Robert Frederic (“Bob”) Huestis (1922-2012)

Robert Frederic (“Bob”) Huestis (1922-2012)

Robert Frederic (“Bob”) Huestis died in Sabetha, Kansas, on Sunday, June 3, 2012, three weeks shy of his 90th birthday, having enjoyed a long and wonderful life.
Bob was born on June 27, 1922, in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Howard Huestis and the former Eleanor H. Schilling. He moved to Fillmore with his parents and older brother Howard B. Huestis as a youngster when his father was transferred to the Fillmore Post Office. He graduated with the Fillmore High Class of 1941.
Coach Harry Bigger described Bob in his 1991 Memories as “a big, strong, likeable kid, and in my estimation the best all-around athlete Fillmore HS ever has had.” He was all-league tackle in football as a sophomore, junior, and senior; two years all-league in basketball; and the league’s most valuable player in baseball. He was chosen as team captain in every sport.
Baseball was Bob’s favorite, and his reputation as a pitcher was well known. “It took courage to stay in the batter’s box against Bobby,” recalled Coach Bigger. “Many batters ‘bailed out’ on called strikes.” Bob umpired for the Fillmore Little League for many years and was a long-time Dodgers fan.
Bob was inducted into the Fillmore High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, an honor that he treasured.
After playing college baseball briefly in Oklahoma, Bob answered the call of duty. He joined the Marine Corps in November 1942 and served in the Pacific during WWII. He took shrapnel on Saipan, received the Purple Heart, and returned to Fillmore in November 1945.
Mindful of the casualties of war, Bob had searched for assurance that he would have a place in heaven if he didn’t survive. It was not until he was back home, out of harm’s way, that he sensed God speaking to him, inaudibly calling, “I want you to be My son.” Bob responded to that call and received God’s gift of love and assurance of eternal destiny.
Bob married Virginia June LeBard of Fillmore on October 11, 1951. They enjoyed 60 happy years together and raised three children.
Bob spent most of his working years with the Fillmore Post Office in the days when mail carriers walked routes, carrying a mail bag on the shoulder or pushing a cart. Having covered the two largest routes in town, at one time he knew most of the people who lived at each address. He often stopped to greet residents as he delivered the mail and was a friend to many.
During years when the high school was without a swimming pool, Bob opened his own pool to neighborhood youth after work and served as life guard. His home was the location of many a dinner, party, Bible study, and get-together.
He was a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church, where he served for many years as Sunday School superintendent, as a church elder, and in other capacities.
Answering another call, Bob retired early from the Post Office in 1970 and together with Virginia joined New Tribes Mission of Sanford, Florida, which specializes in evangelizing unreached people groups. After preparatory train¬ing in Pennsylvania and Missouri, they spent five years in Papua New Guinea where Bob was in charge of purchasing and shipping for mission personnel located in remote areas of the country. He and Virginia also operated a guest house for mission personnel in the coastal town of Wewak.
Upon returning to Fillmore for furlough in 1978, Bob was diagnosed with a chronic form of leukemia and suffered a back injury, resulting in retirement from the mission. He then served as a part-time pastor, visiting the sick and elderly. He also drove a bus part time between Fillmore and Ventura for the Fillmore transit system.
Affectionately nicknamed Poppy by his grandchildren, Bob constantly spent count¬less hours loving and caring for them. He got to know each one as he played imagina¬tively with them as youngsters and followed their special interests as they grew older. It was in this way that he passed on his most important values as an ongoing legacy. Each one of his grandchildren carries a piece of his heart and character.
Bob and Virginia moved to Ventura in the late 1980s and from there to Fairview, Kansas, in 2007 to live near their son Sam and his wife Linda, who had just established a home there. Although Bob’s leukemia never progressed, within a year of the move his general health declined, and he became a resident of the Apostolic Christian Home in nearby Sabetha. He enjoyed many visits from family who came often from around the country.
Bob spent his entire adult life serving others and will be remembered as one of the kindest and gentlest men one could ever meet.
He is survived by his wife Virginia; children Sam Huestis of Ventura and Fairview, Alice Mikos of Oak Harbor, Washington, and Margaret LaRue of Ventura; grand¬children Nathan Huestis, Ryan Huestis, Kimberlee Mikos, Matthew Mikos, Christina Mikos, Aimee LaRue Sywulka, Rachel LaRue Culver, and Bobby LaRue; and great grandson Kysen Mikos.
Interment will be on June 8 at the Leavenworth National Cemetery. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Bob’s memory to the Apostolic Christian Home, the Sabetha Legion baseball team, or other charities.