Funeral services for Douglas L. Robertson, 90, of Mellette are scheduled for Thursday, September 13, at 10:00 a.m. at the Northwestern United Methodist Church in Mellette. Rev. Jon Damaska will officiate. Burial will follow in the Mellette Cemetery, and lunch will be served at the church’s fellowship hall following the committal service under the direction of Thelen Funeral Home of Redfield.
Visitation will be Wednesday from 1 to 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Doug will be buried with military honors. After living a long and happy life on his farm near Mellette, Doug peacefully died in his sleep at his most beloved farm home on Monday morning.
Doug Robertson was born June 26, 1922, to Owen and Vera Robertson. He graduated from Waubay High School in 1940 and joined the Army Air Corps. His mother had to sign his enlistment documents because he was only 17 years old. He became a radio operator and mechanic assigned to the B-17 and was sent to Hawaii in late December 1941 where he conducted submarine search missions. In 1941 he applied for pilot school and upon graduation was assigned to pilot and command a B-24 christened the “Down and Go.” He and his 9 crew members flew missions from Torretta Field near Cherignola, Italy during World War II. Two generations and 60 years later his granddaughter, Heather, a US Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG) was stationed in Italy not far from Torretta Field. He flew dangerous missions over Germany and Yugoslavia. For his service he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Citation, Pre-Pearl Harbor Ribbon, Southwest Pacific Theater Ribbon, European Theater Ribbon with three stars, the WWII victory medal and several reserve medals.
On March 6, 1943 he married Violet Florea who lived in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. After he fulfilled his military obligation they made their home in Bonners Ferry until 1950 when they moved to South Dakota where he joined his father in farming. Upon finishing his active duty tour he transferred to the Air Force Reserves where he completed a total military career time of over 40 years and retired in 1982 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Doug was active in many veterans organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 40 & 8, and the American Legion, where he was a member for nearly 70 years. He served in a number of positions in these organizations to include local and state leadership posts. Doug was also known for his skills at trap shooting and bowling. In later years he also enjoyed camping and fishing with the love of his life, Vi. Doug was a member of the United Methodist Church in Mellette for over 60 years.
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Vi of Mellette, his children Diana (Wayne) Larson of Mellette, Susan (Richard) Heizer, and Thomas of Mellette, 7 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and only brother, Rex.