Local veteran celebrates 92nd birthday, reflects

World War II veteran Bob Colston recently celebrated his 92nd birthday with a work luncheon and family picnic. Colston is a well-known man in Trinity with an active lifestyle, and many friends.

Bob Colston was born May 14, 1924, to a small town in Mississippi. He was the first of eight children.

Early in life, Colston developed a love for sports, particularly baseball and later golf, that he carried with him through life. He began working early, taking on a job in a cotton mill at the age of 13. It would also be only three years later that he married another young woman named Jean, who was to be his wife of 70 years (until her passing in 2011).

As the second World War began and raged on, Colston and his coworkers were some of the few males exempt from the draft, as their mill was designated as a “war plant,” producing vital textiles for the war effort overseas. Colston, however, volunteered to the military anyway in 1944, and after boot camp was deployed to Italy.

According to Colston, the most harrowing part of his war experience, was not the deployment, but the journey from Virginia to Italy. At the time, German U-Boats were virtually unopposed in those waters, and hunted for targets freely. The journey was a dangerous, 13 day creep across the Atlantic Ocean, down to the shore of Africa, and up into Italy.

Five months into Colston’s deployment the war ended. Colston was then tasked with remaining there for several months more, a time which he remembers fondly, as a deeply enriching experience. 

Colston returned home 15 months later, but as it would happen, with the war behind them, the cotton mill did not remain open for much longer. It closed in 1947, and so in 1949, Colston took a train to Houston, Texas, where he and his wife briefly lived with his brother-in-law before gaining his footing and developing a small, but successful masonry company that employed as many as 20 individuals.

Colston left the masonry business in 1967, but followed up by taking interest in the insurance business. He studied and obtained an insurance license, picking up work for several years as an insurance agent at Ward Bros & Associates Insurance Agency.

In 1982, Colston’s daughter Barbara and her husband Jack moved to Trinity, Texas. Soon thereafter, Colston began commuting back and forth between Houston and Trinity, where he continued his work in insurance. In 1984, Colston finally made the move and has lived in Trinity ever since.

“I’d lived most of my life in Houston,” Colston said. “Wish I’d lived on those years here, really… I’ve had a really wonderful life here in Trinity. Far as I know, I don’t have an enemy anywhere.”

Today, Colston lives in West Wood Shores with his son (Kevin) and daughter-in-law (Rachel). He continues an athletic lifestyle, sells insurance at Rollo’s Insurance Agency, and is highly active in his church and the local community. He has been an elder in both Bammel Road Church of Christ and the Lake Houston Church, along with serving on numerous community boards. Locally, he has long been regarded as a valuable and respected asset to the community.

“I had a wonderful, wonderful life,” Colston said. “I’ve been so fortunate.”