Robert Harold Wazlavek, a longtime resident of Parker, FL, before being displaced by Hurricane Michael, has died at his daughter’s home in Mooresboro, North Carolina. He was 92.
A native of Massillon, OH, he graduated Washington High School, worked for Republic Steel and was a member of the United Steel Workers. He joined the US Army Air Corps in 1947, and continued when the Air Force was reorganized as a separate branch.
After basic training in Texas, he was stationed at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL, where he married Sara Mae Crittenden. They were married for 56 years until her death in 2007, and had seven children, all born on military bases. They retired to Montgomery after a career that took him and his family to assignments in Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina and Okinawa. They moved to Florida in 1970.
Mr. Wazlavek began his career as a radar operator, and served in Okinawa during the Korean War, guiding aircraft returning to base from bombing runs over N. Korea. He became a radar instructor at Keesler AFB in Mississippi, and went on to service and inspect radar units in Alaska, including Distant Early Warning sites in the Arctic. His final assignment was as supervisor of a communications unit at Pope AFB in N. Carolina. He was the 13th person promoted to Master Sergeant in the USAF.
Mr. Wazlavek was a charter member of the Callaway No. 369, F&AM Masonic Lodge for 46 years. He achieved the 32nd Degree, served as Junior Warden, twice as Senior Warden, twice as Worshipful Master, and later as lodge treasurer. He held various roles while serving in appendant bodies of Masonry, including assisting his wife Sara in her roles within the Order of Eastern Star. He was a certified instructor of Masonry and was renowned for his lectures explaining Freemasonry.
Mr. Wazlavek graduated summa cum laude with a degree in accounting from the University of West Florida, and served on the board of the Tyndall Federal Credit Union.
Mr. Wazlavek was an accomplished auto mechanic, and maintained the personal cars for his extended family. He was an amateur pedal steel guitar player, taking part in weekend jam sessions locally. He was an avid reader, especially of Zane Grey, Louis Lamour and other western-themed writers.
His home was heavily damaged during Hurricane Michael in 2018, and Mr. Wazlavek moved in with a son in north Georgia. After being injured in a fall, his health began to deteriorate, complicated by long-standing illness.
Mr. Wazlavek was preceded in death by his wife, Sara. They are survived by seven children and their spouses, including James Michael Wazlavek (Denise Norris), Richard Wazlavek (Carol Andrus), Thomas Wazlavek (Laura Bjorklund), Susan Durko (John Durko), Linda Wazlavek, and Kathleen Barnes (Antonius Barnes); multiple grandchildren, including Matthew Wazlavek, Robert Joseph Wazlavek; Cody Maddox; Garret Barnes, Kaitlyn Yawn; Amber Wazlavek, Aaron Wazlavek; Adrian Wazlavek; and several great-grandchildren.
No formal services will be conducted.