Landmark resident, Robert C. "Bob" Mueller, 95, died from congestive heart failure at his home in La Mirada, CA on Apri|14, 2020.
Mr. Mueller was born on June 5, 1924, and was a native of Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Lucy and George Mueller were from two families of Nebraska pioneers. His father, George, was a native of Clinton, Iowa, born October 10, 1885. His mother was born on September 3, 1886, in a prairie sod house that her father, Judd Tobias, built himself near Ogallala, Nebraska. Bob's childhood and adolescence in Omaha was during the Great Depression but was rudely interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. He wasted no time, after turning 18 and high school graduation, to enlist in the United States Marine Corps on September 15, 1942. His time in the Corps was eventful and remarkable, to say the least, and is summarized as follows:
He volunteered for the Marine Paratroopers after boot camp in San Diego, graduated from parachute school at Camp Gillespie, CA, on December 19, 1942, and was shipped to New Caledonia on March 12, 1943. When the Paratroopers were found to be impractical for jungle warfare, they were disbanded, and Bob became part of the new 5th Marine Division. He served in the Pacific Theatre. first on Guadalcanal during March and April of 1943. Thereafter, on Vella La Vella from October 14, 1943, to December 3, 1943. He was next sent to Bougainville in the Solomons, where he fought in the Battle for Hill 1000 and "Hellzapoppin' Ridge". His time on Bougainville was from December 4, 1943, until January 29th, 1944. He spent 42 consecutive days in his foxhole there. After Bougainville, he was returned to the U.S. for treatment for malaria at Santa Margarita Hospital in California. He left California for the South Pacific again on September 18, 1944, for Camp Tarawa, near Waimea and Parker Ranch on the "Big Island" of Hawaii. He was there to train for the attack on Iwo Jima.
Bob and his 5th Division were part of the second wave assault on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. He scaled Mt. Suribachi with his unit and, after reaching the summit, witnessed the flag-raising by his fellow Marines, including his "dear friend" lra Hayes, that became the iconic photograph from WWII, now immortalized by the statue at Arlington, and various replicas throughout the country.
Bob was wounded by shrapnel on Iwo Jima on March 26, 1945, received the purple heart, and a field promotion from Private to Corporal. After he left Iwo Jima, he was part of the invasion and subsequent occupation of Okinawa at Camp Sasebo, Japan, after another visit to Hawaii. Sasebo was the final stop in his career as a combat Marine. He returned home and was discharged on November 21, 1945.
After the war, he married Janice Taylor on July 1, 1950, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in
Omaha and they had three children, Susan, Jill, and Jean. Janice won the Mrs. Nebraska contest in 1961 but tragically died on August l7th, 1961, after the national pageant in Florida. On May 15, 1965, Bob married Shirley (Snelling) Kuhnigk, also from Omaha, and they had one more child, Pamela. It was during that marriage in the early 1960s, that Bob terminated his 23-year career as a field representative with MUD, the local Omaha utility company, and moved to Cleveland, Ohio.
He then transferred to Southern California in 1969 with the family. This was during his second
career, lasting twenty years, as a service representative with Carrier Corporation that began on September 7, 1967. Bob was an expert at the heating and air conditioning technology of the time and worked for Carrier until his retirement on June 3, 1987. He had another short career with E.B. Ward in San Jose as a supervisor/manager. After his divorce from Shirley in 1974, he was married to Virginia Herzog from 1976 until her death in 2011. Bob and Virginia moved to Menlo Park in 1978 and returned for good to southern California in February of 1997.
Bob leaves his four daughters; Susan Campion of Carlsbad, CA, Jill McGraw of Whittier, CA, Jean Garnell of Grovetown, GA, and Pamela Tsitakis of Dallas, TX, along with nine
grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Due to the recent pandemic, memorial services are postponed until a later date when they will be held at White-Emerson in Whittier.