Robert P. Reese, 95, of Juniper Place at Greencroft of Goshen, formerly of Elkhart, passed away April 28, 2016. He was born February 19, 1921, in Henry County, Indiana, on his grandfather's farm, to Terrell J. and Margaret (Weesner) Reese. He was born again by accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Savior at the age of 16 at Bethel Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and has faithfully served Jesus these many years. Bob is now in heaven hoping to see you there as well.
On August 1, 1943, after four years of courting, he married Pauline "Polly" A. Day in South Bend, Indiana. They celebrated 72 wonderful years of marriage last August. Together they had three children: Terry (Judy) Reese of Elkhart, Donna (James) Geurink of Valparaiso, Kathy (James) Leichty of Goshen; five grandchildren Michael (Katrina) Geurink of Brazil, South America, Michele Geurink of South Africa, Marlene Geurink of Mishawaka, Rebekah Reese of Portsmouth, Virginia, and John (Kristen) Leichty of Goshen. Also surviving are six great-grandchildren: Ian, Vivian, Gabriella, and Jesse Geurink of Brazil, South America, and Alyssa and Aubrey Leichty of Goshen. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Bob attended eleven different schools in Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois, one of which was Riley High School in South Bend. He graduated from Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1939. He also attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
Bob was a Navy veteran who served during WWII from 1944 to 1945 as a radio technician. He also spent some time in the Pacific aboard an LST caring for the electrical equipment. The ship made a number of trips after the war returning various people back to their home countries--Chinese civilians back to China, Japanese soldiers back to Japan, etc.
Bob was employed by a number of different companies as a tool and die engineer, and worked with his father at their tool design company in South Bend. In 1947, his father designed a stabilizing jack to put under travel trailers, and later he made a revolutionary type of trailer hitch. The Reeses sold the tool design business to begin manufacturing hitches full-time in the early 1950s. Reese Products made towing equipment for travel trailers in the USA, Canada, and Australia.
Bob continued in his father's footsteps and became president of the company until his retirement in 1974. Bob and his Dad approached their business with a commitment to biblical principles and a concern for people's spiritual condition. At the suggestion of Bob's mother, a small evangelistic tract was included with every product they sold, an outreach that continued for 40 years.
Bob was an active member of First Baptist Church of Elkhart for 65 years, was on the board of deacons for a number of terms, and taught ninth grade students in Sunday School. He also served on other boards, including Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Los Angeles Baptist College, Stewardship Services Foundation, and Christ Way Ministries. In his spare time, he enjoyed photography, computers, flying, and fellowshipping with people.
He loved his wife and family with all his heart, and the Lord was his greatest love. He will be remembered as a loyal friend to many, a man of deep and consistent faith in Jesus Christ, and a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Visitation will be from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 53953 CR 17 Bristol, IN on Friday, May 6, 2016. There will be additional visitation one hour prior to the 11:00 a.m. service Saturday at the church. Pastor Emeritus John Blodgett will be presiding, and burial will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Osceola, Indiana.
The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the healthcare workers at Greencroft Healthcare and Hospice of Goshen for their dedicated, compassionate, and loving care for both Bob and Polly during his final illness.
Memorial contributions may be given to Baptist Children's Home, 354 West Street, Valparaiso, IN 46383, First Baptist Church, 53953 C.R. 17, Bristol, IN 46507, or IU Health Goshen Hospice, 1721 S Main St., PO Box 139, Goshen, IN 46527. Waterman Westbrook Clouse Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements. To send an online condolence please visit www.watermanfh.com
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