American Veteran 04

Leland (Bob) Robert Jessen

January 22, 1925 ~ September 9, 2020 (age 95)



   Bob Jessen was born in Spencer, Iowa on January 22, 1925, the only child of Esther Anna Arp and Leland Ray Jessen.  Growing up in Norfolk, Nebraska he caddied at the golf course, naming it “hunter golf.”  Bob graduated from Norfolk High School at age 18 in 1943, qualified for the Army Air Corps and enlisted.  Training at various air bases, he advanced to the B-29 Superfortress and graduated as a commissioned officer.  Ironically, while ferrying a B-29 Superfortress en route to war in 1945, the bomb was dropped, the war was over, and Bob was sent home.

   Bob attended a community college in Norfolk then received a Roger Babson Scholarship to Babson College in Wellesley Hills, Mass. He packed up his trunk, went down to the highway and thumbed rides across the country to Massachusetts. Drivers would pick up any GI then. He graduated with a BA degree majoring in business.  He took a job at General Motors Pontiac Motor Division, a commercial sales service instructor, then district manager in Dallas teaching hydromatic transmission repair to dealers.  He married Ann Haney and they had two children, Robert Eric and Kristianna.  The marriage later ended in divorce.

   Bob was hired by Beech Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas calling on dealers and distributors.  He left the factory to found Idaho Beechcraft with partner Rex McNeese and later bought Boise Air Service in Boise with partners John Runft and Steve Symms.  He and Gene Nora Stumbough met while both were flying the line at Beech and married in 1964.  They had two children, Briana and Taylor.  Briana and husband Tom LeClaire later provided grandchildren Mary-Michael, John and Esther.  Retirement in 2005 meant covering all those 48 states in which they’d flown, now via motorhome, across the USA and Canada.  They settled in Meridian, Idaho with their grandchildren across the street.  Bob and Gene Nora were fortunate to also enjoy a mountain home in McCall.  Bob lived 95 very full years.  

   Funeral services will be held at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, 10100 Horseshoe Bend Rd., Boise, Idaho 83714 on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. 50 people may attend the outdoor service; masks are required. Refreshments will follow at the Jessen home.

   As a lifelong Mason, Bob has chosen a Shriner service and any memorial donations would be appreciated for the El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St., Boise, ID  83702.

   Online condolences may be left for the family at

   Arrangements in care of McCall Funeral Home.


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Funeral Service
September 24, 2020

1:00 PM
Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, Idaho


El Korah Shrine
1118 W. Idaho St., Boise ID 83702
Tel: 1-208-343-0571

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