Robert L. Tinsley Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.) was born on August 24, 1933 in Anniston, Alabama to the parentage of the late Deacon James A. Tinsley, Sr., and Sadie Nixon Tinsley. During early childhood, he joined the Mount Zion Baptist Church, where he was baptized and maintained membership there throughout his life.
He completed elementary school and high in Anniston, and graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Commission in the United States Air Force as a second lieutenant. While at Tuskegee, he was also a member of the famed Tuskegee Choir, under the direction of renowned William L. Dawson. He was also a member of the Alpha Phi Omega military fraternity. He did post graduate study at New York University in safety engineering.
He entered active duty in the Air Force after graduation and served continuously for twenty years, progressing to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His assignments included the functional areas of training, personnel, inspection, safety and administration. He served in Strategic, Tactical and Airlift Commands. He served three consecutive tours in Vietnam during the offensive build-up and earned three Bronze Star medals among his numerous awards and decorations. His final tour was at the Pentagon where he retired in 1975. He was a member of the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.
He joined Mount Carmel in 1988. He was a member of the Sanctuary Choir and served as its only Music Librarian from establishment of the choir until the time his death. He was also a faithful and dedicated member the Church Training Program (CTP) and served as its director during the period of 1996-2001. He taught Bible Skills portion of the study classes. He was a member of the Men's Bible Study class. He served and became the study leader in 2002. He was extremely knowledgeable of the Scriptures, and was an excellent Bible teacher. He served on the Church Finance Committee and on a Pulpit Search Committee.
He served as Personal Aid and Administrative Assistant of James Farmer, Founder and National Director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) for twenty-five years, up to the time of his death in 1999.
He leaves behind, one brother, Lieutenant Colonel James A. Tinsley, Jr. USAF (Retired), who is a deacon at Zion Baptist Church, Petersburg, VA and a nephew, Terrance E. Tinsley of Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio. He also leaves behind a host of relatives and close friends throughout the nation and overseas.
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