Robert (Bob) James Anderson, passed away unexpectedly on September 9, 2023, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
With Joy, Bob was born on January 7, 1969 to Robert L. “Bob” and Evelyn (Turnis) Anderson in Mitchell, SD. Joining his older brothers, Gale and Keith, he completed their family of three boys.
Bob’s love for people came from his Mom, who left this world when he was only 3 years old. His Dad later married Delores VanderZee who joined the family in raising him from a young age. Bob was blessed to have had two mothers who loved him dearly.
He had a passion for animals and through his creative play, his love for engineering appeared early in life. In a gravel pile, he taught his young nephews how to create quality roads and probably added a few roundabouts.
Growing up in Platte, SD, he graduated from Platte High School in 1987, creating many memories with his friends and classmates. He still maintains the nickname “Bubba”.
Bob continued his education at South Dakota State University (Go Jacks!), graduating as a civil engineer in 1992. We are sure that the lifelong friends he made at SDSU could share a lot of stories from their college days. One of his family’s favorites happened during his senior year in college. While walking through the school, his attire consisted of cutoff shorts and flip-flops. He noticed a sign that the Wisconsin DOT was conducting job interviews. He stopped in, did an on-the-spot impromptu interview, and was hired. That was the beginning of his career as a civil engineer with the State of Wisconsin.
Bob’s work for the Wisconsin DOT covered the Eau Claire, Spooner and Superior areas in the Northwest Region. He worked there until his retirement in 2015, with a 2-year break when he went to work for the Dunn County Highway Department as their Highway Engineer. Bob also served on the Stanton Town Board in Dunn County, for many years. For many of those years he was the Town Chairman. He loved serving the people of Stanton Township and working with the Board along with Val and Kevin.
In 1996, Bob met his future wife, Candy, on the USH 53/I94 interchange road construction project in Eau Claire at the DOT job trailer which was sitting at the Chaput Produce Factory. It was love at first site for both of them, and they married on September 4, 1999 in Eau Claire. They enjoyed 24 years of marriage together, taking care of their property in Boyceville, enjoying life and their family, friends and most of all their pets. Bob and Candy also spent a lot of their time next door with their neighbor Lynelle, and her family. They were quickly adopted into Lynelle’s family, spending many an evening telling and listening to stories in the beautiful hills of Stanton Township. They adopted four dogs over their years together; Gilbert, Lucy, Wally and currently, Bear. Bear was even able to go and visit Bob at Sacred Heart Hospital in August and that brought so much joy to Bob, and all of the nurses in CCU. Bob also was Dad to Josey the black cat, who showed up as a stray on Bob and Candy’s doorstep on Friday, July 13th (yes, Friday the 13th), 2007. Little Josey is still pushing Bear’s buttons, ruling the roost of the Anderson household.
In 2022, Bob and Candy built a new house and moved back to Eau Claire to be closer to Bob’s doctors and hospital. They were fortunate to find many wonderful neighbors and friends at their new location, that helped take care of the pets and their house when Candy was away at St. Vincent’s with Bob in Green Bay.
In 2010, Bob was diagnosed with lung cancer. He battled and beat the disease for 13 years, even through metastasis twice to his bones and twice to his brain over the years. His motto was that “I can either crawl in a hole and feel sorry for myself, or I can make the best of it and have fun along the way”. And fun he did have. Bob loved life and he was bigger than life to all that knew him, and in his words; “he cut a wide swath”. The Sacred Heart Cancer Center staff, fellow patients, and even doctors, always lit up when he showed up for treatment or appointments, and each and every one of them sported their “Team Bob” t-shirts that all of the special people in Bob’s life received from Candy at some point during his journey. Bob’s radiation team at Sacred Heart, who he lovingly named “The Wolf Pack” even joined in.
Everyone that knew Bob knew the battle he endured for 13 years, and also knew that he never let it get him down, and people that didn’t know Bob were amazed to learn what he’d been through when he met them and told the story of his journey. He will forever be missed and will never be forgotten.
Two very special doctors (or in Bob’s words “Rockstars”), Dr. Bilal Naqvi and Dr. Kamal Thapar, became a big part of both Bob and Candy’s life through Bob’s cancer journey, and they cannot go without mention for their many years of care, guidance and friendship.
Dr. Bilal Naqvi from Marshfield Clinic was Bob’s Oncologist since Day 1. He became family to Bob and Candy over the years, and still has the last tin of Copenhagen Bob ever chewed before he gave it up, on the shelf in his office. His gentle guidance to Candy in her times of need to make decisions for Bob’s care will never be forgotten. Bob and Candy never greeted Doc with a handshake, it was always a hug. What an amazing man he became in Bob and Candy’s eyes.
Dr. Kamal Thapar from Thapar Neurosurgery entered Bob’s life in 2014 when Dr. Naqvi found 3 brain tumors in Bob that needed to be removed. Dr. Thapar wasn’t just a neurosurgeon to Bob and Candy, he was a kind soul and trusted friend who gave Bob the best of care in every neurological capacity for over 9 years. His hugs and gentle words to them both will always be cherished.
It’s impossible to summarize the life of such an amazing man in a short tribute that people call an obituary. Whatever was missed in this short summary of this loving and strong man’s life, will remain in our hearts and memories forever.
Bob is survived by his wife of 24 years, Candy (Schwantes) Anderson of Eleva WI; his stepmom Delores Anderson of Platte SD; his brother Gale of Platte, SD; his brother Keith (Jane) of Platte, SD; his nephews Cole Anderson of Platte, SD; Stuart (Lindsey) Anderson of Rock Rapids, IA; and Braden Anderson of Platte, SD; his father-in-law Bert of Dodgeville, WI; very special friend Lynelle Lagerstrom (and her entire family) of Boyceville, WI; his dog Bear and cat Josey. Bob is also survived by many cousins and friends, too many to name but you know who you are.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents Bob and Evelyn Anderson, along with many Aunts and Uncles.
When Bob and Candy moved back to Eau Claire, they happened to be out for their Saturday drive, and drove past the Chaput Produce Factory where they had met so many years ago. As they drove, they happened upon the Rest Haven Cemetery, followed by a roundabout. They decided to buy their burial plots at the Rest Haven Cemetery, so they could be buried between Bob’s two favorite things: The Chaput Produce Factory, and of course, a roundabout. Rest in Peace Bob, keep the roads smooth in Heaven.
An open house gathering will take place from 1-4 pm on Sunday October 8, 2023 at The Florian Garden Gardens, 2340 Lorch Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701. A Service of Remembrance/Celebration of Life Service will take place at the Florian Gardens on that day at 4 pm. Pastor Mark Schulz of Peace Church in Eau Claire will officiate. Interment will take place in the Rest Haven Cemetery in the Town of Washington at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Bob’s name to Bob’s House for Dogs, E3015 County Rd HH, Eleva, WI 54738
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.