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Robert J. Bakalars

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Robert J. Bakalars, 86, of Franklin, died peacefully, with his family at his side, Tuesday April 14, 2015 at Vibra Hospital in Leicester, following a brief illness. He was the beloved husband of Ruth M. (Tauriainen) Bakalars. Born January 9, 1929 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, a son of the late Edward J. and Effie A. (Hanson) Bakalars, he was a resident of Franklin for over 46 years. He was raised and educated in LaCrosse, and was a graduate of the Brown Institute for Radio Broadcasting. Robert was a well known broadcaster who worked in the Midwest, and later in New England. During the 1960's he worked for WMEX radio in Boston, as one of the WMEX "Good Guys." While at WMEX, under the broadcasting name of Dan Donovan, he held the highest ratings in Boston for his air time slot for two consecutive years. He also worked at WCOP radio under several pseudonyms. During his years as a radio broadcaster, he met and interviewed many celebrities and interesting people along the way. He was also a former, long distance truck driver for Westwood Cartilage and, following his retirement, worked at ADESA in Framingham. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, attaining the rank of private. He was awarded the American Theater Ribbon, the World War II Victory Medal, the Occupational Medal, and was discharged in August 1947. Following his discharge, he worked as a railroad telegrapher and eventually ran the station evenings. A true patriot, he then served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, where he attained the rank of Airman 3rd Class. He was a flight radio operator and flew into typhoons, doing weather research. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal, the U.N. Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Occupational Medal (Japan) and the Air Crew Member Badge. He was honorably discharged in 1954. Of all of his accomplishments in life, his most cherished one was his family. He was a devoted husband to his wife, Ruth, who was the love of his life. He was also a father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, brother and friend. He enjoyed spirited conversation, crossword puzzles, blogging on his computer, and spending quality time with his family and friends. Immediately prior to his illness this past February, he watched his beloved New England Patriots win the Super Bowl with his family. In addition to his wife of 59 years, he is survived by his children: Yvonne K. Nicholson and her fiance, John Mackey, of Bellingham; Cindy M.B. Shepherd and her husband, Charles, of Millis; Jay R. Bakalars and his wife, Kathryn, of Franklin; and Brian J. Bakalars of Franklin. He is also survived by 3 brothers; David Bakalars, and Edward Bakalars, both of Wisconsin and Richard Bakalars of Arizona. Also surviving are his grandchildren: James Nicholson, Kenneth Nicholson, Kevin Bakalars, Bryan Nicholson, Matthew Bakalars, Ryan Shepherd, Christopher Shepherd, Aili Bakalars, Nathan Bakalars, Ian Bakalars, Evan Bakalars and Josephine Bakalars , as well as 4 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral Friday April 17th, at 9 AM from the Charles F. Oteri & Son Franklin Funeral Home, 33 Cottage St., with a funeral Mass in St. Brendan Parish 384 Hartford Ave. Bellingham, MA 02019 at 10 AM. Interment with military honors will follow at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne. Burial is private, with family and close friends welcome. Calling hours are Thursday from 5-8 PM at the funeral home. Due to floral limitations at the cemetery, donations in Roberts memory may be sent to Countryside Healthcare c/o Activities Fund, 1 countryside Dr. Milford, MA 01757 or the PO Box 417005 Boston, MA 02241-7005. Guestbook/directions www.oterifuneralhome.com

Published in The Country Gazette from Apr. 16 to Apr. 23, 2015
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