Robert “Mr. Bob” Kazmerchek

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Robert "Mr. Bob" 
Kazmerchek

Click here to view services held for Robert “Bob” Kazmerchek on February 25, 2021.

 

Robert Kazmerchek of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, age 67,  died tragically while cross-country skiing in Wisconsin on February 17, 2021.

He was a 1971 graduate of Marquette High School and attended UWM-Milwaukee. Robert was a long-time employee of Anderson Graphics, helping the company through many transitions and entertaining co-workers with a wicked sense of humor.  Later he worked as a paraprofessional teaching assistant at Lloyd Barbee Montessori School, Cass Street School, and MacDowell Montessori School, where he bonded with children and co-workers alike and was affectionately known as “Mr. Bob.”  His fascination with the world and all cultures took him to remote spots worldwide, mostly on his bicycle. An avid bicyclist and  cross-country skier, he went on long distance bike trips all over the world and participated in a number of the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski races in Wisconsin. He was a life-long learner and lover of all music, who studied Arabic and Chinese and played the ukulele and classical guitar.  His wry sense of humor brought smiles to many people.

He is survived by his sister, Shirley Mathias, and a plethora of friends and relatives. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MPS Foundation Lloyd Barbee Montessori Fund.

Memorial visitation to take place Thursday, February 25 2021, from 4:30-6:30 pm at the Heritage Funeral Home, 4800 S. 84th St., Greenfield, WI. A private family service will follow. 

28 Comments

  1. Stephen Custer February 20, 2021 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Bob was so inspiring to go on bike rides with me and I’ll sure miss him. Never could I find a better friend to quickly get ready and join me in a long bike ride or a quick walk through Brady Street, he was always there as my buddy, ready to explore a new route or restauraunt. He’s so fun, steady and reliable, I can never replace the space in my life he leaves. I miss you Bob!

  2. Jack Jefferson February 20, 2021 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Bob’s family and his many, many friends. I was always inspired by how he lived his life and treated others. There were so many good times shared. It was always a nice surprise when he would pull up on his bike and surprise me along the lakeshore, with his friendly hello.
    I see you out there riding now Bob, on your. favorite bike, on your favorite trail.

  3. Jeffrey Knapp February 20, 2021 at 7:05 pm - Reply

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    Our heartfelt condolences go out to “Mister Bob’s” family and his global array of friends. He touched so many lives living in his inspiring universe! He truly had a life well lived!

  4. Jim Schreve February 20, 2021 at 9:03 pm - Reply

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    Of all the time I have spent with Bob since I first met him, probably most of it has been a bike tours. We also did some nordic skiing together, and a few times went mountain biking, and once snowshoeing. And we saw a total eclipse together. We both liked doing adventurous, strenuous physical activities, although Bob took that a lot further than me. Once in a while we got together for a beer or a meal, sometimes with Tom and Steve, or with my son Kevin and his family or with other friends. In the old days we did a fair bit of partying together too. Altogether, I might have spent a years worth of days with Bob out of the 45 years that I knew him. I will always treasure that year with Bob. I wish I could spend another one with him. Bob was a quirky, interesting character, a good guy, and a solid friend. Ann and I will miss him very much.

    My deepest condolences to Bob’s sister Shirley and the rest of his family.

    • Dan Roadt February 21, 2021 at 7:01 am - Reply

      Brother Jack?

  5. pat knapp February 21, 2021 at 7:19 am - Reply

    My brother, Jeff, was his close friend for just about forever. That in itself is really impressive and really cool. Bob’s name came up often. And it was always about something fun and interesting. Friendships like this aren’t easy to make or keep. Good man. He will be missed.

  6. Jeff Vincent February 21, 2021 at 9:15 am - Reply

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    Most of us in Bob’s circle of friends have kept pretty close for over 5 decades. This itself speaks volumes for the kind of person he was. Bob was one of the most equanimous people you could ever meet. Thinking back over 45+ years I can’t remember one time when he was angry. He had an infectious laugh and had accomplished some impressive deeds. My condolences to his family.

  7. Leif gundersen February 21, 2021 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    So long,Brother Bob….In 1981,,Bob,Jon and
    I rode from La Crosse -Seattle-SanFranCisco and hooked up with Cus In SanJuan Bautista
    I looked up to Bob that entire trip.I was the
    rookie,punk pedaler Bob and Jon waiting
    patiently for me on the western horizon
    every day.
    Many good memories Bob!
    Love to you always

  8. David Lers February 21, 2021 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Bob’s adventurous Spirit was infectious.
    He was one heck of a man.
    Condolences to his family ❤️

  9. Jon Gundersen February 21, 2021 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    I still cannot believe that you’ve left us Bob,
    I guess I subconsciously always assumed that we would someday set out on another bike trip together. Bob never seemed to get any older, even as he recently endured a painful shoulder surgery— he took on the recovery process with anticipation of his next trip….. In the 44 years that I knew him, he was always in good spirits, the only time I saw him irritated was when the Packers choked, but we grew accustomed to that in recent years…. There’s a big hole in my heart where Bob used to be — Farewell old friend….. hope to see you in the great beyond

  10. Kevin Skaggs February 21, 2021 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    I feel grateful to have been a friend to Bob. We shared a passion for bicycling and xc skiing and travel. I was always impressed by how he dreamed of ambitious trips but then made those trips happen. I also admired how he worked in the Milwaukee inner city schools and was obviously looked up to by the kids. I never heard him brag about anything so there was a lot about him that I never knew. I will miss his wry sense of humor and his down to earth modesty. Bob was one of a kind.

