At the age of 97, Bob was welcomed into Heaven on July 8, 2017 to join his beloved wife, Lois who preceded him in death. He passed at Skagit Valley Hospital as a result of pneumonia complications.
Bob was born to Andrew and Emma (Fallgren) Gustafson on April 22, 1920 in Seattle, where he was raised. Bob attended schools in Seattle. When Bob was six years old, a new family moved in next door including a little girl named Lois. Bob and Lois were neighborhood buddies as children and married soon after her high school graduation. They celebrated 63 wonderful years together prior to Lois’ passing in 2004.
Bob attended Edison Vocational School where he learned his sheet metal trade. He went to work for his dad at Gustafson’s Sheet Metal in Ballard where his older brother, Marvin also worked. He was a proud 66-year member of the Sheet Metal Workers International Union.
Bob and Lois had four children in quick succession while living in Seattle in the 1940’s. He served a short stint in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1944. It was in 1954 that they decided Seattle was too bustling to raise children so they bought a run-down fishing resort around the corner from Coronet Bay by Deception Pass. It had 10 cabins, a boat house, convenience store and café on premises. That kept them very busy indeed; however, it was so seasonal that from September through March, Bob traveled daily to Mount Vernon to work at Breathour Sheet Metal. In 1958, they sold the resort and relocated to Burlington. During the 1960’s, Bob worked several winters in Sitka, AK installing furnaces in the many homes being built there.
Bob joined the Burlington Fire Department of which he was a member for 28 years. He was very proud that he had been a part of the volunteer firemen who built the cross that still adorns Burlington Hill. The cross was built by volunteers in the Fire Department parking lot and they carried it up the hill and set it in a concrete base so the whole valley could enjoy it being lit on special occasions and holidays. Bob has requested the cross be lit after his passing as a memorial to his many friends and family.
He also owned Bob’s Burner Service for 35 years, a job he worked evenings and weekends. Never would Bob let a family go cold in the winter. When he got a call from one of his many customers who was without heat, he would be off and running. He especially loved the Concrete area of customers because they were always so thankful and hospitable, plying him with coffee and homemade goodies. Bob was still cleaning and repairing furnaces at the age of 82 because he loved the work.
Bob and Lois volunteered their time weekly for 15 years to the Burlington Crime Watch Program through the Burlington Police Department. Bob was also a Skagit County Building Inspector for four years prior to his retirement. He was a 55+ year member of Burlington Lutheran Church.
Bob, Lois and daughter, Marilyn traveled extensively in their motor home for several years. Eventually, they set a park model on their lakefront property at Lake McMurray where they fished and camped with daughter, Bobbi’s family for 30 years. Lois always got the biggest fish! One of Bob’s greatest heartaches and disappointments was the passing of his son, Dennis in 1996 due to drug and alcohol abuse.
After Lois’ passing, Bob and Marilyn moved to Creekside Retirement Center in Burlington. It was there that he met Clara Evans, also a widow. They have happily made their lives together for the past 11 years. Clara loved to cook and Bob loved to eat. It has been a great companionship for both of them and Dad was so very lucky to have found her as his second love. At that time, daughter Marilyn moved to an Adult Family Home in Whatcom County to begin a new life of her own.
Bob is survived by his three daughters, Marilyn Gustafson of Bellingham, Gailyn (Ron) Ploeg and Bobbi (Chub) Lomsdalen, both of Bow. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Matt (Shawn) Wright, Maury (Sue) Wright, Monte (Jami) Wright, April Pell, Molli (Kevin) Allen, Brian Lomsdalen, Heidi (Brian) West and Rob (Josie) Gustafson; also, many great and great-great grandchildren. He is also survived by his second soul-mate, Clara Evans, at Creekside Retirement Center, beloved ex-son-in-law Denny Wright of Burlington, long-time friends Joe and Shirley Schibret of Burlington and many nieces and nephews.
Bob was predeceased by his parents; wife, Lois; son, Dennis; son-in-law, Joe Krause; his three sisters and two brothers.
A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at Lemley Chapel in Sedro Woolley, followed by committal services at the Bow Cemetery, conducted by Dr. Wayne Martin. Memorials are suggested in Bob’s name to either Burlington Fire Dept. Cross Fund or Burlington Lutheran Church. Share your memories of Bob and sign the online guest. register