J. Robert Casper
John Robert "Bob" Casper passed away Thursday at home in Dubuque after a 2-year struggle with ALS.
Funeral services will be held at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Visitation will be from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the church.
The Egelhof, Siegert & Casper Westview Funeral Home and Crematory, 2659 John F. Kennedy Road is in charge of the arrangements.
He was born November 27, 1935 to Jack and Alta (Watson) Casper in Shullsburg, WI. As a child he recalled spending summers with his favorite Aunt Florence Watson at the Watson General Store (now Anton's) in New Diggings, running around in the woods and the creek in back. In high school Bob was active in sports and was the pitcher for the tiny Shullsburg team when they incredibly made it to state one year.
Bob then attended the University of Dubuque on a music scholarship with singing skills honed at the Shullsburg Primitive Methodist Church and, as legend goes, a few of the local watering holes as a youngster when his dad would prop him up on a barstool.
Through Bob's younger sister Suzie he met Zoe Ann Egelhof and the two were married at the University of Dubuque Chapel on an extremely hot August 10, 1958 with Bob in a spiffy wool suit. Life soon became very busy for the two students as son Steven and daughter Liza came along as they continued to finished their education. During this time Bob also worked nights at John Deere as a tool specialist.
After the pair graduated from UD they packed up the family and moved to Milwaukee where Bob and Zoe attended the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science. Soon after they returned to Dubuque where Bob joined his father-in-law Chuck Egelhof and Zoe's uncle David Egelhof at the Egelhof Funeral Home on Locust Street. The funeral business became Bob's lifelong profession, and by all accounts it was a perfect fit for his personality and business skills.
In addition to his work at the funeral home, Bob continued to sing at church, weddings, funerals and many public gatherings for the rest of his life. One of the favorites of the family was when he sang Let There Be Peace during the Memorial Day services at Linwood for the veterans. In addition Bob utilized his singing skills in several local musicals just for fun.
Spurred on by his father-in-law Chuck, Bob got the racing bug in the mid-'60s, first running hydroplane boats and then racing karts in the summer and on the ice at Frentress Lake in the winter. He loved to tinker with the engines and was always searching for the latest hot parts to get the edge on the competition. Next it was drag racing followed by stock car racing in his #30 electric blue Buick V-6. In later years Bob loved attending the Legends Night at Farley where his name resides on the Wall of Fame.
Nearly all his life Bob was an exercise fanatic and pursued lots of sports that gave him a good workout and were fun at the same time. Racquetball, weight-lifting and swimming at YMCA, tennis, running, bicycling, SCUBA diving and snow skiing. Perhaps his favorite was water skiing on the Mississippi and entering the water ski marathons which were a big deal back in the '70s. He won several of the competitions and one year went for nearly seven hours on one ski without stopping!
Bob helped with many charity drives over the years and was a member of several service organizations and, his favorites being Rotary and High Twelve. His other treasured club was 990 at the Shooting Park, which had nothing to do with service or charity, but rather good food, great friends, card games, and tall tales.
Bob loved to go on trips and he and Zoe were fortunate to have the opportunity to zig-zag across the country for many decades, visiting family and friends. Vero Beach in Florida has been a favorite winter destination for almost 15 years, driving down in the Crown Vic. They also enjoyed a lot of motorcycle touring with many good friends over the years.
More recently Bob enjoyed meeting with the Thursday Night Galena Walking group, the Saturday morning breakfast gang, and his Wednesday lunch group. Whoever might be up for an afternoon boat ride on the Mississippi was another joy of Bob's.
What struck most people who knew Bob was his zest for living life to the fullest, while at the same time being a good, loyal friend to so many. In fact when ALS began to strike him down, the outpouring of everything he had given to so many throughout his life, appeared to come back tenfold, making these last two years very meaningful to all involved.
Bob is survived by his wife Zoe Ann, son Steven, daughter Liza (Kit) Clark, granddaughters Natalie (Rodrigo) Clark Nieto, Madeleine Clark, Penelope and Paulina Casper and great-granddaughter Vida Magnolia Nieto. He is also survived by his sister Sue (Terry) Harris, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his brother David.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Hospice of Dubuque, the University of Dubuque, Westminster Presbyterian Church or ALS Association, 3636 Westown Pkwy, Suite 204, West Des Moines, IA 50266.
The family would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Hospice of Dubuque, especially Allison and Stacey, who were such a big help in giving Bob the best quality of life possible during this past year.