Longtime Gardner resident Robert “Bob” Reimers, 86, passed away May 29, 2019, at Villa St. Francis in Olathe, Kansas. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at Bruce Funeral Home in Gardner, Kansas. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 14, at Fellowship Bible Church, 16900 S. Waverly Road in Gardner. Burial follows at the Gardner Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the KS-Kansas City South Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (specify Bob Reimers Memorial in the memo line). Arrangements: Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner, Kansas (913) 856-7111. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com
A model of Christian integrity and wisdom, Bob had no need or desire to follow current trends or “keep up with the Joneses,” but was still kind and respectful to everyone who crossed his path. He was a lifelong student and teacher of the Bible, and he considered as his greatest accomplishment the raising of seven God-fearing children—all of whom will be eternally grateful for having had him as their father.
Bob was born May 28, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Jacob and Lydia (Dudek) Reimers. An exceptionally bright child, he was speaking fluent German—his parents’ native tongue—by age two. The fourth of six children, his parents often told his siblings to “ask Robert” when they had questions they couldn’t answer themselves.
After graduating from Shorewood High School (near Milwaukee) in 1951, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University and a master’s degree in the same field from Columbia University in New York City. He married Angela Basile on June 14, 1958. They lived in New York and then Pennsylvania before moving to Gardner in 1973.
For the next 39 years, the family resided in a century-old farmhouse on South Elm Street, which Bob painstakingly remodeled, one room at a time. As an amateur builder in pre-internet days, he learned all the skills necessary for a complete renovation by visiting new housing developments and examining homes in various stages of construction.
Bob worked for several Kansas City area manufacturing firms over the years, including Litton Dental Products, Miner Container and Shor-Line, a veterinary equipment company. His professional specialty was identifying mechanical problems and devising solutions for them. His patented inventions include an ultrasonic dental scaler, a leak-proof sun tea jar spigot and a large-animal lift table.
A man of strong faith and firm convictions—which he often expressed in letters to the editor of the Kansas City Star—Bob was never swayed by the opinions of other people but always respected their views even if he disagreed with them. He was a nonconformist to the core, as evidenced by the bright green shirts he enjoyed wearing, the old Ramblers he drove and the color scheme of lavender, fuchsia and white that he chose for the exterior of his house.
Over the course of his life, Bob’s diverse interests included everything from politics, trains, classical music and current affairs to history, gardening and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a voracious reader who passed on his love of books to his children. They fondly recall his dramatic reading of children’s stories every night before bedtime, and, as they grew older, his assistance with spelling-bee preparation as well as math, science and other homework.
Bob valued friendship and enjoyed meeting new people, especially those from other countries and cultures. Completely unpretentious, he was as comfortable serving on the elder boards at the various churches he attended over the years as he was teaching Sunday school to kindergarteners, leading Bible studies at the Johnson County Detention Center or tutoring adult learners for Literacy KC.
When Fellowship Bible Church opened its doors in Gardner in 2003, it was a dream come true for him and Angela, who had always attended services in Olathe but had long desired to belong to a church in their own community. In addition to serving as a founding FBC elder, he prayed faithfully for individuals and families in the congregation, visited people in the hospital, participated in life groups, hosted guests in his home, greeted as many visitors and regular attenders as possible every Sunday morning, and taught Bible classes when called on to do so.
During the last two years, Bob spent many hours with Angela at Villa St. Francis in Olathe, where she was a resident. True to form, he got to know the staff and the other residents, as well as their family members who visited, and counted them all as his friends. Angela was the love of his life for almost 61 years; he joined her in heaven five weeks after she died on Good Friday.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Angela; brother, Hans Reimers; and sister, Marianne Buckle. He is survived by his seven children: Joseph (Laurie) Reimers, Mauriceville, Texas; Stephen (Wakana) Reimers, Japan; Peter (Julie) Reimers, Philippines; Lydia Reimers, Baldwin City, Kansas; Ruth (Jerry) Keehner, Bowie, Maryland; Lois (Randy) Flowers, Olathe, Kansas; and Esther (Steve) Ware, Grinnell, Iowa; a sister, Renate Tyrrell, Wild Rose, Wisconsin; and two brothers: Werner Reimers, Anchorage, Alaska; and David Reimers, Tyler, Texas. Bob also is survived by 13 grandchildren, all of whom dearly loved their Grandpa Reimers.