Joseph Robert “Bob” Wildeman, 88, formerly of Niles

Oct. 28, 1929 — May 13, 2018

Joseph Robert “Bob” Wildeman, 88, formerly of Niles, died peacefully Sunday morning, May 13, 2018, at his home in St. Joseph, following an extended illness.

He was born on Oct. 28, 1929, in Altoona, Pennsylvania to J. Quentin and Avalon H. (Frank) Wildeman. He was graduated from Indiana (Pennsylvania) High School in 1947, and in 1951 was graduated “Cum Laude” with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame (Indiana). In September of 1951, he entered the U.S. Army, serving in the finance corps as a Corporal, and was honorably discharged as a Veteran of the Korean Conflict.

Joseph Robert “Bob” Wildeman

He was first employed in the former Niles Headquarters of the Kawneer Corporation before moving to the Whirlpool Corporation offices in Benton Harbor. He served as a Cost Accounting Manager at Whirlpool for thirty-two years, retiring in February of 1990.

Bob Was a member of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Saint Joseph, Michigan where he served on the Parish Finance Committee, was formerly a member of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Niles where he had served on the Parish Council, and on Saint Mary’s School Board. He was a Past Board President of the Southwest Michigan Volunteer Center in Niles, Past Board Treasurer of Gateway Services in Berrien Springs, Past Board Member of the “ND First” volunteer recruitment organization, and a member of the former Niles City Club.

His family remembers him as a devoted and loving spouse, father, brother, son, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His family always came first. Bob was also a dedicated life-long Catholic, and an avid fan of Notre Dame Football.

On Oct. 22, 1955, at the Sacred Heart Church (now Basilica) at Notre Dame, he married the former Nellie M. “Nell” Weigand with whom he celebrated the 35th anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on March 29, 1991. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Lisa Wildeman and two grandsons, Joseph Ausra and Zachariah Zellmer; and a son-in-law, Daniel Blake; and a brother-in-law, Peter Weigand.

On Aug. 16, 1997, at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in St. Joseph, he married the former Beverly K. (Ober) Smithers who survives. Also surviving are his children, Beverly Blake of Niles, Marcia (Bernard) Loomans of Grand Rapids, Michigan, J. Gregory (Marge) Wildeman of Watervliet, Michigan, Sheila Joseph) Zellmer of Coloma, Michigan and Robert J. (Jami) Wildeman of Arlington Heights, Illinois; grandchildren Christopher Ausra, Adrian Loomans, Cameron Loomans, Nancy (Henry) Miller, Hannah (Brandon) LaSota, Nicholas Zellmer, Avalon Zellmer, Robert B. Wildeman, Samuel Wildeman, and Anna Wildeman; great-grandchildren Michaiah and Emma Ausra, Henry J. Miller, and Melanie LaSota; a step granddaughter, Crissy (Rob) Wilson and their children; Bev’s children, Jeff Smithers, Mike (Kim) Smithers, and Laurie Kolenko; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; Bob’s sister, Anne (Allard) Lightle of Saint Joseph; Nell’s siblings Polli Weber of Mishawaka, Indiana, Dottie Kennedy of Charleston, North Carolina, and Karl (Sue) Weigand of San Diego, California; and many nieces and nephews.

The Mass of Christian Burial for J. Robert Wildeman will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018, at Saint Mary Catholic Church, 203 South Lincoln Avenue in Niles. Committal Rites will follow at Calvary Cemetery, and will conclude with the Veteran’s Flag presentation and “Taps” by the United States Army Honor Guard.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Thursday from 6 p.m. to8 p.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street, Niles. Contributions in memory of Bob may be made to Saint Mary Catholic Church (stmarysniles.org). Online condolences may be left at: halbritterwickens.com.

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