Bob Coburn

Published 12:53 pm Monday, March 13, 2017

Robert Coburn, 87, of Tryon, N.C., went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 9, 2017 in White Oak Manor of Tryon.

Bob was born in St. Joseph, Mo. on May 14, 1929, to the late Frank and Ethel Leonard Cockburn, but grew up in Vermillion, Kansas. He attended the University of Missouri from 1949-1952 where he graduated with a BA and an Ensign commission in the U.S. Navy. He married Dolly Radtke in April 1952 while still at the university.

After graduation, together they shared many deployments worldwide. The last naval deployment was in Honolulu, Hawaii after which Bob left the service. He maintained his discharge rank of LT and worked his rank up to Commander while in the naval reserve. One particular job he was rewarded with was that of being a Naval Advisor to young men who wanted to go to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

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While still in naval reserve, Bob attended Detroit College of Law, and passed the Michigan bar exam in 1959, becoming an assistant district attorney. Much of Bob’s legal expertise was in real estate law.

His favorite pastimes included skiing and flying. He was a qualified IFR pilot and flew the family around the United States. While on one of the trips, the family fell in love with the climate and people of Tryon, N.C. When his wife retired from secondary school teaching, the couple moved to Tryon in 1998, and maintained residence there until his passing.

Bob loved the Lord and often read the Bible through each year. He was an elder at Trinity Lutheran Church in Tryon which is Missouri Synod, and often remarked his church association was one of the most rewarding in his life. Knowing his faith, the family is assured that Jesus is cradling him now. So comforting to us, who loved and respected him and his worldly accomplishment is to realize that, Bob, as our Pastor Thomas Olson said, has “fought the good fight” and rests with our Lord Jesus awaiting reunion with his loved ones when our Lord comes again.

Surviving are his wife, Dolly Coburn; a daughter, Candace Lynn Pilarski of Michigan; four grandchildren, Robert L. Coburn, III, Ian Coburn, Geoffrey Ruonavaara, and Drew Ruonavaara. Also surviving are five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Robert Leonard Coburn, Jr. and a sister, Marie Magana.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 17, 2017 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Tryon, N.C. with Pastor Thomas Olsen officiating. A luncheon will follow the service.

Memorials may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, 3353 Hwy. 176, Tryon, NC 28782.

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel
Tryon, N.C.