January 29, 1925, was a joyful day for Julius and Martha Mikels as they welcomed their son, Robert William Mikels, into this world. Bob was the first of three children born in the young couple's rural Sturgeon Bay farmhouse. It was an even greater day 89 years later, on April 30, 2014, when Bob fell asleep in that same house and awoke in his eternal home in Heaven. Living on and tending that same family farm all of his life, he passed away just a few feet from where he was born–just as he had always hoped.
Bob graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School in June of 1942, attended a year of college and then vocational school for mechanical drawing. Besides farming, he also provided for his family through various occupations, including building homes for Lampert's Lumber, driving bus at Southern Door Schools, and drafting and designing at Palmer Johnson Yachts.
On August 22, 1948, Bob married the love of his life, Marie Margaret Wulf, at St. Peter’s Church in Sturgeon Bay. The couple honeymooned in Yellowstone Park, and were able to celebrate their anniversaries together every year, including their 50th. Ultimately, last summer, the couple was blessed to be able to celebrate a beautiful 65th anniversary at their home with family and friends.
While Bob loved his Fords and antiques, he knew full well that his true treasures were his beloved family, loyal friends, and strong Christian faith. He was a loving husband, valued father, cherished grandfather, and adored great-grandfather. Bob had a generous and caring heart, and was always happily serving up chocolate malts and sundaes, giving rides in his vintage Fords, and lending a helping hand whenever he could. His care of his family knew no limits, as evidenced by the apartment he built onto the farmhouse for his widowed mother-in-law so she would not have to be alone but could still maintain her independence. A man of few words, he was well loved for his great stories and witty sense of humor. His family often joked that he wasn't the best with names, but he knew the year, make and model of the car driven by everyone he ever met. Bob also played piano by ear, but only his favorite old hymns. Listening to that old Christian music was also a great comfort to him in his final days.
Bob is survived by his wife Marie, son John Mikels of Iola, WI, daughter Paula Roberts of Sturgeon Bay, son Peter Mikels of Sturgeon Bay, brother Herbie Mikels of Sturgeon Bay, 8 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Betty Blaha of Green Bay (2013).
Visitation will be held from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at Forbes Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay, WI. The funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 5, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay, with visitation from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Immediately following the service, there will be a luncheon served in the church, and then a brief graveside ceremony at Shiloh Moravian Cemetery on Shiloh Road in Sturgeon Bay.