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Koelling, Robert Alan  
December 3, 1928 - January 3, 2016 Robert "Bob" Koelling of Eugene passed away the morning of January 3rd, 2016 of an apparent heart attack at age 87. He was born in Burlington, Iowa the third of six children of Rev. Albert F. and Esther Breuer Koelling. He grew up in Burlington, attended local schools, graduating from Burlington High School in 1946. He was very active in music and dramatics in high school playing the sergeant of police in the Gilbert and Sullivan "Pirates of Penzance", in jr. college the detective in "Gas Light", sang in the school choirs and played clarinet in the school orchestra and marching band and in the Burlington Municipal Band. He went on to major in psychology with a BA from Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois. Bob enlisted in the US Navy in 1950 during the Korean War years. He served on the USS Bisbee and was honorably discharged in 1954. He relocated to California and attended graduate school at San Jose State University. His career moves took him to Boston, Tucson and finally to UCLA in Los Angeles. At UCLA he served as lab manager and chief research technician at the Brain Research Institute, part of the Mental Retardation Research Center. Bob had a passion for classical music and filled his evenings with symphony and opera recordings while reading extensively. He was a longtime supporter and season ticket holder for the Los Angeles Symphony and Los Angeles Opera. His personal library consisted of hundreds of books developing his knowledge in many areas. He was very active in bicycling, camping and hiking. He biked each day to work and on the weekends in the Santa Monica area where he lived for over 40 years. He annually organized a campout at Big Bear Lake in the mountains above Los Angeles for the other researchers of the lab he managed. He did major long distance biking down the Pacific Coast, various areas of the west and his long-planned biking and camping trip, circling the island of Iceland. With his pickup, canopy and tent he toured and camped everywhere in the west, developing his interest in geology and all aspects of nature. As a single person all his life, Bob's Santa Monica apartment was always open for out-of-town visitors and his family from Oregon and elsewhere enjoyed many visits. Bob followed a very healthy lifestyle while later dealing with heart disease and finally a diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in March, 2013. He then relocated to Eugene to be closer to family. His hope was that his life would end from a heart incident rather than from the slow, paralyzing effects of ALS. His wish was granted. Bob is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Lewis of Pleasant Hill, TN, a brother John Koelling (Nonie) and sister-in-law Kathy Koelling, both of Eugene, 10 nieces and nephews, 16 great nieces and nephews and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Margaret and brothers Donald, and James, also an ALS sufferer. In Eugene Bob relied on the help and support of the ALS Assn. and the friends he made in the monthly ALS support group meetings. Bob's body has been cremated and burial and celebration of life will be in Hoyleton, IL, July 8th, 2017, during a Koelling family reunion. His gravesite will adjoin that of his parents. Donations may be made to the ALS Assn. of OR and SW Washington, 700 NE Multnomah St., Ste 1180, Portland, OR 97232 for "Remembering Jim and Bob Koelling."
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Published in Eugene Register-Guard on Jan. 31, 2016
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