Sunset-Surf

Robert Gordon Stickland

August 4, 1935 ~ May 20, 2021 (age 85)

Obituary

Robert Gordon Stickland passed away Thursday, May 20, 2021 in his home by the "Big Lake" in South Haven, MI. He continued to live a life of service, friendship, humor and activity after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017.

Born on August 4th, 1935 in Grandville, MI, Bob grew up in his mother's family home, with three older siblings. His high school graduating class was very small, so he was able to play every sport that fielded a team. “One of the benefits of growing up in a small town”, he would say.

He attended Grand Rapids Junior College and earned a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan. He met the requirements and passed the exam for his PE certificate to become a licensed Professional Engineer and started a 32-year career with Consumers Power Company in Jackson, MI. During that time, he also earned an MBA from Western Michigan University.

Bob met Delores Shaffer in grade school, and his friends and family say it was love at first sight. They were high school sweethearts, and married in 1957, after Dee graduated from Western Michigan University. They had two children, Christine and Timothy, and busy lives, with church membership, softball games, camping, travel, cars and U of M football. Bob was a master of new experiences and when his family needed it, became a horse groom, a sailing instructor, a math tutor, a soap box derby engineer, and truck driver.

His career with Consumer's moved him to Metro Detroit, Kalamazoo and Lansing before he retired the first time. A consulting project with a friend took him and Delores to Brazil. He kept busy with volunteer work, travel, caring for family and foster pets, but was soon searching for a way to "stay useful". A friend urged him to apply for the Director of Public Works position in South Haven, MI. When he accepted their offer, he said it was the dream job of every civil engineer..."We have a drawbridge and a marina!".

Bob loved living and working in South Haven. He was an enthusiastic member of Rotary International, joining in 1980 and serving until he passed away. He flipped pancakes, rang bells for the Salvation Army, planted flowers, set up parades, volunteered with the public schools, and served on the board of his church. If there was an opportunity to contribute, he would take it.

After his second retirement, from the city of South Haven, he stayed involved by serving on municipal utility boards and councils and donating time and remarkable energy to local projects. Along the way, he was President of the Michigan Municipal Electric Association, and a three-time Paul Harris Fellow. He and Dee were avid supporters of the Kalamazoo Symphony, Miller Auditorium, and the Speakers Series of South Haven. Bob found joy and opportunity in everything he did- from his walks to the beach in Venice, FL, to buying UofM sweatshirts for a new friend from London or finding a perfect run while skiing with his kids in Colorado.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 2:00 P.M. at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Haven. Following the service, a celebration of life and open house will be held at the American Legion Post 49 from 3:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.

In the meantime, the family asks that you honor Bob's kindness, optimism and commitment to his community by helping someone in need, volunteering your time and talents, and looking for the best in yourself and others. Also, the organizations listed below were a large part of Bob’s life, and donations to continue their works would be most welcome.

South Haven Rotary Club (southhavenrotary.org/donate)

SHOUT Drawbridge Flower Project (shoutforsouthhaven.org/bridge-flowers)

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (swmlc.org/donate)

South Haven Center for the Arts (www.southhavenarts.org)

To send flowers to Robert's family, please visit our floral store.


Services

Memorial Service
Sunday
August 8, 2021

2:00 PM
Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church (South Haven)
Guaranteed delivery before the Memorial Service begins

Celebration of Life
Sunday
August 8, 2021

3:30 PM
American Legion Post #49
129 Michigan Ave.
South Haven, MI 49090
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

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