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Bob Dobelstein

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Bob Dobelstein Obituary
DOBELSTEIN Bob Dobelstein, age 87, passed away peacefully at his daughters home on Friday, November 13, 2009 in Lake City, Fla. following a brief illness. The second child of Edward Dobelstein and Bertha Pekrul, Bob was born October 27,1922 in Bridgeport, into this loving German immigrant family. Taft Avenue was the location of the tri-plex flats which were built by Ed and his father, Martin for the expanding Dobelstein family that included, Dorothy, his older sister, Bob, Raymond, and Russell, a well mannered and energetic family. At a young age, Bob learned valuable Christian principles from his parents, be honest, work hard, earn an excellent education, and take pride in a job well done. Zion Lutheran Church was his spiritual and academic haven. He remained under the strict tutelage of Principal Louis Egert and Miss Hennrietta Fischer for eight years. With a solid academic foundation, Bob found much success during the next four years at Central High School, academically and athletically. During his high school career, Bob's prowess on the football field would earn him recognition and assist Central in earning its first state championship in 50 years during the 1939 season. Upon graduating from Central in 1940, Bob was unsure of his collegiate plans and took a year to prepare for university by attending Saint Basil's Prep School in Stanford, with some other football buddies. In 1942, college offers were abundant as Bob considered which football scholarship to accept. One of his best friends from football, Bud Hubbell, suggested he come south and look at the UT Volunteers in Knoxville. Bob arrived, practiced, and was offered a scholarship on the spot by Coach (soon to be General) Robert Neyland. Thus, began Bob's illustrious career at UT, athletically, academically, and romantically. Bob earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education. He was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Here he met and fell in love with the popularly petite, demure, co-ed, Betty Beauford Fowler whom he wed in 1946 upon their graduation. In 1943, Bob played in the Sugar Bowl against Tulsa, and in 1945 the Rose Bowl, along with his brother, Russ, age 16, the youngest player ever in Rose Bowl history, against Southern Cal where he was team captain. He was voted ALL-SEC in 1944 to 1945 and was first-team All American in 1944. An invitation was earned to the East-West Shriners Game at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco where Bob caught the attention of the NFL. Bob signed with the Chicago Bears and was immediately traded to the NY Giants in 1946. This turned out to be an opportune move as the Bears played the Giants for the NFL Championship at the Polo Grounds. Bob played two more years for the Giants and then signed with the LA Dons of the AAC where he played until 1949, ending a very successful football career. For the next seven years, Bob and Betty with their children, Anne, Robby, and Libby settled into suburban life in Stratford. Always looking for opportunities, Bob and his brother, Ray opened two successful Sunoco Service Stations. In 1957, family and business opportunities brought Bob and Betty to Lake City, Fla. where they made a home for life. Bob committed himself to new business opportunities from Phillip 66 service stations, to building the Lake City Advertiser and WGRO radio station, the first AM station in town. A staunch supporter of Tiger football, Bob hosted Tiger Breakfast on Saturday mornings, live from the Red Barn Restaurant. Bob also saw the potential for visual media improvements and built Lake City Cablevision, now Comcast, thus bringing cable television to Columbia County. Later in life, Bob had business interest in the mobile home industry, as a real estate broker, and hearing aid specialists. Bob felt a strong sense of civic responsibility and accepted many positions of leadership including, president of the Lions Club, and as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce. Bob was a founding board member of the "new" Lake City Country Club. Membership grew in the Quarterback Club during Bob's tenure as president which was during the 1967 State Championship Team on which his son, Robby played. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church for 52 years and served on the Building Improvements Committee and was a church greeter. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Anne Dobelstein Michael in 1982; and his wife of 61years, Elizabeth "Betty" Beauford Fowler in 2007. Surviving Bob are those who affectionately call him Dad, "GranBob," and "Dobe" are his children, Robby (Kitty) of Peoria, Ill., and Libby (Tom) Clary of Lake City; his grandchildren, Lara (Michael) Wehrli, Alex Michael, Drew Michael, Kate (Jason) Dobson, Clay Dobelstein, Liz-Anne (Fabio) Silva, Josh (Crystal) Clary, Zach (Candace) Clary, Maddie Dobelstein, Phillip Dobelstein; his two great-grandsons, Reid and Cole Wehrli; his sister, Dorothy Schweitzer, Shelton; his brothers, Ray Dobelstein, Concord, N.C., and Dr. Russ Dobelstein Charlestown, R.I. and many nieces and nephews. Bob never met a stranger. Everyone was greeted with a warm smile and handshake. Bob was an "ideas man" who liked to make the impossible, possible. He always welcomed a challenge. He loved planning and designing things in his workshop and many special gifts were created there from children's furniture, rocking horses, and baby doll cradles. He entertained all by playing his harmonica, and was always the first to decorate and hide the Easter eggs for the grandchildren. Nothing was more important to Bob than his family and friends. A soft spoken, wise, gentle Giant, who was loyal to the end. Who always looked for opportunities to give someone a chance. A memorial service celebrating Bob's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at First Presbyterian Church, 697 SW Baya Drive, Lake City, FL with Reverend Roy Martin officiating. The family will receive friends following in the Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial gifts be made to Haven Hospice Care Center of Suwannee Valley, 6037 US Hwy 90 W. Lake City, FL 32055. Guerry Funeral Home, Lake City. 386-752-2414.

Published in Connecticut Post on Nov. 17, 2009
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