John Robert Isaksen (Bob), born on 5 October 1919, died peacefully in his sleep on 15 September 2019 just shy of his 100th birthday. Born in Two Harbors MN to Anna Regina (Runsvold) Isackson and Jacob Isackson, he lived a full and wonderful life. He graduated from Pomona College in CA, majoring in Music. While there he composed and orchestrated works in all genres. As a child he was inspired by Lindberg’s flight across the Atlantic and dreamt of flying. His dream became reality when he applied for a commission in the US Navy and graduated from Navy Flight School in Pensacola. In 1944 he married the love of his life, Anne Beverley Bennett (Bev), in Norfolk VA. During World War II he flew a number of different aircraft in operations in both the Caribbean and Pacific theaters. When the Navy was downsized after the war he left active duty and flew for Pan American Grace in South America, based in Lima, Peru. Several years later he had the opportunity to fly with the Navy again, and he jumped at the chance. He flew on missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars and his career took him on tours to Washington, DC, and Honolulu HI, as well as to Nato Headquarters in Oslo, Norway. Both his parents had emigrated from Norway in the late 1800’s and Bob enjoyed exploring his parent’s homeland with his wife and two daughters. He retired from the Navy in 1966 as CDR, USNR.
After retirement he embarked on a second career with the General Services Administration in Washington D.C. He continued flying as a private pilot, and also enjoyed the silence and freedom of gliding. After a second retirement, he and Bev moved to Maine where he revived his musical gifts by arranging music for Bev’s solo performances in the theater there. He also pursued his artistic talents and enjoyed painting and showing his work in various local exhibitions. He continued with both musical and visual arts when he and Bev moved to Tarboro NC and then to Norfolk VA.
He was predeceased by Bev in 2015 after 70 years of marriage. He is survived by daughters Kristan Lynd Huddle (husband Stephen died in 2017) of Norfolk VA, and Karen Anne Glick and husband Dean of Carlisle PA. He will be missed by grandchildren Mary (Huddle) Dolack and husband Monte of Missoula MT; Michael Huddle and wife Poy Um of Richmond VA and their children Bennett, Lyndon, and Warren; Matthew Huddle and wife Katherine Hughes of Norfolk VA and their children Elizabeth and Jacob; Megan (Glick) Kless and husband Andrew of Rochester NY, and Emily (Glick) Rabe and husband Brian of Budapest HU and their son Walter.
In 1972 Bob changed his family name back to its original spelling because, as the last living male in his family, he wanted it to “go out as it was spelled originally”. And so it has…
The family will celebrate his life in a private memorial service, and when arrangements are confirmed, both Bob and Bev’s ashes will be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery. Additionally, some ashes will be saved and scattered in Norway according to their wishes.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to all the staff at both Province Place of De Paul, and Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater for their kind attentiveness and gentle care. Bob also wanted to thank the staff and management at both D’Egg restaurants in Norfolk for their friendship, oatmeal, grits, and eggs. Memorials in Bob’s name may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Freda H. Gordon Hospice.