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Robert William Mackley, 84, of Bemidji Minnesota died Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at his home.
A Christian service will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
Suomi Lutheran Evangelical Church (his lifelong childhood church)
42898 County Road 314
Deer River, MN 56636
A time of sharing and the celebration of his life will be held on Friday, May 11, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the White Oak Inn & Suites conference room, 201 Fourth Ave NW, Deer River, MN.
Robert was born in his grandparent’s farm house on December 15, 1933 in Suomi, MN. He was the oldest of eight children. His mother’s family immigrated from the “Old Country’, Finland as lumberjacks. He was very close with his grandfather, Jack Maki, and learned to speak fluent Finnish. He attended elementary school in a one room school house in this small farming town. He graduated from Deer River High School in 1952. He said it cost money to go to high school and he was very appreciative to his family for making it a priority for the kids. After high school, he worked for Erie Mining on the Iron Range for one year. He decided to join the US Air Force in lieu of the draft, during the Korean War, in November 1953. He was first stationed overseas in Germany and after a night at the bar (one of his favorite stories) he was transferred to Chambley-Bussieres Air Base in France. As a young serviceman he frequented a café bar in Void, France and he was invited to the wedding of Collette Faugere where he would meet his true love Jeanne Faugere. He loved the French culture and learned how to speak fluent French. He married his wife Jeanne Marie after receiving the blessing of her Father Pierre Faugere, in Void, France, in June of 1957.
After leaving the service he moved to Bovey, MN where he worked in the mines and had two children in Grand Rapids, MN. He then moved to St. Louis Park, MN where he began his career with the US Government as a high tower antenna technician, traveling the five-state area. He had two more children and traveling became too difficult. He got a job at Honeywell and bought his first home in Cottage Grove, MN. He worked as a US Government Quality Control agent, working on the Apollo Mission projects based out of Honeywell, located in Roseville MN. Every weekend they would pack up the family and spend the weekend up north where he grew up. He built a cabin on Grave Lake, in Suomi.
He longed to leave the cities and move back up north to small town living and closer to his family and where he grew up. In 1973 he moved the family to Bemidji and he started work with the FAA, taking on the job of running the VORTAC station (guidance system for Military and Civil Aircraft) in Bemidji MN, he was also responsible for VORTAC stations in Thief River Falls, Hallock and occasionally worked at Brainard and Hibbing. He retired from the FAA in 1995 having 39 years of service with the US Government including 4 years in the US Air Force. He helped his wife with her business that she opened in Bemidji Jeanne’s Repeat Boutique.
If you were talking with Robert (Bob) you probably left chuckling or had a good belly laugh. He could make anyone laugh with his quick wit and silly humor. He loved hunting at the hunting shack and the big family Christmas gatherings where Santa would come after singing Christmas songs. He loved to go to France and visit Jeanne’s family. He traveled frequently to Colorado and California to visit his Grandkids. He enjoyed going to Las Vegas with his family and friends and local casinos. He was the favorite Uncle, the loving and fun grandfather, loving father. He taught us about love when you would see him with Jeanne. He would tease you and give you a nickname. He had a favorite picture taking pose that the “Boss Lady” (a loving nickname for his wife) didn’t approve. A true jokester.
Robert (Bob) lost his courageous battle with cancer on May 2, 2018 at his home in Bemidji surrounded by his children and Jeanne, his loving wife of 60 years, at his side. He showed great SISU, (Finish great strength of will in the face of adversity). His humor was intact until the end of his life when he peacefully passed when God called him home. His life was well lived and full of love and happiness. His biggest achievement in life was marrying the love of his life. He proudest of the way his four children turned out. He was a family man with a good soul and big heart that lived with humility, honesty, and honor. He could bring a smile or laughter to anyone he met. We hope you’re dancing in the sky. We hope your laughing with the angels. He will be fondly remembered and dearly missed until we meet again in heaven.
Robert will be lovingly remembered and dearly missed by his wife of 60+ years, Jeanne and his children, Clarence (Icy), Nancy, Francine Guthrey, and James. Robert will also be fondly remembered by his eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, three brothers, Dennis (Kathy), Leonard (JoAnne), Gary, two sisters, Marilyn (Phillip) French, Barbra (Alvin) Herr Sisters-in-law Collette Roland, Pierrette and Dick Roberts, Paulette Schellwatt, Brother-in-Laws Robert and Miriam Faugere, Alain and Marie Jose Faugere, and many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. Robert was preceded in death by his loving parents (William and Ailie), brothers Arthur and Theodore, Sisters-in-law, Lois and Susan, Brother-in-law Willie Schellwatt, Henry Faugere, Father-in-law Jean-Pierre Faugere, Mother-in-Law Aline Faugere, Son-in-law Deen Guthrey
Arrangements are by Midwest Cremation Association/Dennis Funeral Home, Walker, Minnesota.