Robert (Bob) F. Oliver Sr., 76, passed away on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at Via Christi Hospital, St. Francis Hospice Center in Wichita.
Bob was born on July 1, 1939, in Ottawa to Moses and Bonnie Oliver.
He is survived by his wife, Bertha L. Wilson, whom he married on Aug. 5, 1956, in Wichita; his children, Robert (Jr.) and Debbie Oliver, LuAnna Oliver, JoAnna and Mark Talbert, and Brian Oliver; 11 grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Moses and Bonnie Oliver; and family members: Rose (sister) and Wilbur Wheatley, Jon Wheatley (son of Rose and Wib), and Irena Lytle (mother-in-law).
He served in the U.S. Air Force and Reserves as an airman first class from 1957 to 1963, and received his honorable discharge in 1963 in St. Louis, ending his six-year military career. While serving in Biloxi, Miss., he enjoyed working on his and Pauls’ family cars to drag race. On weekends, his wife and friends, Paul and Kay Vanderley, raced them at one of the first drag strips in the area.
Bob worked for Boeing Aircraft Co. on radar and electronics systems toward the end of his military career, transitioned to commercial sales, became an entrepreneur and started up multiple retail and wholesale businesses, and then went back to product and advertising sales that enabled him and his wife to enjoy traveling and sightseeing in an RV during the last 30 years.
As a young boy, Bob enjoyed hanging out and working at the ice house and ice skating rink inside where he learned to ice skate. He attended Wichita East High School where he was in Civil Air Patrol and met Bertha. He enjoyed his wife’s good cooking, especially her fried chicken, fried potatoes and onions, playing cards, bingo and golfing with family and friends, pulling water skiers on many area lakes, and playing blackjack and shooting craps in many casinos. He also was active with Shell Knob Shrine Club and Fishing Tournaments on Table Rock Lake in Missouri and with Midian Shriner Arab Patrol Club in Wichita. All these activities benefited Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Prior to his death, he decided to donate his body to the KU School of Medicine “Willed Body Program” to help educate the next generation of medical professionals.
The family had a Celebration of Life Gathering on Memorial Day, May 30, in Wichita to honor his life as a husband, dad, grandpa, uncle and friend. The family asks in lieu of sending flowers that memorial gifts be donated to the National Kidney Foundation in memory of Robert F. Oliver Sr. and his two-and -a-half-year struggle with kidney failure. He always was friendly and had a smile on his face through it all. The National Kidney Foundation will send a personalized card to his wife acknowledging your gift when you include her address as follows: Bertha Oliver 1308 S. Spring Lake Road, #41, Halstead, KS, 67056.
Petersen Funeral Home in Newton was in charge of arrangements.