OBITUARY: WWII Veteran Col. Robert S. Kellar, 98, of Cocoa Beach, Passed Away June 20
By Space Coast Daily // June 27, 2021
Keller earned the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star and 2 Purple Hearts
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Colonel (Retired) Robert S. Kellar, a longtime resident of Cocoa Beach, passed on June 20, Father’s Day, 2021 at the age of 98.
Bobby, later Bob, was born on June 25, 1922, in Watertown, NY, the son of Leland and Agnes Kellar. He attended Watertown High School and in 1940 entered the College of Forestry at Syracuse University and earned a varsity letter on the Swim Team.
In 1944, he received his ROTC commission and began his Army career at Camp Hale, CO, with the 10th Mountain Division. He deployed to Italy in WWII, earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Bronze Star and 2 Purple Hearts.
After occupation duty in Italy, he returned home, joined the Reserves and married Muriel May Foster on December 9, 1945. He and his wife co-owned the Beaver Camp for Boys in Lowville, New York.
He was activated in 1950 and saw combat with the 40th Infantry Division in Korea. He then taught 3 years at The Citadel, attended the Command and General Staff College, and decided to change his career path from infantry to aviation. After flight training, he joined the 3rd Aviation Battalion in Germany flying helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
After returning from Germany in 1963, Bob was assigned to Fort Benning, GA, as a battalion commander in the new 11th Air Assault Division, which tested the Army’s new airmobile concept. He then assumed command of the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion and was ordered to Vietnam as part of the new 1st Cavalry Division.
During his tour he was awarded the Bronze Star and 17 Air Medals, one for Valor, and his third Purple Heart for wounds. His battalion was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
He returned from Vietnam to serve a year at the Pentagon as an expert on the airmobile concept, then graduated from the Army War College, commanded the 3rd Advanced Infantry Training Brigade at Fort Jackson, SC, and next served as the Director of Aviation Tactics and Director of Instruction at the Army Aviation Flight Training Center at Hunter Army Airfield, GA.
He returned from a second Vietnam tour in 1972 and was then assigned to the prestigious position of President of the Army Aviation Test Board. Under his leadership, the Army conducted critical testing for the development and acquisition of the later named Blackhawk UH-60 helicopter still in use today.
Whether in combat in three wars as an Infantry Officer or Aviator or serving as a senior staff officer, his dedication and loyal service to his Country is notable as a proud member of The Greatest Generation.
After retirement from the Army in 1976, Bob Kellar, his wife Muriel (Babe) and son Robert, Jr., moved to Cocoa Beach where Bob became a licensed realtor working at Heritage Realty, then broker and co-owner with his wife and son of Cocoa Beach Realty, later a Coldwell Banker franchise.
He served terms as Commodore of the Cocoa Beach Boating Club, Deacon at Riverside Presbyterian Church, on the Board at Emerald Seas Condominium and was frequently found on the Manatee Golf Course at Patrick Air Force Base.
His wife passed in February of 2011. He is survived by his daughters, Kathryn Kellar from Cocoa Beach; Karen and husband LTC (Ret) Thomas Maertens, Jr, from Salem, SC; and son Robert (Bob), Jr, and wife Sue from Port Orange, FL; grandchildren McKenna and wife Jenifer Moore; Rochelle and husband Jeremy Colangelo; Robert (Rob) Kellar, III, and wife Grace; and 5 great grandchildren: Jackson, Blake and Avery Colangelo; Ella Kellar; and Wyatt Moore; as well as a sister, Barbara Reinschmidt in Liverpool, NY, and cousin, Majorie Werhle, as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Riverside Presbyterian Church, 3400 N. Atlantic Ave, in Cocoa Beach, FL, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, with reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Red Cross or your favorite charity in honor of Bob Kellar.
You may sign Mr. Kellar’s guestbook at www.beckmanwilliamson.com.
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