Robert Wayne McCombs, Sr., 91, Sharpsville, passed away at 4:20 pm Monday, July 15, 2019, at Ascension St. Vincent in Kokomo. He was born March 2, 1928, in Kokomo, the son of the late Glen William & Carmen (Brown) McCombs. On February 12, 1946, he married Wanda May Bagley and she survives.
Robert worked at the American Legion golf course driving range, Med-O-Bloom Dairy, General Electric Company of Kokomo, and the Earlywine Standard Oil Station. In 1954 he began his career at Delco Radio in Kokomo as a security guard. He was promoted quickly to foreman in the housekeeping department, then maintenance supervisor, maintenance general supervisor, and in 1975 to superintendent of maintenance. He took his job very seriously and expected those who reported to him to do the same. He worked long hours and did not spend his time in the office, but on the floor making sure the job was done correctly. Because of his attention to detail and firm supervisory style, he was fondly referred to as “Mother McCombs” by his staff. He retired from Delco Electronics in September of 1987.
Robert joined the Howard County Masonic Lodge #93 in 1957. He served in all five principle offices, including Worshipful Master, of the Sharpsville Masonic Lodge and received his 50-year membership award from the Naphtali Lodge #389. He was a member of the Scottish Rite and achieved the 32nd degree of Freemasonry. He was a member of the Shriners International, Murat Shriners Tipton County Shrine Club. He served as President and participated in the Shriner motorcycle parade unit for several years. He was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Tipton Lodge #1012. He was a member of the Antique Automobile Association, driving his 1925 Model T Ford on road rallies and in local parades. His grandchildren loved to cruise down the road or wave in parades as their grandpa tooted his Model T horn.
Education was very important to him. He provided the opportunity and many funds for his children to attend college. He was the proudest person present at countless graduation ceremonies at high school and colleges for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. His community service extended to election to the Tri-Central School Board for which he served as a member and Board President.
He was and excellent golfer, having started playing as a child when he worked on the American Legion Course, shagging balls and working on the grounds. He learned well with his mismatched clubs, and as an adult he could hit very long drives down the fairways. He participated in several bowling leagues in Kokomo, including the Delco Bowling League. He was always on hand to cheer or coach his sons in baseball.
He loved the Indianapolis 500 and attended many races beginning as a young teenager. His children often remarked that there would have been more movies of them, if they had wheels. He followed his love of auto racing onto the track in 1981. He was a member of the National Modified Midget Association (NMMA) and raced in Indiana and on several national tracks. In 1981, he was the NMMA Rookie of the Year; ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. National Points in 1982 and 1986; and in the top 10 of the U.S. Region 2 Points in 1984 and 1985.
After retirement, he and his wife became snowbirds spending their winter months in Bradenton, Florida. He was a Booster and volunteered at the club house gate during the spring training camp of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He loved woodworking and spent many happy hours in his garage. His grandchildren were the recipients of special, now treasured gifts of rocking horses, toy boxes, and decorative shelves.
He and his wife of 73 years enjoyed traveling. The family of eight had a camping vacation each summer to Indiana State Parks, as well as across the country to 37 states. On long road trips, he would drink his soda and listen to the Chicago Cubs on the radio. His favorite saying to the unruly brood behind him was, ‘Shut up, we’re going to have a good time’.
He left school at the age of 14 to earn money to care for his younger siblings. He was generous with is time, advise and funds, opening his home and heart to anyone who needed his help. This included several international exchange students, the friends of his children, and countless extended family members.
Along with his wife Wanda, Robert is survived by his children, Robert W. Jr. (Mona) McCombs, Nashville, IN, Patricia D. (Allan) Bowers, Kokomo, Dennis J. (Jill Anne) McCombs, Olathe, KS, Dr. Susan D. (Lawrence Mordan) McCombs, Greenwood, and H. Scott (Kathy) McCombs, Statesville, NC; grandchildren, Kimberly E. Woolery, Phoenix, AZ, Dr. James R. McCombs, Bloomington, Emily K. (Nathan) Haza, Columbus, IN, Claire A. McCombs, Westfield, Lara Vielee, Indianapolis, Jeremy E. Hassett, Kokomo, Erin C. (Brian) Salyers, Kokomo, Christine D. Stapf, Olathe, KS, Dr. Sarah E. Mordan-McCombs, Greenwood, and Joshua T. (Katy) McCombs, Statesville, NC; great-grandchildren, Hannah, Raymond, and Quinn Woolery, all of Phoenix AZ, Kaleb, Nathan, Sammy, Maritza, and Victoria Hassett, all of Maine, Jordan Maroney, and Brinn Salyers, all of Kokomo, Jude and Paul Stapf, of Olathe, KS, Alex, Emma, Fletcher, and Alison Vielee, all of Indianpolis; siblings, Herman A. (Debby) McCombs, Kokomo, James R. (Barbara) McCombs, Kokomo, and Earl D. McCombs, Kokomo, and Wanda J. Koegler, Cranberry Township, PA.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents; son, James W. McCombs; grandson, Zachary S. McCombs; and siblings, Leticha Little, Marguerite McCombs, Eva Dunlap, Luthera Hopkins, and Glen W. McCombs Jr.
Funeral service will be held at 11:00 am Monday, July 22, 2019, at Faith United Methodist Church, 1518 Faith Road, Kokomo, with his son Rev. Dennis McCombs officiating. Burial will follow in Albright Cemetery. Friends are invited to visit with the family from 1-3 pm Sunday at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory and one hour prior to the service on Monday at the church. A Masonic service will be held at 3:00 pm Sunday at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made in Robert’s memory to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607. Messages of condolence may be left online at www.shirleyandstout.com.