Robert Thor 'Bob' Kaarlie, 77

Robert Thor “Bob” Kaarlie, 77, of Allegan, passed away Monday, July 9, at Allegan General Hospital. Born Nov. 14, 1940, in Oak Park, Ill., he was the son of the late Thor and Anna Mae (Clark) Kaarlie and was the husband of Donna (Shidler) Kaarlie. 

Throughout his working life, Bob had been employed at Harding’s grocery store and Rockwell International, where he remained for 20 years prior to its closure. From there he went on to work for Haworth, Auto Die, Stryker and Denso prior to retirement.

During his time at Stryker, Bob was involved with the invention and implementation of several of the attachments used on the hospital beds manufactured there. Throughout his life, Bob has been serious about serving the people.

Bob was a wrestler in high school and later coached the sport. He also coached Little League. He was a leader for both the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and coordinated fishing trips to Canada for the Boy Scouts. Following his retirement from Denso, Bob served on the Valley Township Board and Planning Commission and was also the chairman of the Parks Department for several years.

One of his proudest accomplishments was assisting the DNR with bringing equestrian trails to the Allegan County State Game Area; a feat that took seven years and concluded with a unanimous vote in favor of the trails.

Bob was chairman of the M89/M40 Corridor Committee and was also a member and immediate past president of the Allegan Rotary Club. At the time of his death, Bob was completing his second term on the Allegan County Road Commission, a service that had spanned nearly 20 years. During that tenure, he also had the opportunity to serve as the president of the Southern Board. 

Bob was also an avid outdoorsman and knew the Allegan County State Game Area like the back of his hand. He was also a big Lewis and Clark fan and had previously followed their route into Idaho. He had been looking forward to completing their journey to the west coast.

Bob was also a family man. He loved traveling, especially going to Norway to visit his relatives and the country of his heritage, which he was so proud of. He was also a member of the Sons of Norway.

In addition to his wife, Bob is survived by his children, Charles Kaarlie, Richard Kaarlie and Tammy Stewart; stepchildren, Debra Bell, Douglas Bell and Jeffrey Bell; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; a sister Sharon Koren; and several nieces and nephews. 

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his former wife, Norma (Halter) Kaarlie.

Services will be at Christ Community Church, 3370 113th Ave., Allegan, MI, 49010 on Saturday, July 21. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. 

Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Southwest Michigan.

Assisting the family with arrangements is Gorden Funeral Residence, Allegan Chapel,


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