Colonel (Ret.) Robert "Bob" Self passed away peacefully on March 12th, 2020. Bob was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the oldest of two children. He is survived by his wife Cathy, of Destin, Florida, his son Joe (Velma), of San Diego, California, his son Sam (Karen), of Homosassa, Florida, his daughter Kathy Yurkonis (Joe), of Kenneth City, Florida, step-son Michael Shea (Stephanie), Shalimar, Florida, step-daughter, Christa Shea, Destin, Florida, 9 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by his son Ronnie.
Bob joined the Army National Guard in 1946 and eventually transitioned to the Air force in 1952 as a 2nd Lieutenant. He had a very distinguished career as an Air Force pilot, including two assignments in Viet Nam, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. During much of his Air Force tenure, he worked with Special Operations forces and the CIA. Over a 23-year career, he was frequently involved in global “hotspots” including Central and South America, Africa, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. His family marveled at the gifts he would often bring back from the exotic countries he worked in.
Bob retired from the Air Force in 1973, the very same day his son Joe left to attend the Air Force Academy. He then started his second career as a general contractor and developer. Over a 30 plus year span, he built over 600 homes and commercial buildings in Okaloosa and Walton counties, including the St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Niceville, Florida. He was very proud of his home building career, often pointing out to family and friends the homes he had built as part of a lasting legacy.
Bob was also an avid golfer throughout his life. He was often a “zero handicapper” with a constant desire to improve his game. He won the club championship at Eglin AFB in 1963. Golf was his passion and therapy. He loved the game and was able to play into his 80’s.
He passed away after a long illness, surrounded by loving family and friends. We will dearly miss his wit and charm but find comfort in knowing he is resting peacefully with his creator.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Monday, March 16, 4:00 pm at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Niceville, Fl.
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