Robert “Bob” Wayne Hotz, 86, of Rushville passed away Friday, July 26 at Chadron Community Hospital after a prolonged illness. He was born on March 24, 1933 to Arthur Wayne and Georgia Isabell (Downing) Hotz at their farm north of Rushville.
Bob attended the Extension grade school and Gordon High School, graduating from GHS in 1950. After graduation, he drove a cattle truck and worked for a seismograph company in Wyoming. In 1953, Bob enlisted in the Navy as a way to have some adventures and see the world. After bootcamp he found himself headed for the South Pacific as a member of the Seabees where his battalion rebuilt bases destroyed in WWII. Bob’s time as a Seabee found him bouncing from the South Pacific to Alaska then back to the South Pacific and finally California.
In 1957, the Navy decided to send Bob off to college and he elected to go to Chadron State College for a B.A. in Industrial Arts. It was during this time that he met a friend of his sister, a young lady by the name of Donna Mae Kruger and decided to ask her out on a date. It was the first of many and after 4 years of college, Bob and Donna set another date.
On July 8, 1961, Bob married Donna at the United Methodist church in Gordon. After a short honeymoon, Bob was in Newport, R.I. completing Officer’s Candidate School and Donna was finishing up nursing school. Their first of many assignments together was in San Diego, CA where Bob was stationed aboard the USS Paul Revere and obtained his “ship driver’s license” in typhoons in the Pacific. It was during this time that their first child, Arthur Wayne was born. Next up was an assignment as Shore Patrol commander in Corpus Christi, TX where their second child, James Patrick was born. Following that, Bob was assigned to the destroyer escort USS Whitehurst, DE638 in Bellevue, WA where their third child DeOnna Marie was born.
He kept up the hard work with assignments as a staff officer at the Navy Training Center in Chicago, student at the Navy Command School; served in Vietnam from 1971 thru 72 as Deputy Commander of LSB An Thoi RVN; and was based in San Jose, CA as commander of the Navy and Marine reserve centers for the 10th and 11th Naval districts.
Bob got his wish and his career in the Navy took him all over the US and the world. One of his favorite assignments was the submarine base in Holy Loch, Scotland where he was the engineering and communications officer for the USS Holland, AS32. This time around Bob got to bring his family with him so he set up housing in the Highlands in a 250 year-old traditional cottage. As much free time as possible was spent touring Scotland, England, and several European countries.
Bob retired from his 24-years of active duty in November 1977 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, USNR. For his next adventure he moved the family back to Gordon where Donna and the kids had lived while he was in Vietnam. The house they moved into was directly across the street from the Gordon clinic and, while the household was being set up, Bob was offered the position as head of maintenance for the Gordon hospital. He decided to take the job, remarking that the boilers and electrics were like a ship’s only they didn’t move so much and the commute to work was really short. Bob worked as head of maintenance for 13 years before taking his second retirement. This time Bob and Donna moved to the family farm (A.G. Hotz place) north of Rushville where he resided until health reasons forced him to move to Crestview care home in Chadron.
Bob was a member of the American Legion and a member of the Elks for many years. He enjoyed golf, fishing, woodworking, history, and RV camping. He took great pride in his family’s achievements and was always ready with a helping hand for anyone in need and “hard won” advice for his children.
Bob is survived by his wife Donna; two sons and their families, Art and Darcy, Logan, and Lauren of Rose Hill, KS and Jim, Josee, Wyatt, and Ty of Gothenburg, NE; and daughter, DeOnna and her husband Drake Weibel of Broomfield, CO; and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Janet (Doug) Jones.
Services will be at 10 AM, Wednesday, July 31 at the the Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home in Gordon. Burial will take place at the Extension Community Cemetery north of Rushville. The family asks that memorials be sent to a cause chosen by the donor.