Namesake of Shoemaker High School, General Robert Shoemaker, die - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Namesake of Shoemaker High School, General Robert Shoemaker, dies at 93

(Source: Shoemaker) (Source: Shoemaker)
(Source: Fort Hood) (Source: Fort Hood)
(Source: Fort Hood) (Source: Fort Hood)
(KXXV) -

Robert M. Shoemaker, the namesake of Shoemaker High School, has died in Harker Heights, according to Killeen ISD. 

Shoemaker passed away Wednesday night. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Crawford and Bowers in Killeen, according to a statement from Texas A&M University - Central Texas. He is survived by his wife, Tuke.

A memorial service is scheduled for June 28 at the Killeen Civic and Convention Center. The graveside service will be held immediately following at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery. The service will include full distinguished military honors with caisson. 

Since the school's opening in 2000, Shoemaker was commended for his financial support of many programs and students at the high school, and his key role in establishing a science and engineering academy within the high school

Shoemaker endowed the Wolf-Warrior Scholarship in 2013 to enable the students to pursue a four-year bachelor's degree through Central Texas College and Texas A&M University - Central Texas.

Shoemaker's service extends to the community, where he has tirelessly devoted himself to improving the quality of life for local residents, serving eight years as the elected Bell County Commissioner and fostering a close relationship between military and civilian leaders.

He led the community's efforts to create adequate housing, schools and transportation to support the influx of military families to the Fort Hood area when the 5th Infantry Division was relocated there in 1992. General Shoemaker also was instrumental in the establishment of a Texas A&M University - Central Texas campus next to Fort Hood, and contributed regular financial support to many educational organizations and programs in the community.

Throughout his years in Central Texas, Shoemaker served as President and advisor to the President of the 1st Cavalry Division Association, President of the Heart of Texas Council of the Boy Scouts and as President of the Ft. Hood Chapter of the United Way. 

"Our nation lost a great soldier, Central Texas has lost a great leader, and we have lost a great friend. Please keep Mrs. Shoemaker in your thoughts and prayers, and may his memory be for a blessing," Texas A&M University - Central Texas said on their Facebook page.

Shoemaker was raised on a small dairy farm near Almont, Michigan. His father was the co-owner of Almont Hardware Company. 

Shoemaker said in an interview that after the Depression hit, his father and his business partner decided the business could not support both families, so his father moved the family to the farm. 

Shoemaker served in the army for 36 years.

He graduated from West Point in 1946, and then he was commissioned into the infantry, according to the West Point Academy website.

Shoemaker commanded the first experimental Aerial Combat Reconnaissance Company from 1960-1961. After that, he served on the Tactical Mobility Requirements Board and later was sent to Vietnam to document Army Aviation accomplishments and potential from 1962-1963, according to the Army Aviation Association of America.

He returned to Vietnam for a third tour from 1969-1970 as Brigade Commander, Chief of Staff and Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Calvary Division. 

At Fort Polk, he brought on line the Army's first Air Cavalry Attack Brigade. Shoemaker was involved in many pioneering efforts in the development of tactics, equipment, and concepts that are now cornerstones of Army Aviation.

He was inducted into the Army Hall of Fame in 1983.

Congressman John Carter released this statement about his death:

“Erika and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of retired General Robert Shoemaker this morning. General Shoemaker’s service to our great nation spanned over five decades. He served with honor and integrity earning numerous awards including the Distinguished Service Award, the Bronze Star and the Silver Star.

He served in multiple battles, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War and during the Cold War. In addition to his outstanding military service, General Shoemaker served the Ft. Hood community and all of Bell County.

He was a former Bell County Commissioner, an avid volunteer for the Heart of Texas Boy Scouts and for Central Texas United Way. For his commitment to country and community, I was proud to have awarded him the Congressional Veterans Commendation award.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to get to know General Shoemaker and call him my friend. My family, my staff, and I send our prayers to his family and loved ones at this time. He was a giant in our community, and he will be sorely missed. God Bless him, his family, and our community.” 

Congressman Roger Williams also released a statement on Shoemaker's death:

“I am very saddened to learn of the passing of one of this nation’s greatest heroes. After serving in the U.S. Army for 36 years, General Shoemaker continued to serve his country in many ways. The people of Central Texas are a family and General Shoemaker has left a legacy that will forever be felt throughout the community.

He was a patriot, and I am humbled to have had the honor to know him and call him a friend.  This is a great loss not only for the Fort Hood area, but for all of America.”

Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general released this statement:

We join the entire Central Texas community and our Army in mourning the loss of a great general, dynamic leader, philanthropist, and friend. General Shoemaker was an accomplished III Corps and Forces Command commander, a pillar of the community, and an inspiration to us all. We will truly miss him

Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham released this statement about his death:

" General Robert Shoemaker was a giant in the Army, a legend throughout Fort Hood and the Killeem/Waco community and a great man. He will long be remembered for his many military accomplishments and the powerful impact he made throughout Senate District 24 and beyond."

Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer released  the following statement:

"With the passing of Gen. (Ret.) Robert Shoemaker, the Army and our Nation lost a decorated leader, mentor, advocate and friend.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.  We should never forget his leadership during one of the most difficult times in our Nation's history."

According to a Texas A&M University-Central Texas spokesperson, the family of Shoemaker is asking for donations to be made to scholarships funds instead of flowers.

These are the following scholarships and contact information for each scholarship.

  • The Centex Scholarship Endowed Fund-
    Texas A&M University-Central Texas
    Advancement Office
    1001 Leadership Place
    Killeen, Texas 76549

  • The Wolf Warrior Endowed Scholarship
    Central Texas College Foundation
    6200 W. Central Texas Expressway
    Killeen, Texas 76549

  • KISD Foundation
    200 N W S Young Drive
    Killeen, Texas 76542

  • 1st Cavalry Division Foundation
    302 N Main Street
    Copperas Cove, Texas 76522

To read Shoemaker's oral history, click here.

Funeral services for Shoemaker will be at 1 p.m., June 28, at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center located at 3601 S. W.S. Young Dr. in Killeen. Interment with full distinguished military honors with caisson procession will follow at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, 11463 TX-195 in Killeen. 

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