Robert "Bob" Coons
Robert G. "Bob" Coons was born Oct. 17, 1944, at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to D. Austin and Mary (Munier) Coons. He passed into eternal life Aug. 30, 2020, at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse, Wis., after a prolonged struggle with Lewy body dementia. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.
Bob attended rural elementary schools and graduated from Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, in 1963. He enjoyed playing basketball and running track, where he won 10 state medals. He worked for the Marion Chamber of Commerce sampling grain from railroad cars before he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966. He served in Germany as a medic and was proud of his achievements. He was named Soldier of the Year from his battalion, earned the coveted Field Medical Badge, and achieved the rank of staff sergeant. In 1969, he was honorably discharged, returned home to farm and married Jean Marlow. They welcomed two children, Bobbie and Travis, into their lives. He and Jean later divorced.
Bob moved to a farm near Burr Oak, Iowa, and began working for Northeast Farm Service. He started by building grain bins and later worked as an agronomist. He managed co-ops in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. His dedication to hard work and building relationships with the farmers he served earned him many lifelong friends. He retired in 2008.
A mutual friend introduced him to Dorothy (Rice) Wilbur. They married on May 30, 1981, and blended their two families into one. Family life included much love and laughter. After retirement, Bob and Dorothy moved to a house they built on her family farm near Canton, Minn.
His pastimes included hunting, training hunting and field trial dogs, fishing, playing cards and listening to country music. He also enjoyed woodworking, planting apple trees, teaching grandkids to fish, weeding flower beds and working in the yard. Bob was well known for his gift of gab and his great sense of humor. He was a member of Mabel First Lutheran Church, the Canton Historical Society and American Legion Post No. 40 of Lanesboro, Minn., as well as a past 4-H and women's softball coach.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Donna Timm; brother, Randy Coons; and father-in-law, Cyril Rice.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; children, Bobbie Coons of Baraboo Wis., and Travis (Heather) Coons of Rochester, Minn.; stepchildren, Russell (Pamela) Wilbur of Alexandria, Minn., Melissa (Paul) Steen of Edina, Minn., and Lynn Wilbur (Alan Schultz) of Minneapolis, Minn.; and grandchildren, Austin, Joseph and William Boettcher, Avalynn and Avarey Coons, Adam and Timothy Wilbur, Maya and Bennett Steen, Greta Wilbur and Isaac Schultz. Survivors also include sisters, Patsy (Gerald) Gray and Jackie (Charles) Betzer; brothers, Larry (Shirley) Coons and William (Sharon) Coons; brother-in-law, Darrell Timm; sister-in-law, Julia Coons; mother-in-law, Irene Rice; brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Henry and Harriet (Rice) Lawston; as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at Mabel First Lutheran Church, Mabel, Minn., with visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the church and an hour before services. Burial will be at Elliota Cemetery with military rites by the Lanesboro American Legion. COVID-19 precautions will be observed. Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel is assisting with arrangements.