Robert Buyse

In the cool calmness of an early spring morning, April 17, 2021, Mom came and got Dad to take him home. He was 92 and living in Fair Oaks, CA.

Born on December 8, 1928 in Mankato, MN, Bob was one of 5 children born to Leonard and Daphne Buyse. Bob and his siblings grew up in the Jungles of the Congo Republic located in central Africa. His parents ministered the word of Christianity to the Pygmies, one of the earliest inhabitants of the region during the 1930-40's. During this time, Bob's mother translated the entire Bible into the Swahili dialect, of which they still use to this day. Most days while in the Congo, Bob could be found playing with the other village children and feeding and tending to the village's elephants.

After a much needed 3-month yearly furlough in the states, Bob and his siblings set out to return to Africa during the spring of 1941. Early on the morning of April 17, 1941 Bob and his family were asleep aboard the ship the "Zam Zam" when it was shelled and sunk off the coast of South Africa by the German raider ship Tamesis. After being held prisoner for 32 days, the 140 American Missionaries, bound for various fields of service in Africa, were set free in occupied France. Shortly thereafter, after losing everything, the family returned to the States where his family continued to be active in the Africa Inland Mission. His parents served for over 44 years as missionaries in the Congo.

After graduating from college, Bob joined the Air Force and quickly rose to 1st Lieutenant. In the spring of 1947, he met the love of his life, Minnie Campbell and they slowly started dating over the years. After Bob got his "Wings" in the Air Force, he made it his habit to "Buzz" the Campbell family farm in Lake Crystal, Minnesota in his F94-C at a low 200 feet above the ground and then throw on his afterburners! Well, as you can imagine, neighbors and hired hands were not amused when they had to round up all the scattered farm animals! The neighbors all knew when Robert Buyse was coming to town. Bob was also a member of the 'Caterpillar' club after ejecting from his F94 after experiencing mechanical issues.

Bob and Minnie were soon engaged, and they married in 1952. During this time in the Air Force, they lived in a trailer in Alabama before finally moving to Rome, New York. During these early Air Force years, Bob traveled to California and worked at McClellan Air Force Base as a test pilot for 3-month durations. After returning to New York and upon his discharge from the Air Force, Bob convinced Minnie to move to California.

Bob and Minnie relocated in Carmichael, CA and soon thereafter, Bob was hired by Nicolaus Optical as an Optician. When Bob finally retired after 35 years, he had worked his way up to President of Nicolaus Optical, and upon his retirement he oversaw 13 office locations in Sacramento. Bob also proudly served as President(s) of California Association of Dispensing Opticians (CADO) and The National Academy of Opticianry (NAO).

During these early years in California, Bob & Minnie were a part of the founding members of Arcade Baptist Church and were extremely instrumental in Arcade's early functions and outreach. Minnie was the Primary Choir director for children, and during this time, they created two singing groups which Bob managed. They often toured the Hawaiian Islands and local churches. Each group produced their own albums, which financed their tours.

When Bob was not working, he could be found on the tennis court, and Minnie was his match! They loved playing with friends, their kids and each other at the club. Bob continued to play into his early 70's where after having a surgical procedure, he hung up his racquet.

Throughout his long life, Bob will always be remembered as a man who loved playing pranks on his close friends and family. We will always remember his laugh, but also his ability to write beautiful poetry and poems to his family and grandchildren. He was a man of many talents and unwavering acceptance and encouragement to all. Bob was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 64 years Minnie in 2016.

Bob left behind daughters Nancy (Butch) Corum, Debbie (Denny) Bilton and son Brad (Troy) Buyse-Stauss, and his 3 grandchildren, Dustin, Danielle and Cassandra, and 4 great grandchildren, Peyton, Carson, Micah and Avery.

Bob's life will be celebrated by a private family memorial.

Remembrances in Bob's name can be made to Africa Inland Mission.

Bob will be forever missed but never forgotten.