Cover photo for Robert Leonard Koryciak's Obituary
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1934 Robert 2019

Robert Leonard Koryciak

February 21, 1934 — November 16, 2019

Robert Leonard Koryciak   Robert Leonard Koryciak, of Wharton and formerly of Ellijay, GA, passed away peacefully at his residence on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Robert was born on February 21, 1934, in Flint, Michigan to the late Wallace and Mary Majeski Koryciak. Also preceded in Death by Brother Wallace, and Sister Kathy Koryciak. Robert was raised in Michigan and graduated from Kearsley High School, where he was a Letterman in football all four years. In 1952, Robert began his aviation career in the United States Navy, beginning with Boot Camp at USN Training Center Great Lakes. Electronics and Technical Training at both NAS Olathe, KS and NAS Memphis, TN where he was certified as an Electronics Technician and Flight Communications Operator. Transferred to NAS Brunswick, Glynco Naval Air Station GA, he was assigned to ZTU (Zeppelin Training Unit and ZT2 "Airship Squadron 2" flying as both Radio Operator and Submarine Detection positions aboard the last K-Class Airships (Blimps) Hold-overs from WWII, assigned to Anti-Submarine Patrol duty against Hostile Communist Submarines and Warships. While on a Pre- Dawn patrol, he survived a severe crash that destroyed Airship K-100 in a forested swamp and injured most of the 10-man crew, but it was still several hours before rescuers found the site. The Navy officially classified the crash as "An Unscheduled Off Field Landing!" This fortunately, was the only actual crash he was involved in his Flying career. Robert left Active Duty in 1956, serving in the Inactive Reserve, and returned to Flint, MI, working in the service industry where he married Anna Walterhouse Dunn, on December 29, 1956, in Angola, Indiana. Robert and Anna had been classmates together in the school system for 12 years! Robert, Anna, and daughter Bonnie settled in Burton MI, In 1958, saw the arrival of Twins - Robert and William. In 1960, Robert returned to Active Duty, He was assigned to NAS Floyd Bennett Field New York, to set up a new Anti-Submarine Patrol Squadron flying P2V Neptune Aircraft. In 1965,Robert was transferred to Grosse Isle NAS Detroit, MI, where Robert was assigned as Aircrew Communications Operator to a Heavy Transport Squadron VR-52, flying C-54 Skymasters. The Base was closed in 1968, and the squadrons were transferred to Selfridge Air Force Base, MI. Robert was then transferred to NAS Jacksonville Fla in 1970, where Robert was assigned the task of training Reservists forming a new P-3 Orion Sub Hunter Squadron, VP-62.. In 1974, Another transfer was ordered, this time to NAS Atlanta where Robert was assigned as Aircrew Instructor to a Heavy Transport Squadron flying C-118 Liftmasters.   On April 1, 1976, Petty Officer First Class Robert L. Koryciak retired from Navy service, having flown over 20,000 hours of flight time. Having served in the Navy for 23+ years, Robert served his entire time in Land-Based Patrol aircraft and Transports, and stated he "In his Navy career, he only spent 24 hours aboard a ship, (a Diesel Submarine), just to learn what it was like to be "Hunted" by the Anti- Submarine Blimps!" When asked by his son why he chose the Land-Based Patrol and Transport Aircraft, over the ships of the surface Navy, he replied: "Well, what goes up, must come down, BUT what goes down-doesn't always come back up!" Robert Koryciak was very patriotic and proud of being a Sailor in the United States Navy, and he told his family, one of the most influential moments of his career was, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when John F. Kennedy ordering the Naval Blockade that finally forced the Soviets to "Stand Down!", and remove the Offensive Nuclear Missiles from Cuba. He later wrote a paper about his feelings that day and won an award from the Navy for his reflections and its impact on him as a Sailor. His Navy travels took him to Newfoundland, Iceland, England, Gibraltar, Rome, North Africa, Cuba, the Caribbean, All of the Continental United States, Canada, and Hawaii. After retirement Robert and Ann moved to Ellijay, GA, in the North Georgia Mountains, Where Robert earned a Degree from Massey Business College, and worked in the construction industry. A three-story house was constructed by Robert and Anna on 26 Acres along Clear Creek in Gilmer County, and this remained their homestead until failing health forced a move to Wharton Texas in 2015, to be closer to Son Robert. He enjoyed Photography, woodworking, traveling and camping in the national and state parks, dancing, and flying with son Robert. Robert is survived by his wife of 63 years, Anna Koryciak of Wharton, TX, daughter, Bonnie Anderson of Kennesaw, GA, sons, Robert L. Koryciak and wife Estella Longoria Koryciak, of Boling, TX, and William Koryciak and wife, Rose, of Columbiaville, MI, sister Marty Rupright and husband , Rusty of Mears, MI; Grandchildren Jen Warwick, Kevin Nelson, Travis Koryciak, Ian Koryciak, Kayla Koryciak and Logan Koryciak; great grandchildren, Sevastjan, Chessa, Elijah, Jaeme and Maggie; great-great grandchildren, Aurora and Grayson. The family wishes to Thank Garolyn Evans, of Wharton, TX, and the Harbor Hospice, of Houston TX for their excellent care in the last months of Robert's existence. Remembrance donations can be made to Harbor Hospice. Robert remains will be cremated and a Military interment service is planned in the near future in a National Cemetery yet to be determined. Condolences may be left at whartonfuneralhome.com
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