MASON CITY: Robert W. Abernathy, (Ab to his friends), age 85, of Mason City, died Sunday, December 14, 2008 at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, December 17, 2008, at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services. Interment will be at Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Willow Point or Hospice of North Iowa.
Robert was born March 31, 1923 in Pulaski, TN, the youngest of 4 children born to Clarence and Minnie (Parks) Abernathy. He also had twin half brothers, which all preceded him in death. He served his country in WWII flying P51 fighter planes becoming an ace after shooting down one of the first German jets during the war. His experience was captured on canvas by two local artists and he is listed in several books. A replica of his plane hangs in the Sullivan Brothers Grout Museum in Waterloo, IA. In 1946 he married the former Julia Bulie Orton of Algona, IA. She died in 1985. They had 2 children. Carol Jean Merches of Davenport, IA and Diane Lynn Benson of Onalaska, WI. They moved to Iowa in 1955, where he worked for Bell Telephone Co. as an installer for 35 years. He was active in Barbershoppers and was a singer and active in his church, the 5th Street Church of Christ. He was an avid gardener and baseball enthusiast. He was very generous with friends and neighbors and will be known for his southern accent and friendliness.
He is survived by his 2 daughters, his two sons-in-law: Mark Merches and Davis Benson; two grandsons: Chris Merches of Davenport and Clayton Merches of Memphis, TN; two great grandsons: Brayden and Caleb Merches of Memphis.
He spent the last years of his life at Willow Point Assisted living, which he dearly loved. We would like to thank the staff at Willow Point and Hospice of North Iowa for such good care.