Robert Kaercher

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Passed away peacefully, in the arms of God; off to rejoin with his beloved wife Donna May.  Robert’s dear Donna, passed away in 2014, just prior to Robert and Donna celebrating 60 years of marriage. Robert was born in Ann Arbor to Anna Barbara Armbruster Kaercher and Edwin Carl Kaercher.

Robert is survived by his three children; Mary Anne (Eric) Jaeger, Jim (Jeanie) Kaercher, and Bruce (Willine) Kaercher.  Robert dearly loved his grandchildren; Melissa (Mike) Schmidt, Kristina (Spencer) McFarland, Maggie and Patrick Kaercher, Robert, Alexandra, Christopher (Megan), and Jason Kaercher and Isaiah Thompson. Robert was blessed to meet his new great-granddaughter, Ella May Schmidt, after her birth this past November.  Robert is also survived by his sisters; Alice Gardner and Barbara Mesnard.

His sister Dorothy Mason preceded him in death.

Many more family members including cousins, nieces, and nephews were also proud to call Robert their own; to include his beloved nephews David Mason (who deemed Robert his second dad) and Robert’s predeceased nephew Micky Mesnard.

Robert grew up on Scio Church Rd., Ann Arbor, on the family centennial farm. While his education began in the one room German school house near his home, he was quite pleased when his daughter later taught at another one of his past schools, Mack School, Ann Arbor.  He only knew hard work; farming his 120 acre farm in the evening, after putting in a long day for the Detroit Edison, where he advanced up to Leader of the Hot Stick Crew.  One of his last assignments prior to his retirement, was setting the electrical service for the new St. Joseph Hospital, we know today. He was also assigned to climb the highest electric poles in Canada, as he was known for his ability to push beyond normal limits and barriers.  His focused, strong will led him to become a full-time entrepreneur from 1975 to today.  This began however, in 1967 when he dug his first farm pond; leading to the opening of his future fish farm; Spring Valley Trout Farm in 1970.  Year after year, he dug another pond and filled it with trout, catfish or sunfish. Robert could finally share his love of fishing with others!  School buses from far and wide would spend a wonderful field trip; many children experiencing fishing for the first time, on Robert’s fish farm.  Strong memories and bonds were created between and among his diverse customers; who often became lifelong friends.  But, when the weather cooled down, off he and Donna would roll, heading south to their little Florida house on North Hutchinson Island.  There, his Melissa J boat would be waiting for him along with his Florida fishing buddies; to again conquer the ocean waters.  There, Robert would be called “Michigan Bob”; the guy everyone knew and enjoyed.  The question of the day was always, “Well, should we go bottom fishing or trolling?”  Life was good, with any size fish caught.  Robert’s wife Donna was only challenged with trying to find a new location to hang the most recent and especially big mounted fish!

Robert had a love for all animals.  While he was an accomplished deer hunter; he always respected wildlife and his personal pets; to include many beloved cats and dogs.  When his dog Kodi passed away; his caretaker Denise’s dog, Snowy, was quickly claimed by Robert, who was affectionally referred to as Papa when speaking to little Snowy.  Robert touched many lives which included his church family.  He was a 59-year member of St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ in Dexter, where he once served as president of the church, during the construction of the new sanctuary.  His faith led him and his dog Kodi, to visit local nursing homes; to share the Gospel of Christ and his positive words with the elderly and those unable to leave their facility.   Accompanying Robert on his nursing home trips, frequently were his grandchildren, benefiting from his early modeling of love and care.  Prior to his years at St. Andrew’s, he was a member at Zion Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor; where he completed several projects, including the basement tile flooring.  During his winters in Florida, Robert and Donna attended the Community Church in Vero Beach.  Robert was a proud IBEW card carrying member for over 60 years.  He stood with his brothers during challenging labor times and worked hard for his company; accomplishing any task sent his way.  Robert supported his children and grandchildren in their adventures; which included music concerts, baseball, softball, soccer, water polo and football games and many a long swim meet; taking him and Donna all the way to the Olympic Swimming Trials in 2008.

The celebration of Robert’s life began with visitation at Hosmer-Muehlig Funeral Chapel in Dexter on Monday, July 2, 2018  4:00-8:00 p.m. and at St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ, Dexter at  5:30 p.m. until time of service at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.  Robert’s guestbook can be signed at www.muehligannarbor.com  Memorial donations may be made to St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ of Dexter.   Robert’s family will never forget the amazing caregivers who have supported Robert along his journey; specifically, Denise Cummings and Shantel Koplin.

A man of peace, open mind and heart, and strong faith, Robert will remain a role model for his family and the many others he touched throughout his beautiful and meaningful 96 years on this Earth.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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