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Moss Family Funeral Home
209 South Batavia Avenue
Batavia, IL 60510
(630) 879-7900

ROBERT JOSEPH KALINA

Obituary Condolences

Robert Joseph Kalina of Batavia Visitation for Robert Joseph Kalina, 94, will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at Moss Family Funeral Home, 209 S. Batavia Ave. (Route 31), Batavia. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at the funeral home. Interment will be in West Batavia Cemetery in Batavia. Born Jan. 18, 1916, in Batavia, the son of William and Kathryn (nee Sykora) Kalina, he passed away peacefully Friday, Oct. 22, 2010, at Provena Mercy Center in Aurora. Bob was a lifelong resident of the town he loved: Batavia. He had a special love for and knowledge of the Fox River, where he fished, clammed, crabbed, swam, skated, camped, and enjoyed all that nature offered. Bob was an avid fisherman and fishing was his art and passion. He was a self taught naturalist who knew the Fox River intimately. Bob grew up working in the family business, Sykora Greenhouse, which was started by his grandfather in the early 1900s. He graduated from Batavia High School in 1933, and always enjoyed attending his reunions, including the 70th in 2003. After his return from World War II, he became an owner/operator of the Greenhouse, a wholesale cut flower business that was sold in the 1970s, and became Shady Hill Gardens. Bob was a charter member of the American Academy of Master Florists and belonged to the Illinois State Florists Association. A member of the "Greatest Generation," he was a proud veteran of World War II. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in October 1941, and graduated from radio operator and mechanic school at Scott Field, Ill., where he became an instructor. He served overseas beginning in North Africa, landing with the initial elements in Operation Torch, the first U.S. operation against Axis powers, and later in Italy, where he served until war's end. Bob was assigned to the 419th Bomb Squadron, 301st Bomb Group (H), 15th Air Force, which operated the B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers and the medium B-25. He was awarded the Soldiers Medal for Bravery, earned ten Battle Stars, and two group Presidential Citations. Bob married Virginia Donley of Chicago on Aug. 2, 1945, and together they lovingly raised their three daughters. He was a member of American Legion Post 504 for 64 years and served the City of Batavia as an alderman in the 2nd Ward and on the Batavia Plan Commission. He had an incredible memory and loved sharing his knowledge of growing up in Batavia and tales of his far-flung travels. He belonged to the Batavia Historical Society and was one of seven members of the Senility Club of local history buffs. An adventurous traveler, Bob never met a stranger and befriended people from every walk of life. He loved to drive with his family and fish poles in tow, traveling tens of thousands of miles by car from Labrador to the Panama Canal. He and his wife had a special love of Mexico, and drove there year after year. He explored the capitals of Europe, fished the waters of Alaska and, in his 80s, traveled the jungle rivers of Borneo. He was a man of great honesty and integrity who instilled in his children and grandchildren his love of travel, books, art, music, and great appreciation for nature. He is survived by his three daughters, Donna (Raymond) Koladycz, Roberta (Dr. Thomas) Hoover and Patricia (Sal Cuccarese) McMillan; eight grandchildren, Scott and Rebecca Koladycz, Jennifer Beatty, Matthew and Sarah Hoover, Alexis Kaufman, and Nicole and Whitney McMillan; and nine great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers, James and Richard Kalina; and his sister, Pat Kenoss. Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Virginia; their infant son, William; his brother, Buddy; and sister, Kathryn Thompson. The family would especially like to thank Bob's wonderful caregivers, Donna Koziara, Lucy Georgieva and Domenica Saverino, whose loving care allowed him to remain in his own home. A heartfelt thank you is also due to the fourth floor nursing staff at Provena Mercy Center. Bob enjoyed a long and beautiful life and will be missed deeply by all who knew him. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Batavia Historical Society. For additional information, contact the funeral home at 630-879-7900 or at www.mossfuneral.com.

Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on Oct. 26, 2010
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