Robert F. “Bob” Filer passed peacefully in the presence of his wife Debby on July 2, 2020, due to complications of Parkinson's Disease, at Canal View where he had been residing for a year. His wife visited with him twice daily until COVID struck and then she faithfully sent reassuring love letters each day, with photographs, to hold him close.
Born in Greenville Pennsylvania, raised by his loving parents Charlotte and Robert Filer, his childhood was idyllic. During high school he worked part-time at a Chevrolet Dealership and, when he graduated, he received the Class Physics Award. Bob earned a Five-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering at Gannon College and became licensed as a Profession Engineer in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Bob served in the US Army from 1964-1965, and then in the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, being Honorably Discharged from the US Air Force in 1974 as a 1st Lieutenant.
He was employed by Pennsylvania Electric and McGraw-Edison in both Pennsylvania and in Ohio. Bob was then employed as a Project Engineer at Systems Control, in Iron Mountain Michigan. His professional experience greatly benefited his students, as a Professor in the Electrical Engineering Technology Program at Michigan Technological University, from 1975 to 2003, retiring as a Full Professor with Emeritus status.
Bob married Marilyn (Smith) Filer, having children Mark, Kristan, and Anne. Later he married Barbara (Stover) Filer and, with her, had his fourth child Sarah. He and Debby (Bose) Filer met in 2002, married, then retired from Tech and created a loving and energetic life together.
He was a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the First United Methodist Church. He supported Relay for Life many years. Bob was an outdoor man and enjoyed tennis, scuba diving, bird-watching, white water canoeing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Bob also valued hiking in New Zealand where he, with Barbara and Sarah, spent a sabbatical year teaching at the Central Institute of Technology. He was also a runner and completed Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.
He and Debby added indoor “spinning” and rowing workouts to their activities. They also began to road bicycle together. Bob and Deb, with four of their children, rode Minnesota's “Habitat 500” eight years, a 500 mile 7-day bicycle ride supporting Habitat for Humanity. All of the funds they raised they contributed to their local Copper Country Chapter. He and Deb also relished traveling to visit their eight children and to hike National Parks. Bob credited his wife Debby with postponing his illness and then delaying its progression by unfailingly encouraging their very active lifestyle and optimism.
He was preceded in death by his parents, friend Dale Walivaara, Barbara Filer, and his sister Mary Jane (Filer) Marx. Surviving are his loving wife Debby Bose Filer, blessed and privileged to marry her beloved and cherished husband; sister Nancy (Paul) Ceremuga of Pauline South Carolina; four children Mark (Gwen) Filer of Manitowoc Wisconsin, Kristan (David) Coleman of Irvine California, Anne (James) Walker of Oakland California, and Sarah (Beanie) Zollweg of Manhattan New York; four step-children, Lydia (Fabian de Kok-Mercado) Gregg of Ellicott City Maryland, David (Kristina) Gregg of Portage Michigan, Dan Gregg of Ypsilanti Michigan, and Jane (Philip Hofer) Gregg of Seattle Washington; five grandchildren, Calvin, Amelia, Cody, Chloe, and Madison; five European High School exchange students; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family extends their gratitude to Dr. Terry Kinzel and Deb Lorenz, NP; the staff of Canal View Houghton County; and to Portage Hospice for providing very thorough, thoughtful, and attentive care.
A Memorial Service will take place next summer. Condolences may be sent on line to the O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock Michigan. The family requests no flowers or memorial gifts. Your compassion and condolences are gifts enough.
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