Robert Eiven Myrann, who flew combat missions and test flights of experimental aircraft in an aviation career lasting more than three decades, has died at his Mountain Mesa home in Kern County. He was 71.
Myrann, a longtime Lancaster resident until his retirement in 1975, died Wednesday of cancer, said his wife, Daphne.
Born and raised in Tolstoy, S.D., Myrann acquired his interest in flying as a child when a pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on the family's cattle ranch and left the plane behind for many months, according to his wife.
Following high school, he traveled to California and joined the U.S. Air Force in the early 1940s. As a fighter pilot, Myrann flew combat missions over the South Pacific in World War II. He re-enlisted during the Korean War, flying more than 200 missions in that conflict.
In 1954, Myrann began a civilian career as a test pilot for General Dynamics in Palmdale, where he was chief test pilot of the F-102 and F-106 fighter jets. In all, he flew more than six dozen types of military aircraft during his career.
In later years, Myrann served as a test pilot at a defense facility in Fort Worth, flying the F-111.
Following his retirement, Myrann and his wife settled in Mountain Mesa in northern Kern County, where they operated the Sportsman's Center in Lake Isabella. He later managed a Kern Valley service station and sold real estate.
Among his many civic activities, Myrann served as president of both the Kern Valley Visitors Council and the Lake Isabella Chamber of Commerce. He was honored by the chamber in 1989 as Man of the Year. Since 1985, Myrann also served as a county parks and recreation commissioner. He was the commission's chairman at the time of his death.
In addition to his wife of 37 years, Myrann is survived by daughter Lani Currado of Lancaster; son Robert J. Myrann of Bakersfield, and sisters Carolyn Carson of Phoenix, Lois Howard of Mitchell, S.D., and Eleanor Myrann and Bonnie Stroeckle, both of Casa Grande, Ariz. Myrann is also survived by brothers Bert Myrann of Tolstoy, S.D., Jack Myrann of Phoenix and Wesley Myrann of Anchorage, Alaska, and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held today in Wofford Heights. Graveside services will follow on Monday at 11 a.m. at Lancaster District Cemetery, 111 E. Lancaster Blvd. Murphy Mortuary in Lancaster in handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Myrann's name to the American Cancer Society or another charity.