A man steadfast in his beliefs but more than willing to offer the shirt off his back, Robert Joseph Falkey made a mark in this life. He was a loving husband, a caring father, and a fearlessly fun grandfather. We will miss him dearly, for he was an irreplaceable good soul.
Bob was born in 1948 which was a time of renewed hope in America. World War II was part of history, and America’s heroes were returning home to begin their lives and start a family. This was the year in which the handy invention of velcro was introduced creating a long-standing sound known to all from that point on. This period of time also became known as the Baby Boomer era. While many families began their young lives together, they also enjoyed the entertainment that appeared on the television set. In the span of one year, America’s living room entertainment grew from a mere 5,000 sets to over a million.
Life was good in 1948 for certain. As the year neared its conclusion, Edwin Falkey, Sr and Helen prepared for the holidays with the excitement of a precious baby on the way. On December 10, 1948, in Sheyboygan, Wisconsin, Robert Joseph was welcomed to the world by his older brother, Edwin Jr. and his parents. In time, he was joined by two other siblings, Mary and Bill. Their parents worked hard to raise their family. Their father was an upholsterer, and their mother worked as a typist.
Though he was born in Sheyboygan, Bob spent his childhood growing up in Milwaukee. Alongside his siblings, there was always something interesting to do. They spent hours riding their bicycles and finding adventures right in the backyard. Their yard also functioned as many types of sporting fields including Bob’s most favorite of football. He played football in school as well until he suffered a torn ligament in the 8th grade.
Bob was quite motivated early on in his life. He served as an altar boy and held several other responsibilities. As he got older, he took on a variety of jobs to earn a little extra spending money. Some of these endeavors included delivering newspapers, renting TV’s to patients, selling magazine subscriptions, and working at Koss Electronics all before he graduated from high school. Along the way, he was able to use his good looks and incredible ambition to find success.
Upon high school graduation, Bob planned ahead sensing he would ultimately be drafted. He put in the effort to become a warrant officer. Ultimately, he joined the U.S. Army where he trained to fly a helicopter. After graduating with flying credentials, he served in Vietnam. He was responsible for flying generals from place to place, flying supplies to the battlefields, and remorsefully returning with soldiers who were wounded or killed in action.
When he returned home from the Vietnam War, he continued to serve in the National Guard. This provided him the opportunity to pay his family helicopter visits, as he would buzz his parent’s home in Milwaukee. His family would hear him coming, so they would run out of the house waving to the skies above where Bob could see them experiencing a thrill.
When his service time was fulfilled, he returned to find employment at Briggs and Straton. He worked there for many years until 1994. Once he was back in the United States and settled into civilian life again, his heart was opened to the idea of finding lasting love. Before finding her, he experienced the amazing gift of fatherhood. He welcomed a son and a daughter into his life, Jeremy and Jennifer. This new adventure in parenting offered him a sense of contentment, but his desire for committed love still remained.
One evening at the local “He and She” Disco bar, Bob had moves that captured the attention of Eileen. She and her sister, Sharon, were out enjoying the night unsuspecting Eileen’s life was about to change forever. Bob swept her off her feet taking her to “Falkey’s Pond.” They ended up in front of Lake Michigan watching the submarine races. Their courtship was brief, as they knew the connection was meant to be. They celebrated their marriage at Greendale Community Church on November 29, 1975.
The combined family grew together, and Eileen lovingly embraced her new role as a loving wife and mother. Bob’s appreciation for the whimsical and fun side of life appealed to his children (and later his grandchildren). He had a fond appreciation for cars. His children vividly remember a driveway full of cars that he intended to repair for resale. He loved to drive these cars as well, and these rides never disappointed his children. They would eagerly accept every invitation to take a ride because they knew their sweet tooth would find immense satisfaction. Bob’s car soon became known as the “candy car” because there was always an unending supply of candy in every nook and cranny. They would find sweet treasures under the seats, in the doors, and just about anywhere else they looked. Any ride with dad became a sweet and marvelous childhood memory.
His love for driving also provided the chance to take many family road trips. They traveled to Mackinac Island, Mississippi, a variety of places in Wisconsin among many other memorable destinations. Many of these trips included “short-cuts” which ultimately ended up being longer but more scenic detours. Bob disdained sitting in traffic, so he would search out backroads which often took longer but satisfied his desire to keep the wheels rolling. He always insisted that they were actually “saving time” because they were in continuous motion.
A few years after Bob and Eileen were married, their religious faith increased. Eileen’s coworker spoke to her about Jesus, and this conversation made a lasting impression. The couple began attending Parkway Apostolic Church where they were baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost. As time progressed, the family of four became a family of five. In 1985, they welcomed Hannah into their lives. She was born in Columbia, South America and quickly became an integral part of the Falkey family even before the adoption was final. The family was finally complete.
As the years moved along, Bob left his job at Briggs to work at Parkway Apostolic Church. He served many roles there including Small Group Pastor, counselor, and administrator of the local Purpose Institute campus. He also worked in the Sunday school, served as an Usher and a Tribe Leader, and taught Bible study classes. In addition, Bob and Eileen traveled internationally and nationally helping other churches set up small group ministries for their congregations. These trips included the Philippines, India, and a combined trip to New Zealand and Australia. Together, they also orchestrated Parkway’s “New Wine Skin’s Conference” which encourages small churches to learn about small group ministry. Bob’s faith continued even after his retirement from Parkway.
As Bob and Eileen watched their family mature and their children leave home to find adult lives, they looked forward to the future together. This future included the excitement that grandchildren would bring. They were not disappointed, for they joyfully watched as the gift of five beautiful grandchildren entered their lives. Bradley, Andrew, Bethany, Megan, and Breanna brought wonderful joy and reason for Bob’s heart to grow even larger with love.
His grandchildren knew that if their grandfather was involved, it was sure to be a fun time. He never shied away from causing innocent trouble or a frequent loud ruckus. He was the one to rile up all the kids and drive Eileen crazy. Fun was always his purpose, and if he achieved that – all appropriateness went right out the window. Sometimes their antics, with the urging of their grandfather, would cause others in public to stare, but that never bothered Bob in the slightest because he was too busy having important fun with the grandkids.
After nearly 41 years of loving marriage, Bob faced the sadness of Eileen’s passing. With the support of his loved ones, he found the goodness in life again. He never let go of their cherished memories together as he faced life without her.
Sadly, we are now forced to say “we will see you again”, as Bob passed away on November 17, 2017. In his life of 68 years, he lived giving 190%. Whether he was dedicating his life to his family and Jesus, flying helicopters, fixing up cars, or goofing around with his grandchildren – he did it all with passion and to the extreme. We will miss his exuberance for the simple joys of life. As we reflect on our loving memories of Bob, we will also hold them close to our hearts.
Family and friends will gather Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at Parkway Apostolic Church 10940 S. Nicholson Road from 5:00 PM until time of the Memorial Service at 7:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers memorials to the McLean’s – Enugu, Nigeria Missionaries C/O Parkway Church or Tupelo Children’s Mansion C/O Parkway Church.
LifeStory Funeral Home