Robert 'Bob' Lee Peace
1917 - 1987
Bob was born in Irvine Kentucky, January 9th, 1917 and had just graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky when he decided to look for a little adventure. He became secretary to a Methodist bishop (Bishop Springer) in Zaire, then known as the Belgian Congo, and his adventurous life in Africa began!
When the United States entered World War II, Bob was notified that he would have to return to America to be drafted. However, he wasn't given any money to make the trip. He and about 100 other Americans in the same situation went to South Africa to join the military instead. Bob joined the South African Air Force and trained as a Pilot in early 1943 flying DH 82A, Oxford and Vickers Wellington aircraft at No 3 Air School, Wonderboom. He subsequently joined 26 Squadron SAAF and was based at Takoradi, Gold Coast (Ghana). His missions involved anti-submarine and convoy protection patrols over the Atlantic as well as transporting cargo. He served as a member of the South African Air Force until 1946.
He met and married the daughter (Joy Stauffacher) of a medical missionary. In 1952 he and his wife, Joy, moved to Mozambique where he continued his flying and served as a US consular agent. He had said the Americans visiting the country were always getting into trouble, drinking, and missing their ships, so he tried to watch out for them.
He hosted several Hollywood stars and other celebrities who came over to go on safaris. He did the flying for several Tarzan and other jungle movies. He also took photos of African game and sold them to Hollywood studios. Photography was a hobby Bob loved throughout his life. He won numerous awards for his wild life shots.
Bob was asked to leave Mozambique in 1964. He was a US consular agent and the Portuguese did not like the American attitude toward the Portuguese colonization. When the government canceled his pilots license preventing him from earning a living, he and his wife decided to relocate. In 1965 the Peaces packed up and moved to Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, where their two of their three daughters were in school. (The twins were in English schools in Zimbabwe as Mozambique is a Portuguese speaking country.) Bob was Chairman of the Salisbury Branch of SAAFA (South African Airforce Association) for some years.
As Rhodesia became unstable as it progressed through the war, Bob considered returning to the United States. After all three daughters bravely moved one by one with their families to America, Bob and Joy finally followed in 1980. They first went to Houston Texas, then settled in Southern California, where most of Bob's family was living.
Bob's travels began with his adventurous move from Kentucky to Zaire. From Zaire he moved on to Mozambique, then on to Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) where he settled for many years. He finally returned to America to reside in Southern California. Bob was always traveling. When he was young he accomplished this by flying. He enjoyed visiting South Africa- both Johannesburg and Cape Town. He ventured to London and Europe and made a few trips back to America before he finally returned there for good.
He read National Geographic constantly and enjoyed getting his hands on as much news from overseas as possible-no matter which side of the sea he was on. During the last few years of his life Bob collected every article he came across on the situation in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He documented everything in a large scrap book.
There is an online virtual memorial to Bob Peace at Virtual-Memorials.com. To visit this touching memorial please click here.
All Robert Peace material and photos kindly supplied by Bob's niece Sharon and Will Cornell.
A True Adventurer! As a young man Bob left Kentucky, USA and moved to the heart of Africa. There he met his wife and raised three daughters. He was an Air Force pilot, a bush pilot, a great photographer, and served as a consular agent. He was a man greatly admired and respected.