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Bob Serling 1918-2010

Jerome Robert Serling 1918-2010           

Born Jerome Robert Serling in Cortland, N.Y. on March 28, 1918 to Samuel and Esther Serling, Robert J. Serling grew up in Binghamton, NY, with his younger brother, Rod. Robert earned a degree in English from Antioch College in Ohio, and from 1942-44 served the U.S. Army as an Aircraft Identification Instructor. He then relocated to Washington, D.C., and spent the next 23 years working for U.P.I. (United Press International), covering the airline industry.

It was while in Washington that Robert would publish THE PROBABLE CAUSE, the first in what would prove to be a prolific bibliography of mostly aviation-themed fiction and non-fiction books (See complete list below). His 1967 thriller THE PRESIDENT’S PLANE IS MISSING spent thirty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and spawned a 1973 made-for-TV movie. Robert also provided technical advice and dialogue for some of his brother Rod’s teleplays, including Studio One’s “The Arena” and Twilight Zone’s “The Odyssey of Flight 33.” In 1976 in his capacity as Official Time Keeper and alongside pilot Arnold Palmer and two employees of Learjet, Robert broke the world record for flying around the world in a private jet.

Robert Serling belonged to the Society of Air Safety Investigators and the Aviation/Space Writers Association, and counted the following among his many accolades: Seven awards for Aviation News Reporting from Trans-World Airlines from 1958-65, the 1960 Strebig-Dobben Memorial Award, special citations from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation in 1963, the Flight Safety Foundation and the Airline Pilots Association in 1970, the Aviation/Space Writers Association James Trebig Memorial Award in 1964, and numerous other awards for both his fiction and non-fiction.

In 1968, Robert married Priscilla Arone and the couple had two children, Jennifer and Jeffrey. In 1981 the family relocated to Tucson, Arizona, where, in 2000, Priscilla passed away. In 2002 Robert married Patricia Hoyer.

Robert J. Serling passed on May 6, 2010, at the age of 92, with his wife and children by his side. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Hoyer; children, Jennifer Serling and Jeffrey (Michele) Serling and four grandsons, Caleb Serling, Robert Jeffrey Serling, Elliot Berard and Andrew Serling. A Memorial Service was held at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2450 E. Fort Lowell Road on Monday, May 17, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. A reception was held in the Fellowship Hall, following the service.

The family requested that remembrances be made in Robert Serling’s name to the Seattle Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, WA 98108.

Bob Serling book jacket
The President's Plane is Missing cover photo by Alex Gotfryd
  Non-Fiction by Robert J. Serling
1960   The Probable Cause: The Truth about Air Travel Today
1963   The Electra Story: The Dramatic History of Aviation’s Most Controversial Airliner
1966   The Left Seat
1969   Loud and Clear
1969   Birth of an Industry: A Nostalgic Collection of Airline Schedules for the Years 1929-1939 (Foreword)
1971   She’ll Never Get Off the Ground
1973   Ceiling Unlimited: The Story of North Central Airlines
1974   Maverick: The Story of Robert Six and Continental Airlines
1974   Little Giant: The Story of Gates Learjet
1976   The Only Way to Fly: The Story of Western Airlines, America’s Senior Air Carrier
1979   Wings
1980   From the Captain to the Colonel: An Informal History of Eastern Airlines
1982   The Jet Age: The Epic of Flight
1983   Howard Hughes’ Airline: An Informal History of TWA
1985   Eagle: The Story of American Airlines
1988   Countdown: An Autobiography (with Frank Borman)
1992   Legend and Legacy: The Story of Boeing and Its People
1997   When the Airlines Went to War: The Dramatic, Never-Before-Told Story of America’s Civilian Air Warriors
2006   Steel Rails and Silver Wings: The Lindbergh Line to the Birth of TWA
2008   Character and Characters: The Spirit of Alaska Airlines

Fiction by Robert J. Serling
1967   The President’s Plane is Missing
1977   McDermott’s Sky
1982   Stewardess
1985   Airforce One is Haunted
1990   Something’s Alive on the Titanic

Photo Album

Esther Serling and her sons Rbert and Rod, late 1920s
Esther Serling with sons Robert and Rodman, late 1920s
Rod and Robert on Bennett Ave in Binghamton, 1934
Rod and Robert at the Bennett Avenue home, circa 1934

Robert Serling with family friend Anne Goodman, 1945
Robert with Anne Goodman, 1945

Esther Serling, son Robert Serling and his wife Pat 1968
Mother Esther, Robert, wife Pat
Rod and Bob Serling, at Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY, 1968.
Brothers Rod and Bob at Cayuga Lake, 1968
Airliners International Convention, 2008

Robert J. Serling Links

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