A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at St. Anne Catholic Church, East Moline. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Rafferty Funeral Home, 2111 1st St. A, Moline. Entombment will be at St. Mary's Cemetery, East Moline, with military honors by American Legion Post 246, Moline. An additional memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at St. Mary's Church, Carlyle. Memorials can be made to River Bend Food Pantry and Matthew 25 Food Pantry, Carlyle.
Bob was born on July 8, 1936, in Rock Island, the son of Joseph and Eva Bawiec Gende. Bob attended grade school at St. Anne, East Moline. He graduated from Alleman High School, Rock Island, in 1954, where he was a major letter winner in three sports: football, basketball and baseball. He attended the University of Illinois in Urbana, and graduated with a B.S. in engineering. He served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged on April 8, 1960.
In 1966, Bob, along with Dale Henry and Harold Meisenheimer, established HMG Engineering Inc., in Carlyle. HMG specialized in surveying and civil, structural and environmental engineering. They worked with local, state and federal agencies on projects ranging from water treatment, bridge design and highway planning. HMG grew under his leadership to have multiple offices across the Midwest completing projects nationally and internationally. He served as vice president and president, and eventually retired in 1997.
Bob was honored as a fellow of the American Consulting Engineering Council, a national award that recognizes outstanding service to the engineering profession. He served as president, vice president and director of the Consulting Engineers Council of Illinois. He was chairman of Pro Bono Publico Committee and played an active role in establishing engineering scholarship programs such as the CECI Lonnie Carter Memorial Scholarship.
Bob was an extraordinarily kind and generous man both to his family and to his community, serving for many years in the Knights of Columbus and supporting a number of local scholarships. Bob spent the majority of his adult life in Carlyle, where he was very active both in the community and his church, St. Mary's. He was a devoted follower of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals and everything Illini. He was a staunch supporter of his two alma maters, Alleman High School and University of Illinois. He loved to play both golf and poker, neither of which he was very good at, but he always played with passion and enthusiasm with his family and friends. In 1992, Bob won the Mr. Legs of the Clinton County Fair without having cast a vote for himself, or so he claims.
Bob is survived by two brothers, James (Sue) and Ron (Sandy) Gende; sister, Evelyn (Tom) Spero; sister-in-law, Irene Gende; 14 nieces, nephews and their spouses; and 28 great-nieces and -nephews. He was preceded in death by a brother, Joseph Gende.
Condolences may be left at www.raffertyfunerals.com.
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