Pilot Point, TX – Robert Ray Yochem, was born at Rest Cottage, in Pilot Point, on March 28, 1935, to Ethel Perdue, and adopted by Robert and Dorothy Yochem who raised him in New Mexico. He enlisted in the Army out of high school and served in the Korean War with an infantry unit. After his three years with the Army as a Private First Class, he got out and returned home to work with his father on the railroad, and shortly after re-enlisted in the Air Force where he served until 1975 and retired a Technical Sergeant. He was in EOD during the Vietnam War, and served an extra year past his retirement date at the request of the government because of his expertise. After retirement, he returned to the University of Colorado at Boulder attaining his advanced degree in Pharmacology at worked at Lowry AFB hospital. After this he opened a drug store and continued with his Pharmacy passion until he retired. He has been married over 50 years to his wife Barbara and they have four children and two grandchildren.
Our afternoon started with Lisa Kraft and I meeting the family at The Lone Star Lodge at 11:30, and we were joined by Geno Ibarra and Charles Zikowsky, who traveled with a bike escort to Ernesto’s where we met other members from the Legion. The American Legion Rider’s provided the family’s lunch. Mr. Yochem’s daughter had advised us that her dad was very humble and would be embarrassed by a riders escort; boy was she wrong about that! After lunch we met with the pastor of The Nazarene Church. Dewayne Edwards told us about how the church was formed and how Rest Cottage came to be and showed us its original location. He even gave Mr. Yochem some of the small pieces of wood from the original place where he was born. We then toured Skinner Cemetery where an area was nothing but babies from the Rest Cottage.
The tour then continued when we traveled to The Pilot Point Museum and met with Jay Melugin the Historian of Pilot Point. We heard more history and saw wonderful pictures in the museum. Melugin presented Mr. Yochem with a book that he had written about Pilot Point and a t-shirt. After that, we traveled to the American Legion Post 550 where we were met with a flag line that was just wonderful! We enjoyed an array of finger foods and homemade icecream made by Commander Rick Johnson. So many gifts were presented to the family that they may have had to purchase additional luggage to go home. A larger number of riders provided the escort back to The Lone Star Lodge. My proudest moment was when I was able to tell Mr. Yochem that Texas State Representative Patrick Fallon and his office had declared that day in the State of Texas as Robert Ray Yochem Day.