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Life Story / Obituary
As his family and friends can attest, Bob Schinderle lived a life of purpose and fully embraced each moment he was given. He was a family man through and through, and loved nothing more than being surrounded by family and friends. Bob treasured his roles as a husband and father, but he would’ve argued that becoming a grandfather was the greatest gift he’d ever been given. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
Joseph and Mary (Andreoli) Schinderle were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Robert David on July 8, 1941, in Iron Mountain, Michigan. One of three Schinderle sons, Bob (as he came to be known) was raised in the family home alongside his eldest brother, Raymond (Ray), and younger brother, Gerald (Jerry). Bob’s parents owned and ran the Schinderle Bakery, which turned out delicious cakes, sweet rolls, breads, cornettis, and crusty hard rolls. At age 12 he endured the passing of his father, leaving his mother to run the bakery and raise three boys on her own. To help their mother, Bob and his brothers spent many hours working in the bakery and delivering bread.
In many ways, Bob was a typical young boy of his generation. He engaged in boyhood mischief, such as raiding neighborhood gardens at night using a pen light to check if the vegetables were ripe. He attended Amidon Elementary and graduated from Iron Mountain High School where, as a freshman, he earned a varsity letter as the Mountaineers’ running back. Bob was also a track and baseball star. After high school, Bob accepted a football scholarship from Western Michigan University (WMU) where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in counseling.
Bob became a teacher at Robert Fulton Junior High School in Milwaukee and found great joy influencing the minds and lives of his students. In time, he became principal and eventually assistant superintendent at Gull Lake Community Schools . Bob was well-respected by students and teachers alike. He was always ready to lend an ear or offer a helping hand to anyone in need, which often included a sweet treat from a full candy dish he kept on his desk. Bob led with a calm steadiness, and he preferred to let others have the spotlight.
Bob was introduced to Martha by his cousin Judy when he was only 14. Little did they know at the time that they would forever hold the keys to each other’s hearts. Bob and Martha shared a circle of friends, and over time a romance developed between the two of them. When they started dating, a movie and Bruttomesso’s pizza made for a favorite night out, and the bakery truck was sometimes their ride. In December of 1961, while Bob was at WMU and Martha was in Northwestern’s Nursing School in Chicago, Bob made reservations at the Italian Village restaurant in Chicago complete with a private booth -- a big deal for a couple of small-town kids. As they enjoyed their dinner together, Bob surprised Martha with a diamond ring and a proposal. A graduate of the prestigious Wilton School of Cake Decorating in Chicago, Bob decorated the seven-tiered cake he presented to his bride on their wedding day.
Exchanging vows in 1963, their partnership exemplified what marriage is truly intended to be, and it was easy to see that Bob adored her. He could serve Martha a simple cup of coffee and make her feel like it was pure gold. Bob loved giving her gifts at random times, not just special occasions, and he always made her feel glamorous. Bob had a way of turning even the little things into special moments. He was equally happy with dinner at an elegant restaurant or spending an evening on the patio watching the birds. The couple loved dancing together in their kitchen as much as they enjoyed their travels around the world.
Bob and Martha welcomed three children, David, Amy, and Steven, into their hearts and home. Bob was always so proud of his kids, and he was an active part of their lives. He could spend hours in the yard, tossing a baseball with them or teaching them to throw a football with a proper spiral. Family trips to Mackinac Island where they biked around the island, as well as trips to Iron Mountain or Florida were among some of their favorite moments. These trips were legendary as the kids would sleep in the back of the station wagon in sleeping bags while Dad drove.
A man who liked to keep busy, Bob had many interests. He and his boys took an annual fishing trip to Spanish, Ontario, where they fished the North Channel of Lake Huron for pike and walleye. They also went deep-sea fishing, where he proudly watched his son, Steve, reel in a white marlin. Bob and Martha took many river cruises as well as trips to Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary, and many other countries. Bob was sometimes hesitant to spend the money, but he never once regretted those memories made. The best moments often involved a bit of dancing, usually to the serenade of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, or Andrea Bocelli. When at home, Bob enjoyed feeding the birds and maintaining the flower garden, and he followed politics with great passion, much to the chagrin of his wife.
Bob’s family called him “Bobby Pizza" because he was fond of tossing the dough up in the air when he made pizzas. He even once participated in a pizza-tossing contest at the Iron Mountain Italian Festival. Bob was also known for his meatballs and cocktails. He had a cocktail suitcase, which he called his medicine case. With a vodka martini in hand, Bob was an amazing host to everyone who visited.
But nothing was more important to Bob than family and providing a home full of love and inspiration. Bob was thrilled to become a grandfather, and he made a significant impact in the lives of his grandchildren. He was not only a fantastic role model, but also their biggest fan. When anyone met Bob, they could instantly see the immense love he held for his family, and he was so proud of all of his children and grandchildren. and he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
Bob died peacefully at home surrounded by family on February 15, 2021 at age 79. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers: Raymond “Ray” Schinderle and Gerald “Jerry” Schinderle. Surviving are his wife, Martha; children: David (Michele) Schinderle, M.D, Amy (Matthew) Kavanaugh, Ed. D., and Steven (Elizabeth) Schinderle, J.D.; seven grandchildren: Colleen, Joseph, Nolan, Claire, Jacob, Alexandra, and Samuel; sisters-in-law: Donna Schinderle and Louise Wangen; his centennial aunt, Corlinda Newingham; and nieces and nephews: Mary Jo, Dean, Sara, Daeaun, and Kelly.
A private service will be held at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900 with burial at Prairie Home Cemetery. A party with Frank Sinatra music and martinis will be celebrated at a later date. Visit Bob’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.