Robert M. Bayless

Colonel Robert Marion Bayless, 90, of Kansas City, Kan., died, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, at Providence Place. He was born Oct. 23, 1927, in Monmouth, Ore., the son of Walter and Agnes (Clark) Bayless.

Robert Bayless

On July 28, 1951, Robert married Elizabeth “Betty” McBride of Ottumwa, Iowa. She survives at the home. He is also survived by a son, Robert (Peggy) Jr.; a daughter, Karen L. (John) Van Vleet; three grandchildren, Steven (Raquel), Sara and Michael; and two great-granddaughters, Alexis and Anna.

Robert graduated high school in Blaine, Wash., in 1945. He went to Washington State University where he played varsity basketball for one year prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1946. He left service in 1948 to enroll in the University of Washington ROTC program. Upon graduation in 1951 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry. Robert has tours of duty in Alaska, Germany, Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Ord, Calif., Ft. Hood, Texas, and Reno, Nev., before being deployed to Vietnam in 1962 as an advisor to a South Vietnamese Infantry Brigade. His experiences in Vietnam had a lasting impact on him throughout his life by what he felt were misguided political decisions that kept us in the war. It impacted him so much that in 2005 he wrote a book on his experiences titled: Vietnam – Victory Was Never An Option. Upon returning from Vietnam he had tours of duty at Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Washington, D.C., a second tour in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Fort Harrison, Ind. His final two tours of duty were as the Director of ROTC at North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D. and the regional ROTC Commander at Fort Lewis, Wash. He retired from active duty in June 1980. His service to his country did not end as he put his uniform back on and went to serve in the DODDS system providing JROTC instruction in Nuremberg and Heidelberg to the sons and daughters of service members stationed in Germany for over 7 years. Robert and Betty then settled in Lacey, Wash., until 2004. At that time, they moved to Sun City, Ariz., where they resided until 2015. In 2015 they moved to the Kansas City area to be close to family.

Robert is preceded in death by his parents and his two sisters, Florence Preder and Marjorie Quarles Sandsted.

A graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, at Leavenworth National Cemetery. Arrangements in care of R.L. Leintz Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that all donations be made to the Vietnam Veterans of America at https://vva.org.