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Robert E. Narowetz

Published On: Mar 29 2014 04:54:28 PM CDT

At 92 years of age, Robert Edward Narowetz, passed away on March 28, 2014 at the UW Hospital in Madison. Robert, our "Papa Bear," was born July 21, 1921 in Cary, Illinois.

The Bear's early adventures centered around Cary and involved hunting, sports, and academics. His father Frank Narowetz passed away when he and his brother Bud were young. To help his mother, he caddied at the local Cary Country Club for 75 cents a round. Thus began Bear's love for golf. He joined Blackhawk Country Club in college and remained a member for 64 years! During the winter, Bear spent most of his time on the ski hill. He was a member of the Norge Ski Club located in Fox River Grove, Illinois. He ski jumped all over the country - from Lake Placid, New York to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Bear even helped teach Bobby Kennedy how to jump one cold, winter day at the University of Wisconsin-Madison ski jump. He was an excellent student and athlete.

Robert graduated from Crystal Lake High School in 1939 and went into the sheet metal trade until 1944. In 1944 he entered the United States Naval Air Corps, where he later became a 2nd Lieutenant. Robert was honorably discharged from active duty in October of 1945, and in June of 1947 he received an Honorable Discharge from the US Naval Reserve. After leaving the military, Bear attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the GI Bill where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In three years, he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He remained an engineer for his entire life - first with Pharo/Narowetz and then with C.A. Hooper Construction in Madison, Wisconsin.

Along with skiing and golf, Papa Bear loved to dance. He met his first wife Harriet Nelson on the dance floor in Madison. Together they raised 3 children Timothy, Todd, and Tracy. Bob and Harriet were proud to raise their children in Madison with excellent schools and athletic opportunities. An active life was very important to Bear, and we wish to thank all of the families and friends who shared their lives with the Narowetz family. So many wonderful people and adventures: ski trips, golf outings, and - of course - the Annual Allie Welch Fourth of July Picnic.

Simply put, Bear loved to help people and spent many years as a ski patroller for Tyrol Basin in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. After retiring, he became a ski instructor - leaving Madison for Bessemer, Michigan during the winter months. He taught downhill skiing at Blackjack and Indian Head until he was 89 years old. On March 16, 1996, he married Shirley Baum. A great match, Shirley also loved to ski and play golf. They spent the next 17 years together and enjoyed their retirement with friends and family.

Bear often accredited his military experience for his life's success and his mother Helen for his kindness, humor, and cooking skills. As a young caddy, he met Mrs. Southerland who taught him to always "smile and be nice." He truly followed her advice. He spent his life loving others unconditionally and was one of the most entertaining persons one could ever meet.

Robert is preceded in death by his father Frank "Murph" Narowetz, his mother Helen, his brother Bud, and his wife Harriet. He is survived by his wife Shirley, sons Tim and Todd, daughter Tracy (Randy), and 4 grandchildren Alexandra, Elizabeth, Katherine, and Morgan.

Services for Robert will be held at 11:00 am on Friday April 4, 2014 at St. Lukes Lutheran Church, 7337 Hubbard Ave., Middleton, WI, 53562. Visitation will be held from 10:00 am until the time of service, followed with a luncheon at Blackhawk Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the American Red Cross, or St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

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