Longtime Rochester resident and local businessman, Robert "Bob" Samuel Stelley, passed away on Friday, Oct. 11 surrounded by his family at Charter House Supportive Living.
Bob was born on July 16, 1932, in Albion, Neb., to Arthur F. and Mary Frances (Hayes) Stelley. He graduated from Albion High School in 1950 and enlisted in the Army, serving in the Korean War. After his honorable discharge from the Army, he returned to Albion, Neb., where he met and married Laureen Margaret Kraus on Dec. 10, 1955.
Bob and Laureen lived in Omaha, Neb., Mankato, and eventually made their home in Rochester, where he was the owner-operator of a Shell gas station, worked in the LP business and also worked at the Youth Vocational Center (YVC) as a youth counselor. With his hard work and dedication, he went on to start Stelley's Pure Ice, which became the local ice supplier for southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin. Bob then opened Westgate Service Station, which he continued to operate with his wife and two sons until he retired. He also had residential and commercial properties. Bob was a member of St. Francis Catholic Church, Elks Lodge 1091 and the American Legion Post #92.
Bob was the epitome of a family man and enjoyed being with his family whether it was a gathering in the backyard for a BBQ, time on the Mississippi River at his place in Wabasha, or attending his kids and grandkids' various events. He was also an avid "car guy" and overall fix-it man and could often be found in his garage working on his cars and multiple other projects. He especially loved Thunderbirds and still has a 1963 Thunderbird in his garage to this day. It brought him so much joy to have his children and grandchildren drive his Thunderbird. Most of all, Bob's main goal in life was to make people laugh and he will be remembered for his ability to connect with people of all ages.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Laureen; eight children, Jean (Scott) Larson of Rochester, Judy Behnken of Boise, Idaho, Jacquie (Ed) Fricker of Stewartville, Jill (Bill) Stelley Virden of Golden, Colo., Jeff (Connie) Stelley of Rochester, Jim (Linda Lee) Stelley of Rochester, Janet (Gary) Gunderson of Rochester, and Jon (Deanna) Stelley of Rochester; 23 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Arthur Stelley of Waco, Texas.
He is preceded in death by his parents; son, Jerry Robert; son-in-law, Jeffrey Behnken; and two brothers, Harold and Charlie.
Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home. A memorial service will follow at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Seasons Hospice.
Online condolences are welcome at www.mackenfuneralhome.com.