Friday, March 6, 1936
Date of Death:
Monday, November 2, 2020
84 years old
On November 2, 2020 Robert Caspar Maegerlein, loving husband of Kathleen and father of four, died at age 84.
Robert was born in Dearborn, MI where he graduated from the University of Detroit before he began teaching high school chemistry and became a father of three with his first wife Rose. He later moved to Des Moines, IA where met and married Kathleen. Robert and Kathleen celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2020.
He went on to work for Dial Finance and Beneficial Finance companies before working for IBM in White Plains, NY, and Rochester, MN. Friend Gary Cooper worked with him while at Beneficial and recalls that Robert had his points of view and was passionate about proper use of the English language. “He argued with almost everybody. We never fought, it’s that we debated a lot of things.”
Robert expressed great respect for IBM co-worker Wayne Stevens whom he credits as a mentor and for teaching him to be sensitive to structured programming. “Wayne went around looking for things to improve,” Bob recalled when thinking about Wayne. “He had great technical influence on my technical life.” He kept in touch with Wayne while Wayne was battling cancer.
While living in Belgium and Italy during IBM work assignments, Robert spent many weekends and time off exploring these regions by car with his family. Robert homeschooled his children during the stay in Brussels. Daughter Jill remembers that he was a patient teacher. “We would sit side by side at a table in the late afternoon before he would go to work at night, and he painstakingly demonstrated sentence structure. It’s not so much the English lessons that I remember, it’s that he taught me to care about detail and I enjoyed watching him write sentences with a fountain pen. He had beautiful writing.”
Robert settled in Rochester after completion of the assignment in Italy, where he served on the Rochester School Board, was active in the St. Francis Catholic Church Social Justice Committee and served as lector at St. Francis.
He enjoyed photography and his extensive portfolio includes photos of his children, grandchildren, family, friends and neighbors from Montclair, NJ and Rochester, MN, holiday gatherings and events, his pottery, annual wine tasting gatherings he hosted and the many places he traveled. An accomplished potter, he shared his love of clay creation with his pottery student, Jocelyn. His pottery was displayed at the Rochester SEMVA Art Gallery.
He also enjoyed creating the family Christmas cards and experimenting through the years with various art media. Robert was known for his annual Christmas letters which documented the family news, travels, and highlights of the years beginning in the 1980’s. Many of the letters included lessons in proper use of English, commentary on the geese which inhabit greater Rochester, and efforts to bring back the clock tower and bell back to Fire Station # 1 in Rochester. Robert was an author of two books, “It Took A Village” which documented his early years growing up in Dearborn, MI and “A Peripatetic High School Education” which recalls his years in Dallas, TX at a seminary.
Known for his attire of colorful work ties, most of which were made by Kathy from curtain fabric and fabric with distinctive patterns which Robert selected himself. The ties were worn with blue Oxford shirts, Hush Puppy shoes and jeans. The workplace attire was an expression of his individuality and rebellion of the conservative IBM dress code of predominantly white shirts. His good friend Jim Dugan recalls that while he was Bob’s manager at IBM, “He was a fun guy. He was a little different. The ties were wild, they were non-standard IBM ties. Bob got away with the ties because it was a changing time at IBM.” Robert said of this time in his career that. “My best work was at IBM under Jim Dugan.” It was during that time that Robert was awarded Systems Engineer of the Year by IBM and worked on the system behind the NY Stock Exchange ticker for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC). He also presented annual reviews of IBM accomplishments in front of SIAC corporate leadership.
Robert is preceded in death by his father and mother, Robert Carl and Mary Louise, his brother John, son Robert and daughter Marian. He is survived by his wife Kathleen, his four children, Jill, Jeff, Jodie and Janet, eight grandchildren Jennifer, Kristen, Kelly, Sara, Hazel, Oliver, Axel and Elliot, his sisters Judy, Marie and Elinor and several nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Robert will be at 3:00p.m. on Sunday, November 8, 2020 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Rochester, MN. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at church. Live stream of the funeral service is available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQN97e8cA6bYofYeJWJ8_JA/videos?view=57
Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.
Online condolences are welcome at www.mackenfuneralhome.com
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The family of Robert Maegerlein has received the following condolences.
I was so sorry to read of Bob's passing. I remember working with him on the area PTSA. I know he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Kathy and family. I was sorry to learn of Bob's passing. Thank you for sending the link so that I was able to be part of everything. May God be with you all as you move on from your loss.
Dear Kathy and family, So sorry to hear that Bob has returned to God. Bob will most certainly liven things up in heaven as he did everywhere that he went. He was a good man and we too shall miss him. Love, hugs and prayers from us.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to view Bob’s beautiful service. The prayers that Bob wrote for Prayers of the People were a powerful reminder to me of why he made such an impact on me as a neighbor child and friend to Jodie and Janet. I honor his memory and his commitment to leaving the world a kinder and more compassionate place than it was before his journey here. May we all be inspired by Bob’s example to live a life of purpose. My love and condolences to Kathy, Jodie and Janet and to all of Bob’s family and friends.
