Distinguished Alumnus
Charter Class of 2013
Robert C. Coombe
(May 2, 1916 - June 24, 2014)

AHS Class of 1933

Robert C. ďBobĒ Coombe was born May 2, 1916 at Mt Zion, Illinois, the second son of Clarence and Mabel Vermillion Coombe. Robert and his family moved to Arcola in 1918, where he attended Arcola schools until his graduation in 1933. While in high school, he was a four-year member of both the football and basketball teams. Robert entered the University of Illinois in the fall of 1933 to study business. He began his military training in Army ROTC and was also a Theta Chi fraternity member during his two years at the university. Robertís longtime banking career, spanning more than sixty years, began as bookkeeper at The First National Bank of Arcola during his summer breaks from college. He was later promoted to Cashier. Robert then took over the family farming operation from 1940-1943 while serving on the bankís Board of Directors. He joined the Army Air Corps in March 1943, attained the rank of Corporal and worked as a flight engineer at seventeen different air bases in the U.S. during World War II. After completing his military service in 1945, he returned to Arcola to farm for twenty-four years and again served on The First National Bank of Arcola Board of Directors from 1964-1974. Robert was instrumental in the formation of the bankís Trust Department and served as Trust Officer 1969-1974. Robert later served as the bankís internal auditor before retiring in 1996 at age eighty.

Robertís personal integrity, humble leadership and enduring commitment to Arcola and its service organizations have served our community well. He is Past President and sole surviving 1947 Charter Member of Arcola Lions Club. Lions International recognized Robert as a Melvin Jones Fellow for his commitment to humanitarian work. The Arcola club also conferred upon Robert a life membership in 1985. He is a seventy-three year member of Arcola Masonic Lodge, longtime Douglas County Farm Bureau member and supporter of the Arcola Boy Scout program. Robert also served on the Arcola High School Board of Education, was a member of Arcola Chamber of Commerce and is a Life Member of Arcola Foundation. He was chosen 1997 Broom Corn Festival Grand Marshal for his lifelong dedication and service to our community. Robertís military service was recognized in 2010 when he and other veterans traveled to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Central Illinois Honor Flight. He is an eighty-three year member of Arcola Presbyterian Church, having served as deacon, elder and trustee.

Robert and Hester McMillen, music teacher in the Arcola schools, were married on July 18, 1940. They shared more than sixty-six years together before Hesterís passing in 2007. Their sons, Robert E. and William, were raised on their family farm west of Arcola. Robert and Hester are the proud grandparents of four and two great-grandsons.

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Last Revision November 10, 2017