Robert "Bob" Brook Dustrude

Army Badge
  • Name: Robert "Bob" Brook Dustrude
  • Location of Birth: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
  • Date of Birth: April 11, 1920
  • Date of Death: March 10, 2018 (97 years old)
  • Parents: Willard Dustrude and Ruth (Sheard) Dustrude
  • High School and Class:
  • College: 1948 - University of Wisconsin with a degree in mining engineering
  • Highest Rank: CAPT (Captain)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch: United States Army Air Forces
  • Date Sworn In:
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  • Date of Discharge:
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:
    Distinguished Flying Cross Armed Forces
    Meritorious Service Medal
    European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Service Stars

  • Military Highlights:
    Bob was a veteran of World War II and served in the European Theater flying P-51 Mustangs as a fighter pilot in the United States Army Air Corps.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Robert married Margery Catherine Loos of Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1947.

    Bob's career included employment by Butler Brothers and Hanna Mining Company in Cooley, Minnesota and Boeing in Seattle, Washington.

    Bob retired from Hanna Mining Company in 1981, and continued to pursue a longtime avocation making and selling his Dustrude Folding Saws.

    Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Margery, in 2010 and a sister, Shirley Vick.

    He is survived by a brother, John (Louise); three sons, Jim (Bjorn Davidson), Michael, and Mark; a daughter, Susan Dustrude Starr (Mark); two grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

    Even since childhood, "Bobby" was an original thinker, inventor and builder, creating his first functional car at age 12. After the war and decades before four-wheel drive SUVs became commonplace, he and Marge bought a new Willys Jeep to tow his handmade tent trailer on a honeymoon trip to Alaska the first year the Alaska Highway was open to the public. After settling in Minnesota, he built a log cabin, mainly using hand tools, from trees he felled himself. In an age of big fins on cars, Bob and Marge bought the first VW Microbus in Northern Minnesota, which Bob outfitted to sleep six for their annual three-week camping trips to the coasts. Winter, and his handmade skate sail, brought him great enjoyment, and the title "Sail King of Swan Lake" by the local paper, in addition to the more conventional skiing and skating which he and his family also enjoyed.

    The man whose 1938 Salutorian speech was "We Need More Air Pilots", later came to share the views of Dwight D. Eisenhower on the dangers of an overgrown military establishment, and Charles Lindberg's reverence for the natural world. His realization of how few material possessions we really need, paired with a genuine empathy for those who struggle to simply survive, formed a most humane world view.

    Active and healthy till the end, Bob breathed his last on his feet. The manner in which he lived his life, and his strength of will even during his last days, will be a continuing inspiration to all who knew and loved him.

    "Brilliant. And Good." was how one lifelong friend summarized Bob Dustrude. It is the hope of his family that our generations will succeed in stepping up to the challenges today as did the last to the challenges of their time.

    Bob died at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. He was cremated.

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