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Robert Karczewski Sr.

September 19, 1947 - June 29, 2017
Traverse City, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Robert Karczewski

September 19, 1947 – June 29, 2017

Bob Karczewski passed away peacefully June 29th, 2017 surrounded by his family and those who loved him. He endured progressive medical issues without complaint and was a favorite patient at Munson Hospital and Dialysis and the Ann Arbor Veteran’s Hospital.

Bob grew up on Boughey Hill in Traverse City near the Traverse City Country Club where his father was the golf pro and greens keeper. He always knew when the circus would come to town and would be up before dark when he heard the elephants on Rennie Hill. He would offer to set up chairs or carry water for the elephants, all for free admission. He and his brother would return early after the circus left and search the perimeter of the big top and find pockets full of coins. This likely solidified his lifelong love of both the circus and elephants. He and his son actually saw three circuses in one day. Bob’s strong commitment to the humane treatment of elephants was evident to all of his FaceBook friends.

In 1960, he and his brother Jim won first prize (and $500) in a national Lionel Train layout contest. Bob loved all things trains from Lionel to the C & O. He patiently awaited and greeted many passing trains, at times to the frustration of his siblings and children but they never waited long because Bob seemed to know all the time tables.

Bob took culinary classes at NMC and was a cook while he served in the U.S. Army from 1969 – 1971 at a Nike Hercules Missile site near Dortmund Germany. When he returned home, he worked at Chef Pierre/Sara Lee and as a cook for Aramark Services. He was renowned for his bread and butter pickles. There were many sought after results of his culinary skills; deviled eggs, banana bread, dilly beans but none surpassed the competition for acquiring Bob’s bread and butter pickles. The English cucumbers and peppers had to be just right with only the frozen pearl onions from Oleson’s Market.

Perhaps Bob’s most favorite place (other than with those he loved) was being with those he loved on Drummond Island. His father, Ed and friends built a stone cabin that remains a place of solace for all the Karczewski men. Many weekends have been spent replenishing the propane tanks for Bob’s meals (all prepped and planned in advance with transported cookery), water tanks filled, and memorable visits from bats and bugs both in the cabin and on the way to the ‘crapper’ as it was fondly called. Perhaps Bob’s only recent sorrow was not making it to Drummond for what he knew would have been his final fishing trip. All who would have joined him are comforted by the many memories.

He is survived by everyone he met who had the pleasure of his amazing memory and storytelling talent about growing up in Traverse City most especially his beloved son Robert II and grandson Emerson. His sisters Kathy Snyder, Nancy Nerbonne, and Marilyn Schulz and his brothers Jim and Dave. He was proceeded in death by his beloved daughter Amy Marie and his former wife Christine (Satter) Karczewski.

The family’s preference is for contributions to be made to the Amy Karczewski Memorial Fund at Northwestern Michigan College

He will be sorely missed.

Service will be announced in the future. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to sign the guest book and share your memories and photos with the family. The family chose Life Story Funeral Home.