Robert (Bob) William Schellhas, 84, of Clare passed away peacefully at sunset on Sunday, May 27th surrounded by his family.
Bob was a devoted husband, raised a wonderful family, served his country, operated successful businesses, and was a dedicated servant to his church and community. His faith in God and love of family and country were at the center of his life.
He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Joyce Marie (Kleinhardt) Schellhas, his daughter Tamara (Tammy) Jo Haynak and husband Kevin, his son Robert (Bobby) Jay Schellhas and wife Caroline, his four grandchildren, Krista Marie Haynak, Aaron Robert Haynak, Ella Eaton Schellhas and Vivian Rose Schellhas, his mother-in-law Vera Kleinhardt, sisters-in-law Carol (Tom) Beatty, Gayla (Del) Wiley, Karen (Mike Ireland) Kleinhardt, brother-in-law Jay (Karen) Kleinhardt, and dozens of nieces and nephews. Bob also leaves behind the hundreds of friendships he forged in a life that spanned more than eight decades.
Born to John William and Rosine Theodora (Poellet) Schellhas on January 1, 1928, in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Bob was the youngest of their five children. His parents, his brother Walter Schellhas, and sisters Edna Kaul, Helen Zeilinger, and Mildred Asbury preceded him in death.
Growing up during the Great Depression and World War II in a community settled by German families in the 1800s, Bob spoke both English and German as he attended St. Lorenz Lutheran School, where he was confirmed in the Church on Palm Sunday of 1942. He graduated from Saginaw’s Arthur Hill High School in 1946. Bob moved to Clare, Michigan the next year, where he worked for his father at the Kraft Foods Company.
During the Korean War, Bob enlisted in the US Air Force and served four years, including stints at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas, and an eighteen-month assignment to Tripoli, Libya in North Africa. He was honorably discharged in 1954 having achieved the rank of staff sergeant.
Bob returned to Clare in 1955 and opened his first Sunoco gas station at the corner of McEwan and John R Streets. In business for more than 30 years, he at one time had three full service gas stations in Clare and Coleman that also maintained and repaired vehicles, sold hunting and fishing supplies, and rented U-Haul trucks and trailers.
On September 6, 1958, he married Joyce, his partner in life and business. Together, they raised children Tammy and Bobby, living their entire life in Clare, and being active in the church, community, and schools.
Bob never retired from a life of work. Though spending a few winter months with family and friends in Alamo, Texas, he has maintained a business selling chemical supplies and paper products to businesses and schools in mid-Michigan for more than 25 years.
Bob was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 5738, served as an All-State Post Commander and for many years participated and commanded the honorary color guard for Clare’s Memorial Day and the funerals of fellow veterans. He was also a member of the American Legion, Post 150, in Frankenmuth.
Active in Michigan politics for a number of years, Bob served as Chairman of the Clare County Republicans, was involved in several candidates’ political campaigns, and was elected a Delegate to the 1992 Republican National Convention.
His community involvement over the years included: Member and Past-President of the Clare Rotary Club, the Clare County Board of Social Services, currently a member of the Clare County Jury board since 1998, the Board of Directors of the Clare Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Gasoline Retailers Association, the City of Clare Auxiliary Police Force, had been a member if the Clare Irish Festival Committee, and he and Joyce had been honored as Parade Marshalls of the Summerfest Parade of 2003.
Bob was committed to the youth of Clare through his support of the Clare High School Athletic programs and the Clare County 4-H Youth Fair. He also hired many Clare High School students to work in his gas stations where they learned the value of hard work and interacting with people in a business setting.
Bob’s ability and love to engage with people of all ages and from all walks of life to discuss politics, religion, family, or just to exchange common pleasantries, is a hallmark of his life respecting others, and caring for his family, friends, and fellow man.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church or the City of Clare Historic Depot Preservation Project.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 1, 2012 at 11 AM from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church with pastors Ted Voll and Dennis Bromley officiating. Burial will be in the Cherry Grove Cemetery, in Clare. Friends may visit with the family on Thursday, May 31, from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 PM at the Clare Chapel of Stephenson-Wyman Funeral Home. If you are unable to attend, you are invited to sing the Schellhas family online condolence register at www.stephenson-wyman.com