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Robert "Ike" Ikelman

January 1, 1938 March 11, 2021
Robert "Ike"  Ikelman
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Obituary for Robert "Ike" Ikelman
Lieutenant Colonel Robert “Ike” Ikelman, 83, of Dixon, CA, died peacefully in his home on March 11, 2021 surrounded by family and friends. His death was a result of the after-effects of a series of strokes. He will be so greatly missed by the many lives he touched with his gentle spirit and positive outlook.
Bob is survived by his wife, Donna (nee Lemna); children, Ann (John) Vandonk of Chino Hills, CA, Tom (Wendy) Ikelman of Roseville, CA, Kim (Brian) Jones of Folsom, CA, Karl (Jennifer) Ikelman of Woodland, CA, 12 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, brother Douglas Ikelman of Atlanta, GA, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Roberta Ikelman, formerly of Grand Forks, ND.
Bob was born on January 1, 1938 in Wilkinsburg, PA. At 9 he moved with his family to Grand Forks, ND. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1961 with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. To achieve his lifelong goal of flying airplanes he also completed the Air Force ROTC officers program while at UND. He married Donna Lemna in 1960.
He began his 28 year career with the United States Air Force in 1961, and over that time successfully completed many assignments. In 1962 he completed pilot training at Moody AFB, GA. From 1962-1965 he flew C-130's at Charleston AFB, SC. From 1966-1967 he served in Vietnam, flying C-123's. While there he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Cross medals and several other service medals. Upon return from Vietnam, he again flew C-130's, first at McGuire AFB, NJ and then at Dyess AFB, TX. From 1969-1972 he represented the USAF as an acceptance pilot of C-5 aircraft purchased from Lockheed-Martin in Marietta, GA. In 1972 Bob completed Squadron Officers School at Maxwell AFB, and earned a Masters in Public Administration from Auburn University in Montgomery, AL. From 1973-1977 he served at Norton AFB, CA as a flight safety investigator, flying both C-5's and various other aircraft in order to stay current. In 1977 he moved his family to Dixon, CA, where he served the remainder of his military career as a C-5 Aircraft Commander at Travis AFB. It was in this capacity that Bob got to do what he loved most, which was flying USAF cargo planes all over the world. He retired from the USAF in 1989, only to continue serving his former colleagues as flight safety instructor in the C-5 simulator at Flight Safety Services Corporation at Travis AFB. He retired from this position in 2001.
Meanwhile, from 1984-1988, Bob participated in Diaconal Formation classes in order to achieve his goal of becoming a deacon in his beloved Roman Catholic Church. He felt both blessed and humbled to be ordained in 1988 as a permanent deacon to serve at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Dixon, CA. He served faithfully until he was required to retire in 2013. As chaplain, Bob continued serving the families of many military comrades by officiating at burial services at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, where he was also on the board.
A vigil with viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 5:00-8:00 pm, at St. Peter's Church in Dixon, CA. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 11:00 am, outside at St. Peter’s Church, with a reception to follow at the same location. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Bob’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Peter’s Catholic Church at 105 S. 2nd St, Dixon, CA 95620. Condolences may also be sent there, or via email to
For directions to the church, please call 707-678-2189
The family would like to thank the Fijian caregiver community for sending one of its members, David, who lovingly helped care for Bob during the final months of his life.
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Previous Events





5:00 PM 3/23/2021 5:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 3/23/2021 8:00:00 PM
St. Peter's Catholic Church

105 S. 2nd St.
Dixon, CA 95620

St. Peter's Catholic Church
105 S. 2nd St. Dixon 95620 CA
United States





11:00 AM 3/24/2021 11:00:00 AM
St. Peter's Catholic Church

105 S. 2nd St.
Dixon, CA 95620

St. Peter's Catholic Church
105 S. 2nd St. Dixon 95620 CA
United States

Cemetery Details


Sacramento Valley National Cemetery Final Resting Place

5810 Midway Rd.
Dixon, CA 95620

5810 Midway Rd. Dixon 95620 CA
United States

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