Robert Theodore Ralston, 84, passed away on April 27, 2016 at Rolling Hills Manor in Zion, IL. He was born on July 23, 1931 in Monroe Township located in Adams County, Ohio, to Noble and Mary (Pollard) Ralston and was the youngest of eight siblings.
Robert and his best friend left Ohio in 1950-51 and came to Waukegan to seek adventure and employment. He was only 20 years old when he met Dorothy Marie Gabrosek at a dance held at the local Roller Rink. On September 22, 1951, they were married at Mother of God Church in Waukegan and together they raised four daughters.
Although only having completed half of the seventh grade in school, he was a smart and knowledgeable person. He learned how to fix and repair machines, as he would always “tinker” with things that didn’t work. Whether working on a car, outboard motor, lawn mower or an appliance, he would figure out the problem and resolve it and many would often ask for his help.
Robert enjoyed square dancing with Dorothy and their daughter, Robin. He also had many hobbies over the years: upholstery, deer hunting, stained glass, and was known as the “Turtle Man” for making those walnut turtles with the bobbing heads and tails. Robert had one major hobby which he loved, and that was fishing. On weekends, you could find him down at the lake in Waukegan with his boat to fish for perch or salmon. He also enjoyed smelt fishing off the pier there and ice fishing on the Chain. He shared his love and knowledge of fishing with nephews and especially with Sean, who fished with him for decades.
Robert retired from Johnson Motors-Outboard Marine in 1986. He started in the factory and advanced to a millwright position, and during those years he completed a welding course. Later, he drove a school bus for several years. Robert, “Mr. Bob”, drove for the Waukegan School District, Woodland School, Kenneth Murphy Middle School and lastly for Beach Park Elementary School.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Robin in 2007 and his wife, Dorothy in 2015, parents; Noble and Mary Ralston, brothers; Norman (Jessie) Ralston, Kirby (Myrtle) Ralston, Charles (Mary) Ralston, sisters; Grace (John) Ailshire, Ethel (John) Massey, Esta (Frank) Hobbs and Kathryn (Monty) Higle.
Robert is survived by his daughters; Yvonne Boyer and Doreen (Wesley) Reeves both of Waukegan, IL, and Loretta (Charles) Swingle of Winthrop Harbor, IL. His grandchildren; Bridget, Ben and Roxanne Boyer, Erin Reeves, Mary (Craig) Nelson, Jinah (Chris) Morris and Keith Swingle, a great-granddaughter; Lexi Morris, and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation will be held on Monday, May 2, 2016 from 4pm to 7 pm at the Gurnee Salata Funeral Home, 4190 Old Grand Avenue, Gurnee IL. Additional visitation will be on Tuesday, May 3 from 9 am to 10 am at St. Dismas Church, 2600 Sunset Avenue, Waukegan IL with a funeral mass to follow at 10 am. Burial will be at Ascension Cemetery, Libertyville IL.