You are viewing the print version of this article. Click here to view the full version.
Columbia Missourian

Veteran remembered for his self-reliance

By Jasmin James
July 16, 2012 | 8:32 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A child of the Great Depression, Robert L. O'Bannon is remembered for his self-reliance and ability to persevere.

Robert L. O'Bannon of Columbia died Sunday, July 15, 2012. He was 82. 

Mr. O'Bannon was born in Pattonville on Feb. 13, 1930, to John and Cytha (Aston) O'Bannon.

He grew up during the Great Depression, in what his sister Iris Rumbaugh describes as a rougher but simpler time. 

"We made our own games with sticks and things. We had a hen house, and we would always pick a baby chick and name it," she said. "Then we'd sleep with it and carry it around."

Although he never married, Rumbaugh said Mr. O'Bannon was always a ladies' man.

"He was a very handsome young man," said Rumbaugh. "He loved the girls, but when they would flirt with him, he'd run and hide."

In 1948, Mr. O'Bannon joined the Air Force, and he served overseas for four years during the Korean War.

After returning from the war, he worked in construction. In 1972, he received a work-related injury that left him a paraplegic. His doctors only expected him to live 10 years longer, Rumbaugh said, but Mr. O'Bannon lived for 42 years after the accident.

He will be remembered for his self-reliance, his sister said.

"He drove, washed his car, mowed his lawn," said Rumbaugh. "He did all sorts of things."

Mr. O'Bannon was a member of the American Legion Post 202 and the St. Louis Iron Workers Local 396.

Mr. O’Bannon is survived by three brothers, John F. O’Bannon, of Fulton, Donald G. O’Bannon and Larry D. O’Bannon , both of Columbia; one sister, Iris D. Rumbaugh, of Hallsville; eight nieces; and six nephews. 

Private services will be held Thursday at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 W. Business Loop 70.

Memorial contributions can be made to the PET Project, 1908 Heriford Road, Columbia, MO 65202.

Tributes may be posted at