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Robert (Bob, Papa) John Dols, 73, small business champion, loving husband, proud father, even prouder Papa, and friend to many (except cats not named Sylvester), passed away peacefully surrounded by his family in Willmar, on Thursday, February 2nd at CentraCare Care Center. Yes, Groundhogs Day, probably part of some joke he had planned all along. His funeral will be 11:00 am, Friday, February 24th at Faith Lutheran Church in Spicer with visitation starting at 9:00 am at the church and will be live-streamed on the church's YouTube page. Interment will be in the church columbarium. Funeral arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar. www.hafh.org
Memorials to our donor-advised funds are deeply appreciated. Donations can be mailed to "Bob and Patti Dols Advised Endowment Fund" c/o Southwest Initiative Foundation, 15 3rd Ave NW, Hutchinson, MN 55350 or online at www.bit.ly/dolsendowfund or Bob and Patti Dols Donor Advised Fund - Willmar Area Community Foundation http://www.communitygiving.org/donate/bob-and-patti-dols-advised-fund or mailed to c/o Willmar Area Community Foundation, 1601 E Hwy 12 Suite #9, Willmar, MN 56201.
Bob was born May 8, 1949, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the first child of Ed and Dolores (Meyer) Dols. Growing up in St. Cloud he was the big brother and protector of his four sisters and brother; Geralyn, Carol, Kathy, MaryBeth and Kevin. Following high school, Bob served in the US Army Reserves and taught us all how to sing, “Tiny Bubbles,” which his drill sergeant made them sing during marches.
Bob will be remembered for his humor, quick wit, and great hair. Always making everyone smile, even at the end. He always made everyone feel important and special, his energy was infectious. He was known to answer the phone, “Hello, is this the party to whom I am speaking.” His grandchildren loved his larger-than-life personality and daily commentary, some of which may or may not have been age appropriate. He was our rock, and we will forever miss him.
Bob was a champion of small-town Minnesota, Willmar in particular, and small business. If you’ve ever driven Highway 23, you can thank Bob for his endless hours lobbying local and federal lawmakers for transportation funds to make Willmar a destination and to “close the gap.” Thanks to these efforts, none of us will ever again get stuck behind a line of cars all the way from Willmar to St. Cloud.
He was also an active member of the Willmar small business community. He served on the local and state chamber of commerce boards, Bremer Bank Board of Directors, and volunteered throughout the community. His favorite place on earth was work. As the old saying goes, “Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” Bob loved Northern States Supply. He started as a salesman, eventually was a part owner, and ended his career as President of the company, which he proudly transitioned into an employee-owned business. He was so proud of his Northern Family and was blessed to have spent his life doing what he loved and with people he loved as well.
Bob was a foodie, in the sense that he never met a food he didn’t like. He would often ask what you were eating, and if it was good, in the hopes that you would offer him a taste. We always did, and he always liked it.
He loved his family, adored his wife, Patti, who he was married to for 31 years, which is quite impressive considering the wild “vacations” Patti planned (see the Havasupai Trail). He was so proud of his boys, Aric and Peter, and his girls, Leah and Tricia. He was always up for an adventure, be it going on the annual spring break trip to Longboat Key, professional sporting events, pheasant hunting, fishing, or golfing. He loved watching his granddaughters dance and figure skate, and his grandsons play hockey and fish/hunt. Bob loved being a part of their lives. He let them dress him up, shared dilly bars by the pool, took them on golf cart rides, and did arts and crafts. You name it, he was there.
Bob leaves behind his wife, Patti; his sons, Aric (Melissa) Dols and Peter (Karn) Dols; his daughters, Leah (Mike) Schammel and Tricia (Pat) Eveland; nine grandchildren; Anna (18) and Micah Dols (16), Silas (7) Dols, Sophia (13), Ella (11), and Nora Schammel (7), and Graham (12), Hadley (11), and Tate (8) Eveland; four sisters and a brother, his work family, and an amazing group of friends, the “coffee guys” and “golf buddies,” that were more like family.
Willmar Area Community Foundation - Bob and Patti Dols Donor Advised Fund
1601 East Highway 12, Suite 9, Willmar MN 56201
Southwest Initiative Foundation - Bob and Patti Dols Advised Endowment Fund
15 3rd Avenue NW, Hutchinson MN 55350