Robert Diaz was born in Los Angeles, CA. on December 15, 1919 to Sesario and Virginia Diaz.
He attended San Fernando High School, then moved to the San Joaquin Valley with his parents and sisters in 1935.
Along with his parents he worked as a field worker for a while. He finally decided to leave the area and move to Oakland with a friend and started working as a welder in the shipyards. In 1943 dad joined the United States Air Force, (Army Air Corp. as it was called, then).
He was trained as a mechanic at first, then sent to gunnery school. He was then assigned to be the tail-gunner on the B-24 Liberator bomber. He flew 37 missions over Europe. He was shot down 3 times and lived to tell about it. He loved re-telling those war stories and ending his career, as S/Sgt. He was always proud to be called a WWII veteran, deservedly so! When he left the military, he came back to Merced where his parents were living. He worked several jobs.. including at a gas station, in the local movie theaters and finally for the Borden’s Dairy Co. for 20 years. During this time he married Nellie Navarro on Dec. 27, 1945, and they had 3 children.
After Borden’s Dairy closed, they moved to Reno, Nevada. Dad loved all sports, bowling, golfing, fishing and after moving to Reno, became an avid hunter. He was employed by the State of Nevada for 12 years and finally retired in 1982. They then moved back to Merced where he enjoyed golfing and doing woodworking in his garage. He made several wooden rocking horses for his grandchildren, and others.
He was pre-deceased by his wife, Nellie, in 2011 and leaves behind his 3 children Bobby Diaz, of Merced, Tom Diaz of Rancho Mission Viejo and Jeanie Lytal of Merced. Also surviving him are 2 sisters, Helen Mercado and Ann Franco, and 7 grandchildren and 12 great- grandchildren.
He will be greatly missed by many nieces and nephews also. “ Our hero forever” He was a lifelong member of the VFW Post 4327 and also the American Legion, Post 0083 Merced.
Services will be held at the Ivers and Alcorn Funeral home on Tuesday, May 18th.
Viewing will be held from 10:00 am-12:00pm. Service to begin at 12:00 P.M. with burial at Calvary Cemetery immediately after.
Please note all visitors are required to wear a face mask due to COVID restrictions while inside the chapel.
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