Robert Louis “Bob” Betchkal died February 10 his home. Born September 10, 1936, to Herbert and Frances (Cetrano) Betchkal. Graduated from St. Rita’s Catholic School, then St. Catherine’s High School in 1955.
After observing a worker on a telephone pole, he decided to apply for employment at the Bell Telephone Company in Racine, where he continued to work after Bell “split” into AT&T. After 37 years of service at AT&T, he formed B&B Communications, until he fully retired in 2000.
He married Charmaine “Cherie” Blum on January 19, 1957. As co-stars of the legendary “Bob & Cherie” Show, they raised a loving family and enjoyed more than 20 years of retirement in Las Vegas. They went on oceanic cruises and visited National Parks around the US.
Bob was a lifetime member and regular attendee of St. Rita’s Church. He belonged to the Telephone Pioneers, bowled in Monday’s Senior League at Castle Lanes, and was a member of Roma Lodge. He was a loyal son and brother, who built his own home a mile from the family homestead but returned to the “4-Mile Farm” daily each summer to tend his “super garden.”
His tomatoes were renowned for their quality and his sweet corn was second to none. From May through September, wild white horses couldn’t drag him away from his beloved produce patch. He was a life-long Packer season-ticket holder – beginning with their “home” games at Milwaukee County Stadium – and was present at Lambeau Field to cheer the Pack on at the legendary “Ice Bowl” victory over the villainous Dallas Cowboys on December 31st, 1967. Bob loved rebuilding vintage Massey-Harris tractors – produced at the time his own father was employed at the Racine assembly plant. He also loved the Milwaukee Brewers, Joe DiMaggio, pickled herring, manhattans, strawberry shortcake, and the Corner House.
Bob is survived by his wife, Charmaine “Cherie”; his sons, Steve ( Julie) Betchkal, Rob Betchkal and Jerry Betchkal; daughter, Luann (Bill) Nurmi; his grandchildren who gave him much joy, Venessa (Andy) Zegers, Nick Nurmi, Davyd (Kim Arthur) Betchkal, Emerson Betchkal, Ramone Betchkal, and Nicole(Mike) Leon; great-grandchildren, Mikey Leon, Daphne and Margot Zegers; his brothers; Richard ( Janice) Betchkal, Frank (Doris) Betchkal; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Anne Betchkal, Ken (Marcia) Wishau, Bob (Shirley) Christopherson, Nemon ( Carol) Taylor, and Lenore Binford; many nephews, cousins, close friends and helpful neighbors. In addition to his parents, Bobbie was preceded in death by his brother James, sister Maryann, brother-in-law David Binford, daughter-in-law Carmen Radtke-Betchkal, and nephew Kent Wishau.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Rita Catholic Church, 4339 Douglas Ave, on Friday, February 15, 2019, 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Hwy 32. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Thursday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. and at the church on Friday from 10 to 10:45 a.m. (Roma Lodge Service 10:45 a.m.) In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to St. Jude’s Hospital, St. Rita’s Church, or one’s favorite charity are greatly appreciated.
MARESH-MEREDITH & ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME
803 MAIN ST. RACINE, WI 53403
Please send condolences to www.meredithfuneralhome.com