Robert E. Christ
Bob Christ was born January 11, 1926 in Hayward and passed away August 23, 2020 at Water’s Edge Care Center. Bob was 94 years old.
Bob is survived by daughter; Nancy Christ of Hayward/Mpls, son; Rick (Mary) Christ of Galveston, TX, Grandchildren; Brian (Andrea) Neisig of Rosemount, MN, Bo Neisig of Glendale, CO, and great-grandson; Ryan. Bob is also survived by two sisters; Betty Larson of Barron, WI and Gloria (Pete) Reinke of Hayward, WI as well as many nieces and nephews.
Bob is preceded in death by his beloved wife Peg, son Rod, and parents Agnes and Sam Christ.
Bob grew up in Hayward, and when he was about twelve, he rode shotgun in Sam’s gas truck on his route. The laws being “open to interpretation” in those days, they did some deer hunting along the way. When they bagged a deer, they threw it in a compartment on the outside of the gas truck, to be gutted and butchered when they got home. That practice ended when they brought one home, opened the compartment, and deer jumped out and ran throughout the neighborhood by the old grade school. The neighbor’s yelled, “Did you see the deer?” Sam answered, “What deer?” Bob, no doubt, learned a valuable lesson that day… “What deer?”
Bob was an avid hunter until his 80’s, and gave fish and venison gifts to friends and family for years. It wasn’t Thanksgiving at our house unless we butchered a deer in the basement before Thanksgiving dinner. Bob and Rick butchered, Peg and Nancy wrapped and labeled. One year Bob’s grandson, Brian brought his girlfriend from Mpls for the holiday. When Andrea jumped right into the fray and started packaging, we knew she was a keeper.
Bob was a rambunctious teenager, often brought home late at night by a kind, town policeman, who walked him into the house and ordered him to stay there. Bob quit school at 17 to join the Navy. He proudly served on a ship in the South Pacific during WWII, and was always proud of being a Veteran.
After the war Bob attended Electrician’s School before returning to Hayward to wed the very proper Home Ec teacher, Peg, in 1948. It was a case of “Opposites Attract”. They were married 60 years until Peg’s death in 2018.
Bob was foreman for Jump River Electric for many years, supervising his team and climbing poles to restore electricity. Bob would eventually have both shoulders replaced from being “Zapped” too many times.
Eventually Bob bought inventory and started Hayward Electric Supply on Hwy 63 S, without consulting Peg beforehand. So, the Home Ec teacher was suddenly also the Bookkeeper. We still remember how thrilled she was about that.
After selling the business and retiring from Jump River, Bob started a new enterprise, Bob’s Rustic Lamps. He gathered tree trunks with boles and plants from his woods on Windigo and created beautiful and unique lamps. For the next 20 years, they marketed Bob’s lamps all over Northern WI and MN to gift and rustic furniture shops. When they could no longer travel, they set up shop at Hayward’s Flea Market because, well, Bob would just not stop making lamps. In truth, Bob loved giving lamps away more than he loved selling them. Peg liked selling lamps even less than she liked Bookkeeping.
Peg always said she fell in love with Bob for his sense of humor. He was famous for his jokes. Nobody loved Bob’s jokes more than Bob. He told corny jokes, dirty jokes, hilarious jokes, and jokes that weren’t funny at all. When he clapped a hand on your shoulder and exploded in a great, booming laugh, you had to laugh with him. It was contagious. He was also king of the quip and one-liners, as the Water’s Edge staff experienced daily. Amazingly, Bob never lost the ability to joke and express humor even in difficult situations, like when he was losing the battle with dementia. Nancy was often met by a laughing staff member, who recounted his latest quips. A nurse, finding Bob on the floor of his room said, “Oh Bob! Are you hurt?” He looked up at her and replied, “Only my pride” and started laughing, which made her laugh too. We know the feeling. One of the greatest gifts our Dad left us, was a sense of humor.
Bob was an accomplished fisherman. He never had to tell fish stories; he just liked to. You could say he caught whoppers and told whoppers. Here’s a true story from Rick. Bob loved to ice fish. Often he would head out to explore another lake, a man with a 5-gallon pail for his equipment, and to sit on, while he fished. Because he pushed the seasonal boundaries, he carried a long rope. When the ice was “iffy” he tied the rope to a tree on the shoreline and around his waist before walking out. One day he was successfully filling his pail with fish when it happened. He fell through the ice. Always a good man in an emergency, he knew his priorities. He lost some equipment that day, but caught his pail of fish around his ankle, and pulled both himself and the catch-of-the-day to safety.
Bob was a naturalist and his focus was on the appreciation and honesty of nature. Bob, in many ways, represented the Hayward area as it used to be. He was never impressed with wealth or possessions. He disdained pretense and had no problem exposing pretenders with forthright and often colorful language. While people on the shoreline watched a showy powerboat, Bob watched a hawk in a tree, watching the powerboat. Our parents loved their home on Windigo, and the lake community. If anyone had a question, it was “ask Bob”. The lake people stopped by to ask his advice on how to fix things, on trees and plants, on the habits of wildlife, on fishing and hunting. Whatever the issue, it was “ask Bob”. As one neighbor told Nancy this week, “I stopped by to ask him something and he gave me a lamp! I tried to pay for it, but he wouldn’t take it”.
Before Dancing with The Stars, there was Bob and Peg, tearing up the dance floors all over the community. They won Jitterbug contests and danced the other dance steps as well. In their late 80’s, in the apartment at Water’s Edge Assisted Living, Bob and Peg would turn on Lawrence Welk on Saturday and waltz the evening away. If there was live music at the care center, they “walkered” on over to dance there.
Nancy and Rick would like to send love and gratitude to the staff of Water’s Edge – to the incredible Angels who cared for our parents in the last years of their lives. Heartfelt thank you’s for your caring and compassion; it has meant the world to us to know they were happy at Water’s Edge.
Our Dad, Bob Christ has passed. We will always celebrate him, and hear his booming laughter in the thunder, imagining Bob and Peg as they Jitterbug their way through Eternity. We can’t prove it isn’t so….
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