Robert Anthony Debelak
TRENARY – Robert Anthony Debelak Sr., 70, of Trenary passed away at home on Feb. 4, 2014, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Bob was born in Marquette, on Dec. 30, 1943, to Robert and Mary (Laurich) Debelak. He graduated from Trenary High School in 1962 where he excelled at basketball. He holds Trenary’s record for most points in a single game (54) which he achieved as a junior against Grand Marais. Bob received a bachelor’s degree in education from Northern Michigan University in January 1967 and began his teaching career at Rapid River High School as a social studies and physical education teacher in the fall of that year. He married Elaine Heimerdinger on June 6, 1970 and enjoyed 43 wonderful years of marriage. He taught school for 17 years, then spent the remainder of his career working in construction until his retirement in 2007. Bob remained active throughout his life playing on several alumni basketball and fast-pitch softball teams in his younger years.
Bob lived his entire life in the central Upper Peninsula, with the last seven years in his family home on 80 acres in Trenary. He and Elaine spent their retirement traveling extensively, including two trips to Europe. Their trip to his family’s homeland of Slovenia was his favorite. He loved being with his family, especially attending his grandchildren’s sporting events. Bob also enjoyed spending time with his friends in their “coffee clutch” at the Silver Dollar discussing sports, politics, and local news. He loved being in the woods and at the family camp behind the Debelak farm in Traunik. Bob took great pride in keeping the camp roads in good condition which meant he was able to spend a lot of time on his dad’s old 1939 Ford tractor. He took on a leadership role in the conservancy of the Debelak farm and property, making sure the land, grounds, and buildings were properly maintained. He also spent many fun filled days four-wheeling with Elaine and their friends and was a lifelong active member of St. Rita Catholic Church.
Bob is survived by his wife, Elaine; son, Robert A. Debelak Jr. (Monica) of Sterling Heights, Mich.; daughters, Michelle Rubick (Greg) of Gladstone; Mary Ann Paxton (David) of Eagle, Mich.; grandchildren, Ben, Erica, and Jenna Rubick, Nicholas and Jacob Debelak, Jude, Luke, Julia, and Alyssa Paxton; sister and brother-in-law, Mary Kay and Marv Wanska; aunt and uncle Pauline and John Mikulich; aunt Josephine Debelak as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother.
A visitation will be held at St. Rita Catholic Church parish hall on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. with the funeral Mass immediately following. Arrangements have been made by Bowerman Funeral Home in Munising (see website) www.bowermanfuneralhome.net.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations will be directed to Mayo Clinic – Pancreatic Cancer Research, Lake Superior Hospice, and caringbridge.org.