By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Readers of the Colfax Messenger who have been around for a while will remember Robert (Bob) Ziebell from his 25 years of working at the Colfax Farmers’ Union.
Others will remember Bob from his “Bob in Hardware” years at Mills Fleet Farm in Menomonie where he was employed for more than 24 years.
And then there is Robert and Algie Ziebell’s son, Patrick.
Robert Ziebell was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in September of 2011.
Eight months later, Patrick Ziebell was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood plasma cells) in May of 2012.
Robert Ziebell died this year on March 10 at the age of 69.
Multiple myeloma, which is the cancer that Patrick is fighting, is described as cancer of the plasma cells in which collections of abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
Bob’s leukemia was chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm neutrophilic leukemia.
Leukemia is a disease of the bone marrow in which excess cells are produced, and chronic neutrophilic leukemia is described as a rare disease with less than one hundred cases reported. Of the reported cases, there is an equal male-female ratio, and the disease is typically seen in older adults.
An article posted on www.lookingfordiagnosis.com states that 30 cases of chronic neutrophilic leukemia have been reported. Another website, www.questdiagnostics.com, reports that myeloproliferative neoplasms are stem cell disorders.
No matter what the diseases actually are or how often they are diagnosed — the fact remains that both the Robert and Patrick Ziebell families have incurred significant medical costs.
Bob Ziebell had weekly blood transfusions at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Eau Claire, along with follow up appointments. During his last year, he was hospitalized several times at Luther Hospital.
Patrick and his wife, Judy, have made many trips to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where he has been having chemotherapy for the past year. He also has been hospitalized at Luther Hospital and in Rochester.
Patrick and Judy have been staying at the Gift of Life Transplant House and Methodist Hospital in Rochester for the last two months. Patrick has recently had a stem cell transplant.
A benefit will be held Saturday, May 25, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Colfax Fairgrounds, and all of the money raised will help the families of Robert and Patrick with medical bills and expenses.
The benefit will feature live music from the River City Ramblers (Blue Grass) and other live entertainment, along with raffles, a silent auction and vendors.
Children’s activities will include face painting, a fish pond, and a bean bag toss.
Food will be served throughout the day.
Bob Ziebell is survived by his wife of 50 years, Algie, his son, Patrick, and daughter-in-law, Judy, and their children, Benjamin (Georjan), great-grandson, William, all of Eau Claire; Nicholas (Shelley), great-granddaughter, Madison; and Christopher, all of Elk Mound; and his daughter, Tina Bradford of Colfax, and her children, Londan Harris of Rice Lake, Chantell Harris of Menomonie, Olivia and Dalton Bradford of Colfax.
Bob graduated from Colfax High School in 1961. He and Algie Ann Olson were married July 21, 1963.
Bob served as a relief officer for the Colfax Police Department alongside his father, Chief of Police, Herbert Ziebell. He also worked for the Dunn County Highway Department, attended District One for auto mechanics, worked for Berg’s Chevrolet in Menomonie and sold Fuller Brush part-time.
In 1964, Bob took a full-time job at Colfax Farmers Union.
In 1988, Bob took a full-time position at Mills Fleet Farm in Menomonie in automotive and then transferred to hardware and became known as “Bob in Hardware,” where he eventually became department head.