Robert (Bob) Alvin Ollerman
Robert (Bob) Alvin Ollerman, better known as “Ole” to those he bowled with for more than 50 years and worked with for more than 40 years at the Soo Line Railroad, passed away peacefully Friday, September 20, 2013 at Harbor Haven Nursing Home in Fond du Lac after a battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 86.
Bob was born, raised and made his home in Fond du Lac. The youngest of Robert and Alvina (Friese) Ollerman’s eight children, he was born on Nov. 28, 1926, and grew up during the Great Depression.
After graduating from L.P. Goodrich High School in 1944, he started working at the Soo Line in North Fond du Lac at age 18. He was drafted into the United States Army shortly thereafter and was en route to Japan for a possible land invasion when the Japanese surrendered to end World War II. Bob served in both Japan and the Philippines.
After his tour of service was complete, Bob returned to the Soo Line and ultimately worked there for nearly 42 years as a carman helper before retiring in 1986. Bob’s evenings were filled with other pursuits, be it family-related, baseball or bowling.
Bob married Charlene Wenzler on August 4, 1951, and they welcomed a daughter, Debra (Martin), on December 27, 1952. They later welcomed a son, Robert, Jr., on June 25, 1956.
Still, for all of that, Charlene may have put it best when she simply said, “He lived bowling.”
Bob began bowling when he was 17, became an ABC-sanctioned bowler in 1946, and started as a regular bowler in two leagues beginning in 1947. He ultimately spent 50 years in the Uecker-Witt Businessman’s League (which started at the Arcade before moving to Ledgeview Lanes), serving as league secretary for 34 years from 1954 through 1988. He additionally served as President of the Fond du Lac Bowling Association in 1977, was inducted into the Fond du Lac Men’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1985, served as president of the Wisconsin State Bowling Association from 1989-1990, and was inducted into the Wisconsin State Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1994.
In the early days of his retirement, Bob spent countless hours golfing, drinking Old Style, teaching his grandchildren to play cards, and attending any sporting events he could get to. He was a particularly exuberant and emotional fan, once running onto a baseball diamond and picking up his 10-year-old grandson after he had recorded the final out of a winning game.
In his later years, when a balky knee finally stopped him from bowling and began to limit his mobility, Ollerman kept himself busy with lunches and dinners with fellow retirees, casino trips, and even a yearly excursion to the Dubuque dog track. He was a member of the Holy Family Catholic Community and the Knights of Columbus Council #664.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers and their wives, two sisters and one brother-in-law: Lester (Viola) Ollerman, Irving (Kathryn) Ollerman, Clarence (Adell) Ollerman, Donald (Rosella) Ollerman, Melvin (Edythe) Ollerman, Leone Ollerman, and Bernice (Kenneth) Grimmer.
Bob is survived by his wife of 62 years, Charlene; his daughter, Debra Martin and her husband, Rick, of Fond du Lac; his son, Robert Ollerman, Jr., and his wife, Linda, of Ripon; his grandchildren, Sara and Emma Ollerman of Middleton, Kalee Wothe of St. Louis Park, MN, and Bob Wothe and his wife, Candeth, of Neenah; and one great-grandchild, Clara Wothe.
He is further survived by a sister-in-law and her husband, Dolores and John Supple of Oshkosh, a brother-in-law and his wife, Joe and Ann Wenzler of Mequon, and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation will be held at the Zacherl Funeral Home, 875 E. Division Street in Fond du Lac, this Tuesday, September 24, 2013, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, with a prayer service at 7:00 PM. Additional visitation will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday morning from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM., with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 10:00 AM at St. Mary’s Church, Holy Family Parish, 59 E. Merrill Street in Fond du Lac. Entombment will follow in the Chapel of The Risen Christ Mausoleum, Calvary Cemetery.
The family extends special thanks to Harbor Haven Nursing Home for their dedicated care to Bob in his final days. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Mary’s Springs Academy Second Century Campaign or Holy Family Catholic Parish are appreciated.
Zacherl Funeral Home is serving the family. www.zacherlfuneralhome.com