Robert Winks passed away Monday, May 19, 2008, at home with his wife of 64 years, Rae, and his daughter, Robyn, in Hemet. Bob and Rae had moved to Hemet three years ago from San Marcos to be closer their daughter in Idyllwild.

Bob was born in Sumner, Iowa, in December 1923. He attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., until he volunteered for the USAAF Cadet Training in 1943. He was assigned to the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, Eighth Army Air Force in England. He named his P51D Mustang plane the “Trusty Rusty” after his redhead girl at home, Nellie Jane (Rae).

Bob went on to become a decorated ace fighter pilot in WWII, and a successful entrepreneur and business executive in later life. He and Rae began their life-long love affair with California when they moved to Pasadena in 1950, where they started their family.

Bob Winks was an honorable, generous and joyful man who loved his country, believed in hard work and helping others. When Rae became ill with Alzheimer’s several years ago, he applied his strong determination and love to return to her the care she had shown him while he was “out slaying dragons” in their prime. If one could receive a medal for courageous care and selfless devotion beyond the call of duty, Bob Winks would have it.

His energetic and wildly optimistic spirit touched the lives of many people he encountered over the years. The world is a little better place because he was here.

He leaves behind two very grateful and proud daughters, Wendy Winks of Santa Monica, and Robyn Winks of Idyllwild, his son-in-law, Jim Crandall, and his still redhead bride, Rae Winks of Hemet.

Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday, May 31, at Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City, CA 90230.