The Millville Army Air Field Museum lost one of its truest, most loved long-time friends with the passing of Robert “Bob” Goldstine on April 22, 2011. Bob was 90.
Those of us who date back to the found-ing of our museum in 1988 remember that Bob was already there working to help establish a place to keep the WWII aviation history alive: his history and that of his many comrades who served at Millville and then in the European and Pacific theatres of war.
Born in Oswego, New York, Bob came to Millville in 1942 as an airplane mechanic for the Army Air Corps. He was stationed here for 26 months as a mechanic doing engine work on P-40 Warhawks and P-47 Thunderbolts. Bob was one of the young men who did their basic training in Atlantic City at the Tremor, which is now Resorts Interna-tional Casino Hotel. Toward the end of the war in 1945, Bob was sent to Mitch-ell Field on Long Island to complete his term of duty. He was discharged in 1946.
While stationed at Millville, Bob fell in love, and married Madeline Milita in 1944. He moved to Millville perma-nently after his discharge in 1946 and had lived here ever since.
Bob served our country. He served at Millville. And he continued to serve at Millville Airport by volunteering at the Millville Army Air Field Museum throughout his lifetime. To all of us who knew him, Bob was a relentless worker and an incredibly good friend.
Bob retired in 1983, after working for many years in the laboratory glass industry. He enjoyed fishing, wood-working and gardening, but most of his time after retirement was spent at the Millville Army Air Field Museum. Bob was devoted to his three children — Dick Goldstine (wife Marilyn), Donna Pio (husband Ed), and Ray Goldstine — five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Son Dick is continuing in his father’s footsteps as a daily volunteer at the museum, offering his expertise in all areas of maintenance and repair.
Everyone at the museum was so proud to know Bob Goldstine. He was one of our founding members who gave countless hours to the restoration of the buildings, creation of displays, and to the activities at the museum. He was a valuable part of the history of the Millville Air Base and held his memories close to his heart. Bob was a genuine friend to all of us. We will remember his hard work, his help and concern, and his smiling face.
In 1992 Bob offered these memories of his service at the Millville Army Air Field:
“There were so many men here that it was hard to know them well, except for the guys in my own barracks,” recalls Bob. “There were radio men, men who worked in armament, the tow target crews… it’s hard to imagine the number of people who were active here.
“I remember the USO dances in the theater, which also served as the church. The building is still here at Millville Airport. Later they built a big gymnasium, but that burned down. Then they built a “non-coms” (non-commissioned officers) club. The USO tour came here. I remem-ber seeing Donald O’Connor.
“The local people were very friendly,” Bob continued, “opening their homes for Sunday dinner and taking us on trips to the Jersey shore.
“Lots of men married local girls. Then they could live in town. It was called ‘separate rations’ — you couldn’t eat in the mess hall anymore. Well, some of us still got away with it…,” Bob chuckled.