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Robert H. Frankenstein

Obituary for Robert H. Frankenstein

April 1, 1936 - February 3, 2018
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin | Age 81


Robert H. Frankenstein, 81, of Beaver Dam passed away on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at his home.

Robert Hilbert Frankenstein was born in the family farmhouse in the Town of Calamus on April 1, 1936. His parents were Julia Ruth Schwandt Frankenstein and Hilbert Gustave Frankenstein.

He grew up during the latter part of the depression and during WW II. He attended St. Stephen's Lutheran School and later received his diploma from Beaver Dam High School. He lived and worked on the family farm until he entered the Army for two years at age 17 and served his country in Korea.

Bob also served both as a Junior Leader and Adult Leader in the Leipsic 4-H Club.

After returning home from the service, he worked for General Motors (building Chevrolet cars) in Janesville for four years.

He married Jeanne Kohls in 1957 and was blessed with two children, Douglas Robert, and Mary Jean. The family returned to the Beaver Dam area in 1960 where he worked for Sears Roebuck; first in the Service Department and then designing and contracting home remodeling projects for thirteen years.

The couple parted after fourteen years of marriage.

After a period of time Bob remarried, this time to Lorraine Brewer of Beaver Dam. She had three grown children and a pet deaf cat named Snoopy. He loved and treated them all as his own.

When Sears closed their store in Beaver Dam, he worked for Dodge County for seventeen years as a Maintenance Mechanic and then for the State of Wisconsin about nine years retiring as a Superintendent of Buildings & Grounds.

During this time, Bob also worked as a part-time licensed call staff instructor for Moraine Park Technical College teaching: Boiler Engineering, Pneumatic controls, Building Maintenance, and Basic Refrigeration to adults on several campuses and also trained State of Wisconsin employees for many years. He received two nominations for Educator of the Year Award from his students.

When Bob retired, he devoted his time to volunteer work. With the blessing of the Dodge County Historical Museum Board, he spearheaded and spent thousands of hours on the construction and funding of "The Veteran's Museum", "Old Beaver Dam" and "Research Room" sections in the Dodge County Historical Society building.

He also spent many years interviewing community veterans, writing and publishing two books of their stories in their honor donating all proceeds back to the Veteran's Center and Museum. Bob also compiled the 175th birthday history book of Beaver Dam and The Pictorial History book of Beaver Dam.

Bob served on the Dodge County Historical Society Board for many years and volunteered as a guide in the museum, delighting in escorting children and adults through artifacts of old community life and local military history.

He was a founding lifetime member of AMVETS, a lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and lifetime member of the American Legion where he served as vice commander and commander of American Legion Post 146 for several years.

Bob was humbled when asked to be the project manager and designer of Veterans Memorial Park and the Veterans Memorial, which was completed with the help and wisdom of faithful committee members.

Again, he was asked to spearhead the fundraising, construction, and design of the new American Legion Post 146 Veterans Center working with a very dedicated and loyal committee, completing it in about three years. He also volunteered as the Veteran's Center Manager for several years. It was with a humble heart and quiet encouragement that he worked with each committee, knowing full well it was really they who moved the dirt, pounded the nails, raised the walls and painted history into the Beaver Dam landscape. He felt so privileged to do his small part in preserving community life and dreams, tucking them safely into memorial granite, two veteran's story books, a 175 years of Beaver Dam history book, The Pictorial History of Beaver Dam, Veteran's Memorial hall, and the Veteran's Museum.

He also spearheaded the creation of three different Millennium time capsules for school children and local community service clubs, to be opened at some point in future history.

Bob was honored by community veterans as Legionnaire of the Year, (Local Post 146, Dodge County, and State Regional levels) for his work on the memorial, veteran's museum and recording the stories of local veterans. He also received Lions Club Citizen of the Year award, Exchange Club Senior Citizen Volunteer of the year award with a proclamation of same from the mayor of Beaver Dam, and The Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG) Outstanding Community Service Award. He was a member of AARP and served as president for two years and received two Volunteer of the Year awards from AARP.

Bob was featured on the front page of The American Legion Magazine (second only to the National Geographic in circulation) and his work was featured in Branson, Missouri by entertainer Wyman Lee to honor veterans.

He was a member of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church most of his life and volunteered many hours for his beloved church, assisting with the church history exhibit for their 125th anniversary, serving as an elder, Pioneer leader and also volunteered several years with the school computer program and finance bookkeeping.

He served on the Steering Committee at the Beaver Dam Senior Center and did volunteer work for the hospital, and gave local veteran history presentations in schools and nursing homes.

He also collected farm toys, was challenged by his computer and enjoyed guiding many senior citizens through the mystery of computer operation.

Bob was preceded in death by grandparents, his natural mother, his step-mother, his father, a younger brother (Herbert) a sister (Alice Engebretson) and a step-brother. (Alvin Steffen)

Bob is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Lorraine of Beaver Dam, his son Douglas (special friend, Sue) Frankenstein of Marenisco, MI, his daughter, Mary (James) Baliker of Middleton, his step-son Gavin (Sandra) Brewer of Horicon, step-son, Wally Brewer of Beaver Dam, step-daughter Melody (special friend, Ron Andrews) McGowen of Beaver Dam; his sister, Carol Thurk of Waupun; his brother, Albert (Phyllis) Frankenstein of Mukwonago. He is also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He treasured his extended family.

A visitation will be held at St. Stephen's Ev. Lutheran Church in Beaver Dam on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 from 10 a.m. until the time of the funeral service at 1 p.m. at the church. Rev. Seth Dorn will officiate. Military honors conducted by the Beaver Dam American Legion Post #146 will immediately follow the funeral outside the church. Inurnment will take place at Oakwood Cemetery in Beaver Dam at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Stephen's Ev. Lutheran Church, the Dodge County Historical Society or the Veteran's Center all of Beaver Dam.

Bob's family wishes to thank Hillside Hospice for their care and support.

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Beaver Dam, WI 53916
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