HULL, Ill. -- Robert W. Colwell, 90, of rural Jacksonville, died Saturday (Oct. 26, 2013) in St. John's Hospital in Springfield.
He was born Feb. 4, 1923, in Hull, a son of Edward Sprague and Mabel Orr Colwell. He married Lillian H. Young on June 22, 1947, in Hannibal, Mo., in Fifth Street Baptist Church.
Growing up in Hull and excelling in sports and academics, Robert graduated from Hull High School in 1941. After studying two years at Hannibal LaGrange College, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy
V-12 College Training Program and completed officer training at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.; Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa; and the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Columbia University. During World War II
, as an Ensign, he was assigned to the USS PCE 882, based at Guam, where he served as communications officer and navigator. After the war, Robert returned to Iowa State University and graduated with a mechanical engineering degree in June 1947. He held engineering jobs at U.S. Rubber in Detroit, Barnes Pump Manufacturing in Mansfield, Ohio, and Maytag Corp. in Newton, Iowa. With his wife, Lillian, he owned and managed Gambles hardware and furniture stores in Roodhouse and Mount Sterling before retiring in 1984.
His hobbies included woodworking, astronomy and motorcycling. He enjoyed travel, including trips to Canada and Europe, and conferences of the Ancient Mariners, an association of World War II Navy Midshipmen. Robert was a member of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, VFW
, the American Legion, Tri-County Woodworking Club, and the H.R.C.A. Honda Riders Club. Surviving are his wife, Lillian; his daughter, Kathryn Colwell, of Rockford; his son, William Colwell (wife, MaryJo MacSwain) of Park Ridge; his grandson, Eric Colwell, of Beijing, China; and nieces and nephews, Philip Colwell, Nancy Rudolph, Jean Vaux, Kevin Miller and Mark Miller.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Edward Sprague Colwell and Richard Orr Colwell; and nephew Thomas Colwell.
SERVICES: 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Williamson Funeral Home, Jacksonville. A graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday in Akers Chapel Cemetery near Hull.
VISITATION: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Williamson Funeral Home.
MEMORIALS: The Rev. James Caldwell Chapter NSDAR, Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church or Akers Chapel Cemetery.
ARRANGEMENTS: The Williamson Funeral Home, Jacksonville, and the Airsman-Hires Funeral Home are handling arrangements.