OREGON, Wis. — Robert John Kasmarick, of Oregon, died in his sleep at home on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at the age of 91 years old. Robert “Bob” was the first son of John and Mary (Hrebenar) Kasmarick. He was born on Oct. 21, 1925 in lronwood, Mich., and graduated from Luther Wright High School. At the age of 18 he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was assigned to The Fighting 69th Infantry Division. He served in World War II, receiving the rank of Staff Sergeant, and was awarded the CIB, a Bronze Star, two Bronze Battle Stars and several medals, before being honorably discharged in the summer of 1946. Although not one to dwell on his war experience, he thoroughly enjoyed going on the Badger Honor Flight in April of 2012, with his daughter, Kathy. He was amazed at the attention and thanks he received throughout the day. He grinned ear to ear upon his arrival at the airport, seeing such a loud crowd cheering.
Bob married Helen Mae McDougall on July 2, 1949. He proposed to her on their second date, to which she replied, “ask me again in a few years”. Together they had five children, Mike, Dennis, Rick, Mary and Kathy. Bob remained married to his best friend Helen, for almost 54 years, until her sudden death in January, 2003. The greatest gift our parent’s gave us was the love, friendship, and affection they had for each other, and us. They held hands often, and Mom never left the house without giving Dad a kiss goodbye. A kind, gentle man, he was a wonderful Dad and Grandpa, quick with a smile, and gifted with patience. We were lucky to have him with us all these years, and his absence is greatly felt.
Bob was employed at Waukesha Engine for 38 years, eventually becoming a Foreman. In May of 1986 he was offered an early retirement. He was hoping to work 40 years at the company in order to receive a ring, but Helen said she would buy him one instead, so early retirement it was. In June of 1988, after Helen retired from teaching, they sold their home in Waukesha and were thrilled to move to their home on Long Lake in Mercer. They spent the next eleven years enjoying the peacefulness of the north woods, activities to keep them busy, socializing, relaxing and traveling. They had a great group of friends, for which there was never a shortage of laughs. Although not swimmers, they loved the tranquility of the water, and the wildlife surrounding their home. Their children and grandchildren enjoyed visiting, where they went for long walks, fished, picked berries, enjoyed the paddle boat, skipped stones on Lake Superior and strolled around Mercer.
In July of 1999, the day before their 50th anniversary, they moved to Oregon to be closer to family. While in Oregon they enjoyed meeting new friends, going to the Oregon Area Senior Center, and found a new passion for working out. On days opposite their classes at the health club, they could be seen walking their four mile route around town, stopping to pet every dog along the way. After Helen died in 2003, Bob eventually moved into the home of his youngest child Kathleen, and her husband John Zelinski, also in Oregon. They were happy to have him live with them the last 9 years as his Alzheimer’s progressed, yet never to a stage where he didn’t come up with a clever reply. At a recent appointment, when asked “how do you feel?” he quickly replied, “with my fingers.” Bob indeed had nine lives, and surprised many people with his ability to rebound from several medical emergencies. We so wish this was another one of those times. He will be missed beyond measure, spoken about often, and loved always. We take comfort that he is again with our Mom, and have no doubt he was greeted with a smile as she said, “Bob, what took you so long, l’ve been waiting for you.”
Robert is survived by five children; Michael (Wendy) Kasmarick of West Bend, Dennis (Marianne) Kasmarick of Waukesha, Richard (Sue) Kasmarick of Defiance, Mo., Mary (Jeff) Phillips of Huntersville, N.C., and Kathleen (John) Zelinski of Oregon; eleven grandchildren, Joel (Erin) Kasmarick, Jason (Alexis) Kasmarick, Kelly (Phil) Meyer, Kyle (Jennifer) Kasmarick, Rebecca, Jacob and Abigail Phillips, Natasha (Tom) Ruhland all of Oregon, Tyler (Sara) Rehm of Madison, and Cade and Yordanos Zelinski of Oregon; ten great-grandchildren; four sisters; Dorothy Maslanka of Bessemer, Mich., Marge Richards of Ypsilanti, Mich., Agnes “Babe” (Richard) Zalud of Phoenix, Ariz., and Julie (Bob) Ables of Surprise, Ariz.; and one brother, John (Jeanne) Kasmarick of Colorado Springs , Colo. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Helen; grandson Timothy Kasmarick; sisters, Sr. Dorine Kasmarick and Mary (Curt) Charette; brothers-in-law, Wally Maslanka and Earl Richards; as well as other relatives and friends. A special thanks to Carol, Bonnie and Molly from the Oregon Area Senior Center who provided Bob with hours of fun and activities. Also, his wonderful NP Rochelle Carlson, from the Madison VA Hospital, and his Nurse Heidi, from Agrace HospiceCare. Thank you to Kathy’s friends who baked him wonderful desserts, or stopped to say hello, it was much appreciated.
A private service will be held up north later this summer in Mercer. Memorial donations can be made to the Oregon Area Senior Center, or Fluffy Dog Rescue in Hartland, Wis. His love of animals, and the Senior Center, held a special place in Bob’s heart. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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