Mr. Gatlin was born at Goreville, Ill. on Oct. 21, 1933, to Willis Irving and Mary Ethel (Culver) Gatlin. At an early age he moved with his family to Baytown, Texas, where he completed high school. In 1951 he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served in Germany. He then spent time working in the oilfields in Louisiana and attended Texas A&M before re-enlisting in the Air Force in 1957 where he served at Castle Air Force Base, Calif. in air refueling, Hahn Air Force Base Germany, Norton Air Force Base California and Altus Air Force Base Oklahoma in simulator maintenance, retiring in 1983 after 30 years of military service.
On March 7, 1964, he married the love of his life, Carol Jean Rowe, in Des Moines, Iowa, and they spent the next 47 wonderful years together before his untimely death.
Robert spent his retirement years enjoying reading, collecting old cars, gardening, bird watching, woodworking, watching old black and white movies, listening to big band era music and working crossword puzzles. He enjoyed visiting with family and friends and especially the times spent with his grandchildren. He was an avid Cubs baseball fan and Bears football fan.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Richard Gatlin; six brothers, Willis Gatlin, Jr., Charles Gatlin, Walter Gatlin, Kenneth Gatlin, twins Clifford and Marvin Gatlin; and one sister, Mabel Irene Whitfield.
He is survived by his wife Carol of the home; three daughters, Mary Bryce of Saginaw, Texas and Bobby Bryce of Oklahoma City, Anne Koukal and husband Randy of Blair, and Sarah Dillahunty and husband David of Mangum; five grandchildren, Dylan Bryce, Eric Koukal, Kevin Koukal, Jordan Gatlin and Christopher Dillahunty; two grea-grandchildren, Kyler and Braxton; one sister, Velva Kelley of Wisconsin; along with many other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m., Monday at the Blair First Baptist Church with the Rev. Randy Mitchell and William Hensley, brother-in-law, officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Greer Funeral Home of Mangum.
Online tributes may be made to the family at www.GreerFuneral.com