Colonel (Ret.) Robert C. Looney, 90 years old of Sterling, Alaska, passed away in an automobile collision on Nov. 23 in Morristown, Ariz. His wife of 16 years, Beverly (Harmison) Hewitt, also perished in the same crash.
Bob was born in 1931, in Big Piney, Wyo., to Capitola Marguerette (Aus) and Dr. Vernon Lawrence Looney, MD. He and his older brother, Larry Looney, were raised to love hunting and ﬁshing throughout western Wyoming.
Bob graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1955, where he met Shirley Jean, who he married in 1956. Bob and Shirley raised ﬁve sons and a daughter all while he pursued his military career. After 47 years of marriage, Shirley died from leukemia in 2003.
Bob served 28 years in the U.S. Army and retired in 1983 with the rank of colonel. He served in Alaska and two combat tours in Vietnam. In 1971, he was a Battalion Commander at Fort Wainwright, Alaska and later he led the Army’s Arctic Warfare group. He attended the Army Command and General Staﬀ College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and Ranger’s Tab. His decorations included The Legion of Merit, four Bronze Stars, and two Meritorious Service Medals.
After retirement Bob returned to Pinedale, Wyo., and in 1983 he helped create the Sublette County Emergency Action Coordination Center, which is still in effect today. He was active in his community including with the Pinedale VFW, Big Piney American Legion and Sterling, Alaska Kenai Keys Homeowners Association.
While attending his Big Piney High School class's 55th reunion in 2005, Bob was reintroduced to Beverly (Harmison) Hewitt, who was also recently widowed. They were married in 2006.
Bob is survived by his six children, Steve (Megan), Ted (Susan), Peggy (Burke), Tom (Christa), Brian (Sue) and Jim (Terry), 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, a sister in law, Patty Looney, a niece Kathy (Brett) Gustafson, and a nephew, Mike (Rena) Looney.
Bob was an exemplary family leader with a robust sense of humor, an eye towards adventure, and rarely missed an opportunity to engage with his children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. His Ranger Tab protected him from hardships.
Burial will take place at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery in the summer of 2023.