Robert Snipes: Autobiography

This is one of my father’s memoirs. He learned to use my mother’s computer so he could write and print them for us. This is the short version, which was expanded the following year into a more detailed, longer version. For the full story and links to all memoirs, see this page.

The following is a general history of my life as I remember it. Some dates may be slightly in error. No attempt was made to detail all my specific activities. This is a general record of my whereabouts, with some mention of significant events.

I was born August 29, 1922, in Sherman, Texas. My family moved to Abilene to accommodate my father’s work.

When I was about 4 years old, my father relocated to Dallas, Texas, and bought our home at 4236 Potomac, in Highland Park. My mother started teaching piano at that time (she continued teaching until the year before she died in 1983); Dad went to work as a cotton classifier. I started to school in 1927 and attended Bradfield Elementary School, only 2 blocks from our house.

In 1936, when was 13, my father received an offer to work for the American Cotton Shippers Association in France. He accepted the challenge and we moved to Le Havre, France, in June. My brother, Jack, had a good job and chose to remain in Dallas. My sister, Jean, went with us to France.

When we got settled in Le Havre, Mother decided I would get a better education if I continued my schooling in England rather than France. She researched many schools and decided on a Public Boarding School in Romsey, Hampshire, England. She enrolled me in Osborne House School and went there with me to help me get started.

By June 1937 Hitler was actively engaging in his escapades. This disturbed my father greatly, as rumors had it that France would soon be one of Germany’s objectives. My father resigned from his job and we returned to Dallas.

I entered Highland Park High School as a sophomore. Our house on Potomac Street was leased, so we rented an apartment across the street from the high school. We lived in that apartment at 4301 Emerson St. until I graduated in 1940. When the renter’s lease expired in 1941, we moved back to our Potomac Street house.

Following high school, I spent one semester at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, but was unable to continue because of financial difficulties. I then went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Administration, as an office boy.

After World War Il broke out in December 1941, I decided I would join the Navy and contribute to the cause. On Aug. 7, 1942, I entered the Navy Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet. After receiving my wings and my Commission as Ensign on April 14, 1943, in Corpus Christi, I spent two tours of duty aboard aircraft carriers in the South Pacific. Soon after the war ended in August 945, I was placed on inactive duty. In 1946 I joined the Navy Ready Reserve, to resume flying one week-end a month.

I got my old job back in Dallas with the Farm Credit Administration. After working about 6 months, I went back to SMU on the G.I. Bill. I received my Civil Engineering degree in 1950.

Following graduation, I was employed by the U. S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, in Denver, Colorado. I worked in Colorado for a year, then transferred to Fort Worth, Texas, where I worked for 2 years. In January 1953, I transferred back to Denver.

In December 1953 was grounded from flying because of a progressive hearing loss in my left ear. Because was no longer qualified to fly, I returned to inactive status. October 1 , 1959, I was put on the Navy Reserve retired list, with the rank of commander.

I met Marion in 1954 and we were married in Colby, Kansas, Dec. 11, 1954. We lived in my mother’s house at 945 Olive in Denver until we bought our first home at 1010 South York Street in late 1955. Our lovely daughter, Lynne, was born June 25, 1957. We sold our York St. home and moved in December 1959 to 70 South Dover St., Lakewood, to be closer to work. We lived there until February 1967, when I was assigned to a special water project in Alamosa, Colorado. We sold the Dover St. house and bought a house at 4 Princess Ann Place in Alamosa, where we lived until the project was completed in July 1970.

Still with the U. S. Geological Survey, I was then transferred to Grand Junction, Colorado, where I was Subdistrict Chief for 6 years. We lived at 2203 Mockingbird Ct. until June 1971, when we moved to 109 Hillcrest Manor. Our fine son, Corey, was born Nov. 30, 1971.

In November 1976, I was transferred to San Angelo, Texas, where I was Subdistrict Chief. We lived at 3630 Fieldwood.

I retired from Federal Service in March 1979, after 29 years with Water Resources and the U. S. Geological Survey. We sold our San Angelo home and moved, in June 1979, to an older home just east of Palestine, Texas, on the Old Jacksonville Highway. We lived there until November 1980, then moved to Sweetgum Lane in East Foothills, Lindale, Texas. We sold that home in June 1983 and moved to 2622 Boldt, Tyler, Texas, where we now live.

Robert J. Snipes (January 22, 1994)