marian, in Argentina. She was formerly of Helena, Montana, and working as a Pan Am stewardess out of Miami.

After marrying at a small church in Miami, they were based in various Pan Am hubs, with eventually five children, hailing from Rio de Janeiro, New York, and California. Captain Setterfield retired by law at age 60, with over 30,000 hours in his commercial log book, having also accumulated more flight time in sailplanes over the Alps during his years in Europe. On one instrument departure in a Boeing 727, he was forced to return to Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, after impact with a flock of migrating geese that failed to show on radar. On another departure out of Saigon, Viet Nam, he flew 95 civilian and military passengers to safety while under assault by ground fire. In his early years of South America and DC-3s, his cargo manifest at times included pigs, goats, chickens, flowers, motorcycles, mining equipment and national ballots.

His last base was Berlin, Germany. He and Marian left there to return to America and a new home in Nevada. Robert (Bob) was always dedicated to his five children. He always had an ear for music, playing saxophone as a youngster, and returning to it, in his retirement years, with the Tahoe Dance Band. He enjoyed skiing at Heavenly Valley and also riding his motorcycle with his dog aboard, in several Nevada Day parades. Bob was raised Protestant but attended mass often with Marian at St. Teresa Church in Carson City and was thankful to get to know Father Jerry Hanley and his devout practice, his religious wisdom, and his sense of humor. Bob had a good memory for biblical recitation. His nightly prayer was the 23rd Psalm.

In memoriam--- God will lift you up on Eagle Wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand. To fly west is a flight we must all take, into the sunset.

Autumn Funerals and Cremations in Carson City has made pre-arrangements; no service planned.


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The Nevada Appeal Updated Mar 25, 2013 05:14PM Published Mar 25, 2013 05:14PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.