Brigadier General Robert I. “Bob” McCann, USAF (Ret) went to the Lord on January 26, 2021.
Bob was the loving husband of Waltraud McCann and the father and stepfather of five daughters and three sons: Linda Stewart (Henry) of Atascadero, CA, Robert Waldbillig (deceased), Kelly Maffeo (Robert) of Foxboro, MA, Penny Pennington (John) of Warrenton, VA, Maureen McCann of Walpole, MA, Michael Waldbillig (Michelle) of Tucson, AZ, Stephanie Elia (Dennis) of Norton, MA, and Christopher Wiener of Brevard, NC. In addition there were 17 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren.
Bob was the oldest of the seven children of James and Mary McCann, both deceased, and grew up in Dedham, MA where he attended St. Mary’s School, graduating in 1949, and Dedham High School, graduating in 1953. In 1958 Bob graduated from West Point and was commissioned directly into the Air Force. He was married in June 1958 and had four beautiful daughters however that marriage broke up in 1977. In August, 1979 Bob married Katharine “Katie” Waldbillig and they had a loving marriage until Katie’s death in January, 2009. In December 2010 Bob married Waltraud “Trauti” Wiener and they had a truly wonderful life together.
Bob held a variety of positions in the Air Force including flight instructor, squadron commander, wing commander, air division commander, and finally retiring as Vice Commander, 9th Air Force. He spent the majority of his time in flying assignments with only a few assignments out of the cockpit. One such assignment was his assignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon where he was head of the Regional Negotiations Division and a member of the U.S. Mission negotiating arms control in Central Europe with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations in Vienna, Austria.
During the Vietnam War Bob flew 154 combat missions in the RF-4 “Phantom” with 105 of those missions flown over North Vietnam. He was shot down by anti-aircraft fire during one mission over North Vietnam however he managed to get his aircraft out to the Gulf of Tonkin where he ejected and was rescued by an Air Force helicopter.
Bob held a number of awards and decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit (2), Distinguished Flying Cross (2), Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Air Medal (13).
Following his retirement from active duty Bob worked for six years with BDM, an engineering services company in Albuquerque, NM, analyzing the results of operational tests of Department of Defense weapons systems and developing and testing methods of verifying arms control agreements. He retired from BDM in 1993 and devoted full time to building his own airplane which he and his wife flew all over the country for several years.
In December, 2010, Bob married Waltraud “Trauti” Wiener in Brevard NC. In 1970 the Wiener and McCann families had been stationed together in England at RAF Alconbury, a small base about 60 miles north of London and following that assignment their paths had crossed several times. Trauti’s husband Dale died in October, 2008, three months prior to the death of Bob’s wife. Bob and Trauti got together at a reunion of a squadron in Germany that both Dale and Bob had flow with. Bob and Trauti were subsequently married in December, 2010, in Trauti’s hometown of Brevard, NC. There they built a new home, enjoyed a wonderful life and traveled extensively in Europe and Africa.
Bob loved his family, his God, his country and his work and tried to serve them all to the best of his ability.
A Memorial Service for Brigadier General Robert McCann will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 28. 2021 in the chapel of Moore-Blanchard Funerals & Cremations with Father Shawn O’Neal officiating.
Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery.
To leave a condolence or memory for the family of General Robert McCann, please visit “obituaries” at www.moore-fh.com.
Moore-Blanchard Funerals & Cremations is honored to serve the family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert I. McCann, please visit our floral store.