Robert Arthur Oehlkers

MONONA – Robert Oehlkers peacefully ended his earthly journey on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, surrounded by his loved ones at Agrace HospiceCare.

Robert was born in New Jersey and lived his childhood in Secaucus. He was the middle son of John and Elsie (Grip) Oehlkers of Secaucus, N.J. He married Meredith Engel on June 23, 1963, in Merrill. Robert and Meredith were the parents of Dennis (Bobbi) Oehlkers and Jacquelyn Shelton. Subsequently with joy, they were grandparents to Rachel Hanson, Cassandra (Justin Cass) and Daniel Mattie and great-grandparents to Taylor and Carson Williamson, Isabel Hanson, Jaydin, Jardin and Alanna Cass. Robert is also survived by two brothers William (Lois) Oehlkers of Rhode Island and Kenneth (Christina) Oehlkers of New York City; and a brother-in-law, Peter (Carol) Engel. He was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law, Harold Engel; and mother-in-law, Hildegarde (Asmus) Engel of Merrill, Wis.

Robert graduated from William Dickerson Highschool in Jersey City, N.J., at age 15. He joined the U.S. Air Force at age 17, was trained as a technician and spent the majority of his time with the Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron of the Strategic Air Command in California. In 1963, he graduated from RCA Electronic School in New York, N.Y., and joined RCA in Hightstown, N.J. working on building and testing parts of Tiros and Nimbus Space Satellites. In 1967, he worked for the Space Science and Engineering Center of the UW-Madison, which is the research and archival center for data obtained from satellites related to Meteorology. The systems developed there revolutionized the way we receive weather reports today. He was part of a team that built systems and trained maintenance staff at Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers and various Universities and organizations needing meteorology information in the United States, Spain, and Australia. He flew weather balloons in New Zealand and Ascension Islands. Over a span of 10 years, he was a distance education student at UW-Platteville and obtained a B.S. degree in Business Administration. Then he received a Master’s of Science degree in Continuing and Vocation Education in 1998 at University of Wisconsin-Madison while he continued to work at the Space Science and Engineering Center. He retired in 2002.

Robert was an avid baseball fan and traveled the United States and Canada over period of five years with grandson Daniel Mattie, visiting every major league baseball stadium. Since then he has visited every new major league stadium; his last trip was in May of 2019 to Georgia for an Atlanta Braves game. He was a Yankees fan as a child but was a Brewers fan of late. Rob and Meredith created many memories of vacations traveling in their retirement years by Amtrak train.

Carrying on the tradition of carpentry skills of his father and father-in-law, Rob also designed and remodeled his home, a 1950s ranch, by adding a second story, a sun room and a swimming pool room, with the aid of his father-in-law, his wife and children. He also made a variety of beautiful bookcases, entertainment centers and other furniture Meredith requested.

Rob will be greatly missed for his sense of family, his kindness. Interest in, encouragement of, and faith in others, and his sense of humor. He was always a faithful member of his church family. Robert donated his body to the University of Wisconsin Medical School.

A memorial service is being planned for Saturday, March 21, 2020, at LAKE EDGE LUTHERAN CHURCH, 4032 Monona Drive, Madison. Memorials may be made to the UW Carbone Cancer Center, Agrace HospiceCare or Lake Edge Lutheran Church. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420