Retired Lt. Col. Robert Fulton Galer, a veteran of two wars and one appointed to establish the first Equal Opportunity Employment Office at Fort Benning, died June 22 in Columbus, according to McMullen Funeral Home and Crematory on Gentian Boulevard. He was 98.
Retired Army Col. Bob Poydasheff served with Galer at Fort Benninig and described him as a man of integrity. “In my opinion, he demonstrated his good works by his even handed approach to his job , integrity, love for the soldier and civilian employees,” said Poydasheff, who also formerly served as Columbus mayor. “The man was just what we wanted in an officer and any human being.”
Galer’s funeral was held Tuesday at the Lummus Chapel at Linwood Cemetery in Columbus with the Rev. Joel L. Alvis Jr. officiating.
Born July 19, 1918, in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, he was the son of Robert Armington Galer and Mabel Robson Galer . After growing up in Montana, he attended the University of Washington, was a Reserve Officer Training Corps graduate and later earned a master’s degree at Florida State.
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In 1940, Galer entered the Army on active duty and served during World War II and Korean War . His awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
During his assignment at Fort Benning, Galer was inspector general before retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
Poydasheff said he was staff judge advocate on post when he and Galer crossed paths in the mid 1970s. “He was just an honorable man,” Poydasheff said. He also remembered Galer when he served in the IG office.
In the IG’s office, Poydasheff said men and women officers all respected Galer. “I had a number of civilian employees under my supervision and some female judge advocates, captains who had no problem whatsoever in dealing with him,” Poydasheff said. “He was fair handed.”
Galer was appointed in 1966 to establish the first Equal Opportunity Employment Office at Fort Benning and remained there until he retired in 1988.
In retirement, Galer supported his wife, Mary Jane Galer, who served in the Georgia General Assembly. Although they both shared an interest in genealogy, Galer became interested in the Sons of the American Revolution. He served as the state president in 1994 and on the executive committees at the national level.
His effort to identify and mark graves of 17 Revolutionary War soldiers in Georgia required him to pore through local town hall records. His last project was spearheading and designing the Revolutionary War Infantryman Monument, which now sits at the head of the Avenue of Honor at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus.
Other than his wife, survivors include a son, Frank Fulton Galer of Roanoke, Va., daughters, Barbara Jean Neufeld of Didsbury, Alberta, Canada, and Robin Robson Galer of San Francisco, two granddaughters and one great-grandson.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Galer’s name may go to The Historic Linwood Foundation or the National Infantry Museum.