Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 4107 21st Ave., Moline. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at Greenview Memorial Gardens, East Moline. Memorials may be made to the church, Rock Island County Association of Retarded Citizens or the Quad City Animal Welfare Center. Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, Moline, is assisting the family with arrangements.
Bob was born on Nov. 25, 1923, in Exline, Iowa, the son of Elmer and Audrey Miller Deahl. One of six children and the only surviving son, he worked the fields of the family farm by strapping himself to a horse and guiding the plow by hand. This laid the foundation for a strong work ethic throughout his lifetime.
After graduating from Exline High School, Iowa, in 1941, Bob left home with exactly one dollar in his pocket and then joined the Navy — ironic, since he did not know how to swim. He was honorably discharged in 1945 after serving during World War II as a pharmacist's mate at the United States Naval Hospital in Schoemaker, Calif.
After returning to the Midwest, Bob met his first wife, Mildred "Midge" Peterson, a blond, blue-eyed Swede and student nurse attending Lutheran Hospital School for Nurses, Moline. They were married on April 18, 1947, and had three daughters, Susan, Becky and Cindy. Midge preceded Bob in death on Oct. 10, 1995, after a long battle with cancer. On June 7, 1997, Bob married Carolyn Serre. She has been a committed and loving partner throughout the good times and the duration of his illness.
Bob's 40-year career in the electrical field began in 1946 at Farlow Electric Company as an electrical apprentice. In 1957, he purchased an interest in Farlow's and later that year became president. Prior to the purchase, he was a member of IBEW 145. He went on to buy the business and remained president until his retirement in 1984. He was a self-made man, building the business so that it was not only profitable but respected as being respected and trustworthy. Bob was very active throughout his career as the Quad-Cities Electrical Contractor's Association, serving as president from 1972-1978 and governor from 1979-1982. Farlow Electric Company was contracted to do all of the electrical work at Lutheran Hospital, Moline, and for many years, served on the hospital board. Additionally, Farlow's was responsible for all electrical matters at Eagles grocery stores.
Bob became an active member and served on the board of the Rock Island County Association of Retarded Citizens after Cindy was born with Down syndrome.
Bob was a self-starter and led the McKinley Elementary School Dad's Club, Moline, in building large parade floats in his home driveway more than once. The grand prize was awarded to McKinley for one of those floats in the Halloween Parade. Bob always enjoyed building projects and became known as a "Jack of all trades, master of many."
Bob loved to camp, away from the telephone. He started out by renting a fold-out camper one summer from a local gas station and was hooked from then on. He built a large family cabin (with indoor plumbing!) at Lake Warren, Monmouth, Ill., with his best friend, Willie Fredericksen, a carpenter. The family spent many memorable years at the lake, and Bob eventually served as president on the lake board. He helped to significantly increase the number of camp sites at Lake Warren for hard-top campers by planning and installing electrical power to each site. Shortly before his death, Bob was honored by the current board and many lake members with a surprise celebration recognizing his years of service to the lake.
Bob is survived by his wife, Carolyn; daughters, Susan Kalabus, Springfield, Ill., Becky Bertram, Oregon, Wis., and Cynthia Deahl, Carlinville, Ill.; his son-in-law, Rick Serre and wife, Jan, Moline, and daughter-in-law, Lindi (Ken) Franks; seven grandchildren, Robert Kalabus, Elizabeth Koch, Kiersten Lynch, Christopher Bertram, Bill Serre, Christopher Franks and Emily Franks; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Bob was preceded in death by Mildred Deahl; brother, Jack; and four sisters, Ruby, Helen, Virginia and Mary; and his devoted dog. Molly.
Bob will be remembered as a man of few words, yet when he spoke, people listened. His nature was humble yet strong, always ready to lend a hand without fanfare or expecting a "thank you" in return and just as important, a true gentleman.
God saw you getting weary, He did what He thought best. He put His arms around you, and whispered "Come and rest."
Online condolences may be left for his family by visiting esterdahl.com.
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