Home: Salt Lake City, Utah
Death Date: February 6, 2018
Birthdate: October 1, 1938
Place Of Birth: Lordsburg, New Mexico
Service Information: Friday, February 23, 2018 6:00 PM
Service Location: Starks Funeral Parlor
Robert Emmett Brickey died peacefully of natural causes in his home on February 6, 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah, his loving wife, Janice Russell Brickey, by his side. Bob was born in Lordsburg, New Mexico, to his proud parents, Frank and Mildred Brickey. Bob was a determined athlete who became famous for his fiercely competitive spirit. As an East High School Leopard, Bob played on two State Football Championship teams: 1955 and 1956, and was inducted into the EHS Hall of Fame. Upon graduation, Bob earned an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, CO, where he continued his athletic career, was introduced to the Code of Honor that defined the rest of his life, and to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a military officer and pilot.
In 1958 he earned Helms All-American honors, leading the Falcons that year in receptions, recording 25 catches for 281 yards and four touchdowns. In 2015 the entire 1958 Football Team was inducted into the Air Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame for their undefeated season, which culminated in an epic Cotton Bowl game played in the snow against TCU, ending in a 0-0 tie! Alongside football, he was also on the varsity track team for 2 years, lettered in basketball, and was a member of the Mountaineering Club. He was also on the varsity ski team for three years, where he developed a love for the sport. Skiing became a passion of Bob's and played a major role in the decision to move back to Utah years later. He absolutely loved the mountains, and raised his family skiing every available weekend, and served as a volunteer ski patrolman throughout his adult life.
On The very same day he graduated from the Academy, June 7, 1961, Bob married his high school sweetheart, Janice Russell. Together, Bob and Jan drove to Webb AFB, TX, for his pilot training, where he once again excelled. He graduated first in his class, winning the Red Flag award, and earning the right to fly the airplane of his dreams, the F-104 Starfighter.
Bob served two tours in Vietnam, flying over 270 combat missions. He was fiercely patriotic and was forever proud to have served as a United States Air Force pilot in Southeast Asia. For his heroic and courageous actions as both a fighter pilot and forward air controller he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, 18 Air medals and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. He mourned the loss of many good friends and fellow American servicemen in Vietnam and was an avid supporter of the POW/MIA movement.
Bob returned to Utah in 1965 and began a career in commercial aviation. He flew for Pan American World Airways until December 1991. He finished his commercial flying career with United Airlines. Bob continued in the United States Air Force Reserve until retiring as a Colonel in 1998, after 37 years of service. While Bob commuted to New York and San Francisco every week throughout his career, he still found time to help coach little league football, build a family cabin in Midway, UT, Ski, and help raise a family.
Bob loved to travel, ski and enjoyed friends from all over the world. His special "Winos and Derelicts" group made up of a dozen Classmates of 1961 "Academy brothers" met annually to ski somewhere in Colorado each March. These "Whiskey/Deltas" would also retreat to the Sonoma Valley in CA for croquet tournaments at one of the Academy brother's winery in the summer. Later on when Bob was unable to travel, the group decided to meet in Telluride, CO, to celebrate the Fourth of July. These loyal friends flew a chartered airplane into Salt Lake City the last three years for a one-day reunion with their beloved Academy brother and his dear wife.
Robert Emmett Brickey will be remembered by all who knew him as a caring and loving husband, father, and friend. To his Whiskey/Deltas, and nearly anyone who knew him, he was the epitome of a loyal and committed brother, ever ready to provide his unconditional love and assistance. He is survived by the love of his life, Janice; children David (Stacie) Brickey, Thomas (Heidi) Brickey, and Andrea Brickey, all of Salt Lake City; grandchildren Xander, Isaac, Asher, MiaBella, Elijah, Aaron, Rosie, Jonah, and Lily; sisters Colleen Moss (Tim, deceased) of Indiana and Sue Allbee (Gen. David Allbee) of New York. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, William Brickey, and a sister, Carol Dudding.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, February 23, 2018 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 S. 900 E., Salt Lake City. Guests are encouraged to use the complimentary valet parking on the north side of the building. A graveside service will follow on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 10:00 AM at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 1342 E. 500 S., Salt Lake City.
In lieu of flowers, go skiing with your family. Bob would like that.