Robert M. Boehm’s 97-year journey to heaven came to completion in the early hours of Palm Sunday, April 9. Waiting for him in eternal life are his parents, John and Karolina, his brothers John and Rich and his beloved wife Esther. His love of God was his top priority in life, and he served Him with fervor up through his final days. A close second was his devotion to family. Along with Esther, he raised four children — John, Debbie, Barbara and Carol. They surrounded him throughout his final days. He helped mold and raise 10 grandchildren and adored the time he spent with his nine great grandchildren. His impact on his family will continue to be immense. Bobby taught his grand kids the value in knowing when to “put up your dukes” while teaching them love, kindness and compassion were the better options. He loved rough-housing with his grandsons and spoiling his granddaughters, always reaching into his shirt pocket for the fine-toothed comb he needed to fix his messed-up hair. He was a fixture in his church, St. Paul Lutheran in Oak Lawn, IL, and the surrounding community. Following the death of his wife, Esther, in 1997, he spent a lot of time on what he called “dates.” In reality, they were selfless acts of unrelenting kindness. The nights out to dinner, the help getting to and from grocery stores, the rides to and from church made moments slightly better for the widowed, lonely and less fortunate. Born on Dec. 24, 1919 in Chicago, he worked from a modest childhood to dutiful service for the United States Army during World War II, joining the day before Pearl Harbor. He dreamt of the life of a “beach comber.” Instead, he was led down a different path. After starting a family with Esther, he worked two jobs on the railroad as an engineer in the “Heights” of Chicago, literally all the livelong day. He developed a great business sense and loved the stock market, not because it meant a nicer car in his driveway or fancier food in his belly but because it meant he always could slip 20 bucks to his grand kids for a lunch on him down the road.
He, and this is no exaggeration, also loved America’s greatest retirement plan — the Roth IRA. Waiters and waitresses — and especially waitresses — across the country literally were told of the advantages of the plan by its greatest evangelist. He loved his children dearly, but the people he considered family extended beyond there. He was highly regarded by his in-laws, the Fasels, and he inherited four more families through the marriages of his children to Marcia Hatstat, Gary Campbell, Bruce Woike and Glenn Runge. He loved playing pinochle at family gatherings, savagely bidding up loved ones and winning game after game. And, if you weren’t counting the cards being played, he’d let you know. Bob’s voice would boom through rooms, deep and loud. His words were almost always punctuated with a roaring laugh or a gentle, lady-killing smile. Everyone who spent time with him adored him. A memorial wake and funeral to celebrate this incredible man’s life will be held on April 15, 2017 at St. Paul Lutheran Church with viewing at 9 am until services at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Oak Lawn, IL.
After long days of double shifts on Illinois’ railways, Bobby would walk through the door at the home he built for his wife and family. His children would rush him, open arms, saying “Daddy’s home.”
And, in his death, it’s those same two words — “Daddy’s home” — that give them the most comfort.