Bobby Bulger of Dallas, Texas, a woman who broke gender barriers and glass ceilings in the travel industry, has died in Louisville, Colorado, at the age of 97. As Bobby herself said it, she “covered the world” – all seven continents – from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, many times.
Born Jacquline Yvonne Armstrong in 1924, she grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas. She was known to her classmates as “Yvonne,” but her family and close friends always called her “Bobby.”
Bobby graduated from El Dorado High School in the spring of 1943 and moved to her uncle’s home in Highland Park. That fall, Bobby was hired by Braniff Airlines. Too young to be a stewardess, she worked in its advertising department. In 1944, she became assistant editor of Braniff’s B-Liner newsletter and was promoted to editor in 1946.
Bobby left Braniff Airlines in 1947 when she married James R. Bulger, who served in the South Pacific during World War II and was reported to be the first American to set foot in post-War Japan. In 1962, Bobby went to work for American Express, first as a travel agent then as manager of the North Park American Express travel office. There, Bobby pitched the idea of developing a corporate travel incentive program. After Ross Perot bought the travel package for Electronic Data Systems (EDS), Bobby was promoted to Director of Group and Incentive Travel.
Bobby was soon traveling the world, operating hundreds of trips for Fortune 500 companies. She became a leading authority in international travel. She began conducting trainings and lectures for industry professionals in countries from South Africa and eastern Europe to Indonesia and Hong Kong that wanted to attract American tourists.
While Bobby’s marriage ended in 1974, she stayed close with her ex-husband’s family.
Bobby remained with American Express for 29 years before opening her own company, Bobby Bulger Travel Concepts, Inc., in 1991. She continued to work and travel the world until just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Feeling that her business wasn’t “ever going to bounce back,” Bobby moved to Louisville, Colo., in 2021 to be closer to family.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Arthur John Armstrong and Christine Greer Armstrong of El Dorado; her aunt Maybelle Greer Cox (Dudley) of Dallas; and her older sister Ada Lucille Armstrong Purvis. She is survived by her younger brother Arthur John Armstrong, Jr. (Anne) of McLean, Virginia.; her niece K. Reid Armstrong (Kevin) of Lafayette, Colorado, and nephew Ross Armstrong (Nicole) of Burlingame, California; her great-nieces and nephews Sawyer, Arden, Kieran, Quinn, and Kingston; and her cat Buster, whom she rescued from coyotes near her East Dallas home. Buster stayed vigilantly with Bobby until she peacefully passed away in her sleep on Jan. 26, 2022.