The youtube viewing of Bobs funeral service was a very good way for all to be able to participate with you and family. Thank you for allowing us to be there. May you always remember the times you have had together and thank the good lord for your life together.....Thoughts and prayers are with you at this time....
Our deepest sympathy during this very difficult time. We remember Bob being a tireless supporter of all DFL candidates, especially during both of our campaigns. We were saddened to hear of his passing.
Duane and Deb Sauke
I did not know Bob well, but admired the social justice work he did with his church and the took pleasure in viewing his wonderful photos, some taken during a trip I took with Bob and Kathy to Costa Rica. I know he will be missed by his family and friends. My prayers are with you, bless you all.
We moved to Rochester, Minnesota from Los Angeles at the same time as Bob and his family moved from Italy. Coincidently, we both built a new house on the same street, just one house apart. We have many fond memories of Bob, but the one we had first was when we saw that he was putting colorful rocks in his front yard instead of grass; similar to what people do in the desert Southwest. It was then that we knew Bob was unique. Like Bob and Kathy, we had two daughters going to the same school at the same time and we attended the same church. One thing for sure is that you never had to wonder what was on Bob’s mind. Within seconds of seeing him, he would tell you. While you may or may not agree, although we usually did, it was always a discussion worth having. We moved back to California in the late 1990’s and one of the things we most looked forward to were Bob’s Christmas “letters”. They were unlike any we had ever seen before. We felt like we never left his presence. Like anyone who knew Bob, we will miss him dearly. Our condolences go out to Kathy, Jodi, Janet and the rest of his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you...Ray & Carmel
Dear Kathy, Jodie, Janet, and all of Bob's Family -
I am so, so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was such a kind neighbor and even as a young child I always remember and love him for his courage and bravery. He was never afraid to do what was right or speak out on others' behalf. I also was so lucky to have him as my confirmation sponsor in high school - I learned so much and I am still so grateful that he spent the time to help me.
I cannot help but think of Bob up in heaven today wearing his blue shirt and smiling down on us here on earth. I know that he would be very happy to see the promise of change that he worked so tirelessly for all his life.
Sending all my love to you guys. I wish I could be there with you all tomorrow and I will be sure to watch the livestream and I will be there in spirit.
Dear Kathy and family,
Hoping each day gets a little easier for all of you. We remember Bob as a multi-talented man. We know he will be missed by many.
Sending our love and prayers
Bo and Sue Sturhahn
Jeff and family. May Robert Rest In Peace. Condolences go out to Jeff and his extended family. It’s never easy to lose a parent, and I am sorry for your loss.
Dear Bob, Kathy and Family,
it was such a gift to to get to know this amazing man! Bob was/is a passionate soul who gave me an example of how one could live a life in pursuit of fairness and justice for all.
blessings and love, Dave Plevak
Dear Kathy, Janet, and Jodie -
Bob was one of the most unpretentious, kind, passionate - about whatever subject he was interested in - people I have known. Over the years, I enjoyed conversing with Bob whether it was on a school district committee or socially at one of his famous wine tastings. He was particularly concerned about the welfare of all children and the greater community.
My condolences to you and family. May your memories of Bob bring you comfort and peace.
- Wendy Andersen Postier
Kathy - thinking of you during this difficult time, sending my love. Kimberly
Kathy & family -
So sorry to hear about Bob's passing. We remember you as neighbors but most importantly I remember Bob for all the work we did together through PTA. I have great memories of road trips to the cities, the great conversations in the car and the passion Bob had for making sure all children received a good education. His advocacy work on their behalf was to be admired and recognized. May he rest in peace.
Linda and Roger Spee
Dear Family of Bob,
As a member of SEMVA, I got to know Bob and always stopped to have a good conversation with him.
A gentleman with lots of interests gave me an insight into his interesting life.
He was a person of deep faith, cared for others and always called me Sister.
May he Rest In Peace.
I was sad to learn about your husband's death. You have a bridge family who will send thoughts and prayers on your behalf. I hope to meet you in person some day.105
I was so sorry to hear of your husband’s death. Blessed be his memory. I’m thinking of you and sending a hug your way.
In sympathy, Pam
I was so sorry to read about Bob's death on All Soul's Day. I will miss his wit and his passion for justice! The annual wine tasting parties were events to always look forward to. And our meals together with Mike and Susan Shepard, were too few and far between, and of course non-existent since Covid I'm glad to add Bob to the list of "holy men and women" that I can ask to pray for us. Love you Bob!
Kathy, Jodie and Janet and family - I am sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I remember you all fondly as neighbors in Parkwood Hills. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.
Randy and Carol Egan
Kathy, Jodie and Janet and family- I am so sorry for your loss. I have such good memories of debating and discussing all sorts of topics with Bob. I have very fond memories of working on is school board campaign and attending wine tastings! I have a piece of his beautiful pottery prominently displayed in my home. I hope you can find solace in your happy memories. Mary, Sam and Anna
My condolences to the Maegerlein family. I met Bob when he worked on the School Board. Your husband, Dad, and grandfather was a bright light with a great sense of humor. Bob will be missed.