  11. Corrie Porter February 22, 2021 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Mr. Bob was such a kind and gentle soul. We were so grateful to have him on our team at Lloyd Barbee. Loved that he was able to provide the Ukele lessons to the children. They loved that! He will be missed.

  12. Sha Harvey February 22, 2021 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Mr Bob was a kind, generous teacher. I don’t know what I would have done without his talent and humor in our Ukulele classes. His love of life and sense of adventure inspired me and all of his students at Lloyd Barbee. I so wanted to teach with him again when we got back to school. I’ll think of him now every time I play my uke.

  13. Kathy Anderson February 22, 2021 at 1:31 pm - Reply

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    When I was a kid, my cousin Bob was an extension of our family – always at the house, even going on vacations with us. His fascination with the world and all cultures took him to remote spots worldwide, mostly on his bicycle. He was a life-long learner and lover of all music. His wry sense of humor always brought a smile to my face. I am glad that he was able to visit me in New Orleans.

  14. Michelle Goedken February 22, 2021 at 4:19 pm - Reply

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    Bob, you were like a big brother. I enjoyed riding to Estabrook for a beer with you and Steve, and when you’d come over to watch Packer and Bucks games. It was nice knowing you were just down the block. You will be missed.

  15. Michelle Goedken February 22, 2021 at 5:26 pm - Reply

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    My condolences to the family.

  16. Julie Buchanan February 23, 2021 at 10:16 am - Reply

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    I have known my cousin Bob my entire life. We were babies in the playpen together, and growing up he spent much time with our family. He was like a brother to me and my siblings. Bob always made us laugh, and things were much more fun if he was with us. We rarely if ever saw him get angry, although at some point he was peeved if we continued to call him “Bobby,” insisting that his name was Robert or Bob. He was always irreverent, and did things like dress up as a pregnant nun for the company Halloween party, or ask us to take his photo on a park bench next to a passed-out drunken bum. He took us rookies cross-country skiing, and, of course, he was amazingly agile and fit and I was hugging trees or falling. Bob rarely complained, and even with his lung issues, he remarked how fortunate he was compared to others. Indeed, he had many good friends and was able to live his life to the fullest.

    We will miss you, Bob.

  17. Terisa Folaron February 23, 2021 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Cousin,
    I am already missing our conversations about China, traveling, Montessori, and all good things that go with being an explorer. Rest well.
    Love, Terisa

  18. Andy Knapp February 23, 2021 at 7:04 pm - Reply

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    Bob was one of my favorite people. He was my dad and mom’s friend but became so much more to me. I knew him all of my life and have countless memories of vacations, skiing, biking, dinners and concerts. One of the things I’ll miss the most is Bob’s laugh where his face would make a smirk and then a little cackle would come out. I will forever miss and remember my Uncle Bob.

  19. Jane Kegel February 23, 2021 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    I was introduced to Bob 40 years ago through my husband, and quickly learned what a tight and intricate network of lifelong friends Bob has. A fun, intelligent group of adventurists, all sharing Bob’s love for bicycling and the great wide open.
    Bob was always “here”. After being gone for a while on one of his numerous global adventures, he’d stop by and discussions would begin again where they left off.
    Bob had a dry sense of humor, and everyone appreciated it. His outlook on life is unique. He is an impressive man.
    Ride on, Bob. You will be missed.

  20. Gloria Fu February 23, 2021 at 8:40 pm - Reply

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    I will miss our conversations and texts about vegan cooking. You were coming along and so focused on getting healthier and stronger. I will miss our happy hours with Karin and Mike, and talk about future trips to Copenhagen and with TDA. I’m so happy we have twin travel bikes, and sad that you never got to enjoy your new bike. Our friendship was brief, but you were a true gem in changing my life and making me appreciate how precious life is. Until we meet again. Here’s my tribute to you I wrote for TDA.

    Bob Kazmerchek – Two-Wheeled World Traveler

    Bob Kazmerchek tragically passed on February 17, 2021 while cross country skiing at the youthful age of 67. Those of us who were fortunate enough to meet Bob on a TDA tour knew that he was a gentle inquisitive soul, who was loved by all on the trips.

    I met Bob in Taiwan in September 2019 at the beginning of the Bamboo Road tour – my first and Bob’s 3rd tour with TDA (Orient Express and Pub Ride were his others), in addition to thousands and thousands of miles in too many countries to count, both solo bike packing and touring with others. While not the fastest rider due to more recent lung issues, he always biked with his unique smile and embraced all new cultures and the diversity of our tour. We could always count on Bob to know words in whatever language we encountered and to know esoteric facts about stuff like durian (yeah that stuff stinks).

