Robert (Bob) was born January 23, 1928 in Oak Park, Illinois to David Palmer Livingston and Augusta Emilie Lucas, college sweethearts from Monmouth College. He was born with a clubfoot but had surgery at two and a cast on for a year. It never held him back. He was very athletic and played football, basketball and baseball. If you met him you would never know especially with his “can do” attitude. In seventh grade his family moved to Washington Iowa to run the family farm. After graduating from high school in 1946 he enlisted in the army and was sent to Korea.
His job in the army was morning clerk but really it was to play football and his division won the Far East Championship with Bob awarded MVP. He always laughed about that because as the littlest guy on the team he didn’t know how he got the award.
After his service in 1948 he attended Iowa State University studying Animal Husbandry intending to go back and run the farm. He had a good time at ISU and joined A.T.O. Fraternity enjoying the parties, dances and social affairs. Bob loved to laugh and make others laugh. He was like his father David Livingston “America’s Funniest Farmer” and Humorist. All the while he had a deepening emptiness searching for a deeper meaning in life. In the summer of 1950 his brother Dave led him to the Lord sitting on a bale of hay in the barn, as a result he transferred to Bob Jones University.
During his time at BJU he was challenged to return to Korea as a missionary, a place he said he would never go again. He met Claire Beckwith in candidate school for The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM). She was single and a RN headed for Pakistan as a missionary. She was unable to get a visa and Bob had prayed and told God he would marry her if she came to Korea. Indeed she headed for Korea right after the Korean war ended and soon after they were married in Japan at the annual mission conference as all the hotels had been bombed out in Korea. With no family in attendance other then their “missionary family” they wed and honeymooned in Japan. They returned to Korea to continue language study and Bob was involved in Tent Evangelism. A year later their daughter Ruth was born in Seoul.
His brother Dave was also a missionary in Korea with the same mission and they headed to Kang Nung on the East Coast of Korea traveling on gravel roads and riverbeds. They built 2 houses there and continued with the tent evangelism and planting churches.
Bob and Claire left for the West coast where he was Station Manager for HLKX Radio, broadcasting into Korea, China and Russia and in English to the servicemen in Korea. In between terms in Korea he attended Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake Indiana and received his Masters in Divinity. His son Stephen was born in Washington Iowa while they were home.
When he returned to Korea he had several positions including holding evangelistic meetings in high schools, working with Youth For Christ and teaching Bible. After their term was over they returned to the States via a summer in Europe in a Volkswagen Camper, traveling to Israel where he studied for his Masters in Old Testament at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies. Prompted to leave earlier then planned by the Israeli government due to the impending “6 Day” war they left in December 1966 and ended up in Wheaton, Illinois.
Bob worked in the main Headquarters for TEAM for 2 years as Purchasing Agent supporting 1,000 missionaries worldwide. He then worked as Executive Secretary for the American Institute of Holy Land Studies. From 1972 to 1979 He worked with his father for Diversified Resources as Vice President and Sales Manager.
He had originally been ordained in the Presbyterian Church and in 1979 was also ordained in the Christian Missionary Alliance. They moved to Salem Oregon where he was Pastor of Administration at Salem Alliance Church, during this time with the CMA Bob and Claire ran a CMA Guest House in Israel for 4 years and also served as Recording Secretary for the United Christian Council in Israel.
They returned to the States to care for his widowed mother and worked for Williams Water Systems in his hometown of Washington Iowa. When his mother passed away in 1993 he served as Associate Pastor at All Nations Baptist Church in Iowa City for several years with a predominately Korean congregation. Still wanting to minister and not ready to retire in 1999 he accepted a position at Christ Community Church in Omaha Nebraska as a Minister to Senior Adults. He was also studying for his DMin at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School during this time. Bob and Claire celebrated their 50th Anniversary with dear friends at Christ Community Church. Finally at 81 years old he retired and moved to Grace Village in Winona Lake Indiana where he and Claire were very active in the community and loved to get out and enjoy the local area. They were blessed to celebrate their 60th anniversary there with family, friends and even some missionary friends who had been in their wedding in Japan.
One of the things Bob loved to do was to lead tours to Israel, starting in the 70’s he began organizing and leading tours to Israel. For 40 years he has taken dozens of groups to the Holy Land. He loved the land and people of Israel. He loved to see the Bible come alive for believers and has baptized many people in the Jordan River including both of his children and 2 of his grandchildren.
After enjoying Grace Village for 10 years they moved to Athens Alabama in 2019 where their daughter lived. Claire passed away in 2020 at 96 years old and Bob lived independently until his death. He was full of personality and always a jokester and very independent up till the end, he was still driving up until 3 months ago.
Everyone who met Bob loved him and he loved them and he told everyone about Jesus. He loved reading the Word and would fill many of his last days praying and reading his Bible. His sense of humor, his smile, his encouraging words and his beautiful prayers will be greatly missed. One word that would characterize him is GRATEFUL, he was always so thankful for everything. He loved his children and his grandchildren and was recently able to meet his great grandchildren. He was a godly man who lived a great life, who touched a lot of people and couldn’t wait to go meet Jesus.