At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Michigan
1323 Cedar St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With unwavering faith and an enthusiastic heart, Robert "Bob" Hull lived a life rich in faith and family. Born in a time of plenty, Bob also grew up in a time of tremendous challenge and change. Embodying the principles of his faith, Bob possessed a servant's heart and embraced life's trials and joys equally. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, whose loyalty, determination, and sense of adventure proved an inspiration for all who were blessed to know him. Treasured by many, Bob will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The early 1920s were marked by tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts. The economy boomed, wages rose for most Americans, and prices fell resulting in a higher standard of living for most. With the invention of the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, self-winding watch, the instant camera, and drive-in restaurants, the post-war era marked significant advancement as morale flourished throughout the country. During this exciting time, Nathan and Gertrude Hull welcomed their only child, Robert, into their hearts on January 29, 1924.
Growing up in Oshtemo during the 20s and 30s, Bob's childhood was firmly rooted in the values of faith, family, hard work, and service. His parents were farmers who grew a variety of crops including, corn, tomatoes, rhubarb, and strawberries. They also raised chickens. Though Bob didn't have any siblings, he enjoyed close relationships with his cousins. As a kid, he enjoyed selling the family's produce at the roadside stand in front of their home. A natural salesman, he much preferred this over the farm chores.
As a teenager Bob worked at Gilmore Brothers in downtown Kalamazoo and even hitchhiked on occasion to get to work. He attended Mattawan Schools, where he was the boys' sports editor for the Mattawan Mirror. While in high school, Bob had the good fortune of getting to know his life's love, Phyllis Quigley. For quite some time, Bob cheerfully rode his bike several miles to Phyllis' house to visit her, under her father's watchful eyes of course. The pair grew quite fond of each other, but after graduating with the class of 1942, Bob enlisted in the Army. While home on leave, he learned with great disappointment that Phyllis was engaged to another man. Bob persisted over the next several months though, eventually convincing Phyllis he was the better choice. Five months after his return, the young couple eloped to Hartsville, South Carolina, and were married on July 25, 1946.
Over the next 63 years, Bob and Phyllis enjoyed one another's good company and the many blessings of their marriage. Having chosen a career in the military after graduating from Officer Candidate School as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1943, the first 20 years of Bob and Phyllis' marriage revolved around his military service. As their family grew to include their three children, they traveled the world and were stationed at several bases while Bob served in WWII, Korea, and the Philippines. The family lived in Saipan, Japan, California, New York, and France though the years. Though Bob's responsibilities often resulted in long absences, he and Phyllis always worked together to afford their family a loving and stable home. As a result, Peggy, Kathy, and Tom enjoyed childhoods rich in adventure and unwavering family values.
Bob retired from the service as a Major in December of 1962. The family returned from France and settled in his hometown of Kalamazoo. Upon their return, Bob put himself through school to learn television, washer, and dryer repair, while taking a part-time job as a security guard in Chicago. Later, he and Phyllis owned and operated the Hull Family Party Store in Texas Township. In 1964, Bob built a house on 10th Street that he and his family lived in for decades. His daughter, Kathy, was his assistant carpenter and helped him carry the ladder and paint the rooms. Bob installed the electricity, plumbing, drywall, cabinets, and flooring all on his own. If he didn't know how to do something, with his signature "can-do" attitude, he'd research it or find the right people to teach him.
A man of many talents and interests, Bob was an adventurer of life and a terrific role model. While living in France, he had a Vespa motor scooter. Kathy would ride with him everywhere as a child. Together, they traveled to the store, movies, or sometimes just took pleasure rides. His son, Tom, also had his first taste of riding motorcycles on the Vespa, which became the foundation for a shared love for motorcycles and dirt bikes that eventually led Bob and Tom to building a motocross track behind the house on 10th street. They also created a workshop complete with heat to wrench on the bikes. A patient father, Bob taught Kathy how to drive her first car, a Peugeot 5 speed stick shift, which the family brought back from France.
Bob's early years in the service resulted in a life-long love of travel, especially taking Caribbean and European cruises with his wife, kids, and grandchildren. They also enjoyed many adventures in their Avion RV travel trailer, particularly several trips to Branson, Missouri, to see the live shows. In his spare time, Bob often got together for mini-fests with his fellow HAM radio operators and friends, carefully adjusting the dials to see who could tune in the farthest connection. He enjoyed his Harley Davidson motorcycles, big band music, photography, and letterpress printing. He spent many hours at the local library, and later on his computer, learning how to build, create, and understand a new project, of which he always had plenty going.
Bob relished in teaching each of his kids and grandkids how to golf. He and Tom golfed almost every week for nearly 30 years, and they were blessed to take many Springtime trips to Myrtle Beach for a week of golf together. Bob shared special relationships with his grandchildren, who would often call him just to ask about something. Whether talking about the weather or how to make a pineapple upside-down cake, they always knew they could count on his unwavering support and patient guidance. He was their greatest fan and encouraged all of their dreams and endeavors. A passionate University of Michigan football fan, he especially enjoyed following his granddaughters who played in the U of M Marching Band. It was a special treat for Bob to pass on the VW Bug he'd tinkered on for years to his grandson, Michael, who drove it for many years until it caught fire.
In the rare moments he was not working on a project, Bob enjoyed watching old black and white movies, especially Maureen O'Hara movies like "The Quiet Man." He also enjoyed a good meal, particularly German dishes. For Bob, dessert was more important than the meal itself though, and his love of sweets often resulted in a stash of chocolate he even hid from Phyllis. It was a good thing he'd married Phyllis, for one of her many talents was making scrumptious desserts.
Long-time members of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Portage, Bob and Phyllis built their lives together on the firm foundation of faith. Their devotion to one another proved their greatest gift for their family. In their love story, their children and grandchildren witnessed the power of a healthy relationship filled with respect, equanimity, loyalty, and good care. Bob was dedicated entirely to Phyllis and ensured her excellent care, especially during the last decade of her life, as her health became more challenging. He expertly managed her doctors' appointments, found ways to take her on short retreats, and supported her ability to stay in their home until she passed away in September of 2009.
A steadfast and loving man, Bob's legacy will long live in the hearts and lives of those he loved. His living example of confident faith, commitment, determination, and service will long inspire us to greet each day with gratitude and cherish every moment as a gift.
Robert "Bob" Hull of Kalamazoo (MI), San Antonio (TX), and Omaha (NE) passed away peacefully Tuesday morning at the age of 96. Robert is preceded in death by wife Phyllis L. and daughter Peggy J. Hanchar. He is survived by his daughter, Kathleen (Bob) Blackman of Omaha, Nebraska; son, Thomas (Julie) Hull of Grand Rapids, Michigan; 4 grandchildren, Sarah, Angela, Alisha, and Michael, and 2 great-grandchildren; Ella and Luke. A private memorial gathering will be held by family invitation, and interment will be at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Contributions in memory of Robert can be made to Hospice of Omaha or your local Ronald McDonald Children's Charity.