Florence-Robert Walter Merhalski, 85, a lifelong resident of Florence, Wis., passed into Eternal Life on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, surrounded by his loving wife and son.
He was born October 27, 1935, in Florence, son of the late Frank and Norma (Cretors) Merhalski. Robert was a 1953 graduate of Florence High School, where he won many sports honors. Throughout high school, he was active in football, basketball, and baseball.
Robert married Gloria Steen on October 10, 1963, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Florence. Together they raised three children.
Robert served in the United States Navy for four years. He served on the ship USS Twining where he was part of the US Fleet Sonar School. He was honorably discharged in 1957.
Robert worked for the Milwaukee Gas Co. in the late ’50s and early ’60s. He moved back to Florence and worked as a millwright at Hanna Iron Ore for several years until they closed. Robert then worked for the Florence Highway Department, where he retired in 1997.
Robert was a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and 4th degree Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the NRA, an avid hunter and fisherman for most of his life. Robert was an active member of the VFW Post #3635, Florence, and a Florence Volunteer Fireman. He had a love for the Green Bay Packers, gardening, picking berries, canning, and cooking. He especially enjoyed making beef jerky, cookies, and candies for his grandchildren.
Robert also enjoyed going for rides in the country where he looked for wild mushrooms and wild animals. He liked playing cards, especially cribbage. When he was younger, Robert enjoyed bowling, golfing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and boating. He was very much an outdoor’s man who loved nature and camp life.
He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Gloria; one son Darren (Natalie) Merhalski of Suamico, Wis.; two daughters, Lynn (Marc) Beauregard of Munith, Mich., and Lori (Brad) Balza of St. Paul, Minn.; thirteen grandchildren, Mitchell, Maxwell, Maison, Micah, Claire, Rose, Noah, Blasé, Sam, Anne, Mary, Joseph and Michael; and his brother John Merhalski of Florence.
In addition to his parents, Robert was preceded in death by his two sisters, Loraine Kusmitch and Carol “Honey” Olin.
The family would like to express their thanks and gratitude to Jill of Dickinson Home Health for her care and compassion.
Visitation will be held Thursday, November 12, 2020, from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, Florence, Wis. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated Thursday, 11:00 a.m. at the church. Rev. Fr. Michael Lightner will officiate. Burial will be in St. Mary Cemetery, Commonwealth, Wis. The VFW Post #3635, Florence, will accord military honors at the graveside.
You may leave a condolence or tribute for Robert’s family online at www.JacobsFuneralHomes.com.
The family has chosen the Jacob-Lundholm Funeral Home and Crematory, Florence, Wis., to honor Robert’s legacy of life.