OCTOBER 6, 2009


Interviewed by: Mike Robinson

Robert “Bob” Tweed was born in Troy, Ohio, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Tweed.

“Jim” Tweed will be remembered as being the owner of Tweed’s Tobacco Shop on the south side of West Main street, which until 1960 served as both a retail store and wholesale distributor of tobacco products.

From his early school years, Bob was absorbed with music and trumpet playing, leading to a four-year membership in the Troy High School band.

Upon graduation from Troy High School in 1939, Bob began farming for his father and continued to do so following the Pearl Harbor attack, as farming was an exempted occupation from the draft then in place to build up the U.S. military. With most of his friends off to join various branches of the armed forces, Bob ignored his deferment and volunteered for the draft, being inducted into the United States Army in 1942. By volunteering for induction, Bob was “promised” service in the Air Corps and served there briefly, but was later told there were no vacancies in that specialty. During various phases of his entry military service, Bob served in the Air Corps, artillery, and finally ended up in the infantry of the 42nd Rainbow Division. He was transported by ship to the European Theater and ultimately assigned to duty in Munich, Germany. He ultimately was in Army service until 1946, was promoted through the enlisted ranks and received a battlefield-commission in 1944. He was discharged at the rank of Captain.

Interviewer’s note: For a full and complete account of Bob’s wartime military experiences, please see his book “My Memories of the Rainbow Trail in World War II” on the shelf of the Troy History Library.

While on occupation duty in Austria, Bob met and married Erica Swatek, an Austrian citizen, in 1946. Soon thereafter, Bob was mustered out of the service and returned to the United States. U.S. law at that time concerning war brides required the returning servicemen to comply with the War Brides Act which stipulated that permission from our federal government be obtained prior to entrance of these brides to the United States. Further, since the original marriage of Bob and Erica occurred overseas, the act required that a second marriage ceremony be performed on U.S soil. Due to the couple facing expiration of the act in 1947, Bob sought and received the assistance of Ohio U.S, Senator John Bricker, who arranged the required permission; Erica then sailed for America and the couple renewed their vows in the “infamous” (Bob’s word) Brooklyn City Hall, remembered today for the lengthy lines of couples waiting there for their one minute ceremony before the official. The couple was blessed with two children, born in 1954 and 1955.

Following the war, Bob resumed his farming and continued with this work until 1960, at which time he cash-rented the farm and obtained employment at an optical lab in Dayton.

His love of music never faded, and he was a member of various dance bands in the Miami County area and with local musician Bruce George, was responsible for forming and promoting the well-known “Concerts on the Square” on Prouty Plaza.

After enjoying a marriage lasting over 50 years, Erica passed away recently. In retirement, I enjoy the company of many friends and my continuing interest in musical activities.

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