Robert Nicholas Calabrese, age 69, of Rockford, Ill. was called to heaven on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, at UW Hospital in Madison. He was born Aug. 31, 1944, in Chicago, Ill., to Frank and Lucille Calabrese.

Robert grew up in Yorkville, Ill, and attended Yorkville High School. He received his Associates Degree in Vocational Education and Administration at Southern Illinois University, his Bachelor of Science in Vocational Education and Administration at Southern Illinois University, Masters of Science Degree in Educational Administration at Northwestern University, and Certificate of Advanced Study in Career Education at Illinois State University.

Bob was a black belt in karate and at one time a deputy in Kendall County, Ill. He was a multi-talented people person who excelled in whatever he did. He taught Auto Mechanics at Larkin High School and Elgin Community College while working with CETA program and Special Government Education Programs. During his spare time he sold vehicles, both new and used for a Chevrolet dealership in Elgin.

Later he move with his wife, Geri, and sons, Brian and Brett, to Deerfield, WI, where he owned and operated Bob Calabrese Chevrolet-Pontiac in Cambridge, WI, as well as Bob Calabrese ford in Clinton, WI, and G3B Auto Auction in Cambridge.

He served on the school board in Deerfield as well as sponsoring and coaching the Little League team in Deerfield. He loved children and they were drawn to his whimsical ways. He had a magnetizing laugh and a dynamic personality.

Bob enjoyed vegetable gardening and was known to have planted pine trees wherever he could…in Deerfield, WI; Rockdale, WI; Yorkville, Ill; and Birchtree, MO. He enjoyed people and was always there to help anyone in need. He enjoyed buying and selling anything with an engine, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, go-carts, lawn mowers, motor homes, four-wheelers, dune buggies, golf carts and snowmobiles. However, his ultimate passion and what he truly enjoyed most was his family.

Bob is survived by his sons, Brian (Amanda) of Fitchburg and Brett (Kelsi) of Madison; one grandchild, Dane; ex-wife and friend, Geri Calabrese; brother, Frank (Joann) of Bloomington, IN; niece, Pam; and nephews, Russ, Tim, Ken, Jon and Ben; as well as many cousins, and great-nieces and nephews.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Lucille; sister, Carol Wendling; brother-in-law, Richard Wendling; father-in-law, George Duben; mother-in-law, Erma Duben; and brother-in-law, George Duben.

A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL HOME, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, WI, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, with Officiate Timothy Calabrese presiding. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday.

Bob will always be our angel, watching over us and smiling from his heavenly home. Every bright star and sunrise will remind us of his love of life and family. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com

"I'm Free"

Don't grieve for me for now I'm free.
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard him call.
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found that peace at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow:
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full I've savored much,
Good times, good friends, a loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all to brief,
Don't lenghten it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, he set me free.

Author: Unknown