    In addition to being a master on the bike, Bob was a consummate student of the ukulele and acoustic guitar. He even became an expert on beers, always finding an aperitif that was unique to our international group of bi-monthly zooms with our European friends. Sadly, Bob and I will not be riding in Copenhagen, Journey to the East or Tour D’Afrique, but Bob will live on in our hearts. Farewell friend. You will be missed.

    – Gloria Fu
    Many photos from Bamboo Road and past tours. Thank you friends of Bob for your contributions.

  21. John Figlesthaler February 24, 2021 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Sad news, indeed, about my childhood friend, Robert Kazmerchek.

    Our family lived on 38th street from 1960-65. With “Bobby”, my brother Dennis and I spent countless hours playing in the alley between our houses, catching crayfish in the lagoon at Jackson Park, or just exploring the neighborhood — even once venturing as far south as Howard Avenue! (Slogging through a large muddy field where we encountered a band of talking dogs! Really!)

    I met Bob again at UWM in the early ‘70s where we’d hang out in the student union, avoiding classes together. I remember him as being a gentle soul with a constant twinkle in his eye evincing an unmistakable fascination with life..

    So long, old friend.

  22. Jeffrey Knapp February 24, 2021 at 3:25 pm - Reply

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    Where to start to describe a dear friend of 52 years? I have so many memories I’d like talk over with him…

    I first met Bob on the 35th Street bus riding home from Marquette University High School. Another classmate was attempting to convince me that Iron Butterfly’s song In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was the best song ever and wanted me to borrow his album. I told him that I already heard the song on the FM station WZMF (only way to hear songs longer than 3.5 minutes) and I really didn’t like it. Bob, sitting nearby, stood up and said In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was GARBAGE and should be purged from the airspace. We instantly bonded and started going to live concerts as much as we could. Many concerts were not memorable but most were great. I never lost that passion for good live music and worked hard to pass it on to my sons.

    Bob has been an integral part of my life as well as my wife Susan and our 3 sons (Andy, Evan, and Aaron) lives over all these years. When our son Andy arrived in our family, Bob wanted Susan and I to name him Elvis. He would vacation with us on a yearly basis (always with a bicycle) all over the world wherever we lived or planned our vacations. Our last vacation with Bob was a Quebec music festival where he road his bicycle with his good friend Jim Schreve part of the way.

    It is rare for someone to have such a unique person as Bob in their life. Never sentimental but always there. Sardonic with a wicked wry wit but showing he cared in his own way. He was truly a gift for my lifetime and I’ll always treasure those memories!

  23. Chris Loss February 24, 2021 at 3:35 pm - Reply

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    This is a nice picture of Bob being a bit over-dramatic with some fish.

  24. John Stano February 25, 2021 at 10:19 am - Reply

    I met Mr. Bob when I began working as a visiting artist at Lloyd Barbee Montessori school for their ukulele program. He began helping me the first year partly because of his interest in music and perhaps the opportunity to hone his ukulele skills. He knew all the kids well through his work as a para and it really made a positive difference right away and helped make the program a success. When he retired he came back the next couple of years to continue to help as a volunteer for the ukulele program and other school events. He was a natural with the kids and I think they responded to his genuineness. I owe him a debt of gratitude for all his help. I got to know Mr. Bob pretty well over the many hours we spent with the kids and all the shared lunches in the staff lounge. He took an interest in my music and attended quite a few of my performances as a guitarist and singer songwriter in the community. He even became a guitar student of mine for awhile. He was a good guitarist too. I always enjoyed working with him and spending time together and hearing stories from his many travels. I really wish he was still around to tell me more about his adventures. It seems he always had a new one in the planning stage. I will miss him showing up at my outdoor performances on his bike. He was a good friend.

  25. Mike Busby February 25, 2021 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I met Bob in Hanoi, and cycled with him to Singapore. He was fun all the way and we stayed in touch via v/c every 2-3 weeks as part of the “Euros” chat. His sense of fun meant he could always be tempted. The “drinking team” (you know who you are) would frequently try and occasionally manage to snare Bob for “just one beer”. It rarely turned out that way. A good and gentle guy. I was very happy to know him. RIP Bob.

  26. David ODonnell February 26, 2021 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Miss you Bob, It was my pleasure to spend 3 months with you on The Bamboo Road 2019. We had fun. A fully fledged member of The Beer Crew. G-d Bless. Sincere condolences to Bob’s family and close friends. Truly felt. David ODonnell. UK

  27. Ray Adamczyk March 2, 2021 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    I met Bob on a 2 week trip to what was the USSR in 1988 . It was a large group of about 50 people, & led by a UWM professor . Bob was part of a “sub-group” of our bus that sat in the back, & we shared all kinds of stories, travel or other . Bob certainly had a wry sense of humor .
    Some of us from that trip have gotten together over the years, but not lately . He surely was an adventure
    traveller, and one of the best people I knew .
    My condolences to his family & friends .

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