Robert F. Bales Jr. passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, after a three-year battle with effects from a stroke.He was born Jan. 17, 1951, in Chattanooga. At the time of his death, he was surrounded by family and friends. Bob was a loving husband and father who always put the needs of his family ahead of himself and will be missed greatly.He attended Brainerd High school and received a degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Bob proudly served in the United States Navy from 1977 through 1997, attaining the rank of commander. After receiving his Aviator Wings in 1978, Bob was attached to Patrol Squadron 24 based out of Jacksonville, Fla. He received the Navy Expeditionary Medal for a United Nations peace keeping mission as patrol plane commander of the P3 Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft that escorted Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat from Lebanon to Greece in 1982. Later as an instructor for Training Squadron 2, Bob received an award for over 1000 hours of accident free training in the T34 aircraft. His other awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation with Bronze Star, the Navy Sea Service Deployment medal with Bronze Star, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal. His last active duty station was NAS Milton Fla., and he retired from NAS Atlanta.After retiring from the Navy, Bob became a Captain for American Airlines flying for over 25 years. During his career as an aviator, he piloted a number of aircraft including the T34, T44, P3 Orion, 727, 737, 757, 767and DC10.He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Elizabeth Bales; grandparents, Jack and Winifred Little; and sister, Pamela Bales.He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Gail Fickle Bales; and his three children, Scott and wife, Buffy, Jill and husband, Eric Brandon and Patrick. Other survivors include Ralph and Peggy Fickle, Ken and Jan Fickle Hudgins; sister, Carol Bales Hullander and her husband, Jeff. As well as nieces and a nephew, Beth, Bryan and Eleanor.Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20, at Chattanooga Funeral Home, North Chapel. The memorial service will be on Sunday at 3 p.m.Interment to follow to Hamilton Memorial Gardens.In lieu of flowers, the family requests a memorial gift be made to the American Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org) in honor of Bobs kidney transplant in 2006.Please share your thoughts and memories at www.ChattanoogaNorthChapel.com.Arrangements are by the Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory & Florist, North Chapel, Highway 153, Hixson, TN 37343.