L. Robert Gengler of Cass City, age 86, died following a long illness Wednesday, February 13, 2019, in Medilodge Nursing Facility, Cass City. He was born May 31, 1932, in Chesaning the first of nine children born to Leo John and Katheryn Marie (Walser) Gengler. He married Grace Helen Janowski July 25, 1996, in St. Andrews Catholic Church in Saginaw.
Bob graduated from Chesaning High School with the class of 1951. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He studied for four years at St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids. Bob received his Master’s degree in Divinity from St. John’s Seminary in Plymouth. He studied Theology at St. John’s in Plymouth for four years and was ordained in 1961. In total, Bob has credits from nine colleges studying Latin, Greek, German and English among many other topics. For 56 years, Bob was in the classroom every day, 23 years as a student and 33 as a teacher.
Bob’s first appointment was St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Ruth. There he was assigned as assistant to Monsignor and was put in the classroom as a teacher for the first time. He taught at Blessed Sacrament Parish then was asked to teach at Twinning Public School. From 1967 to 1969, he taught at St. Paul Seminary in Saginaw and was also athletic director. In 1969, Bob was appointed to pastor St. Pancratius Catholic Church where he stayed until 1974 when he left the ministry to marry. Bob was a Lector, Eucharistic Minister and member of the choir at St. Pancratius. He started substitute teaching at Cass City High School and then became a fulltime teacher through his retirement in 1996.
Bob is a co-founder of the Thumb chapter of retired teachers and was the second president. He was the president of the Tri-County Bargaining Association, which represented 21 schools in the Thumb. He was the head bargainer and negotiated 25 teacher contracts. Bob was a supervisor for the 2000 census field operation. He has researched his family genealogy for the last 56 years of Gengler reunions and has created a family tree of over 37,000 family members.
Bob loved to read and travel, visiting most of the 50 states, Canada, Germany and Luxemburg. After retirement, he volunteered for the Thumb Octagon Barn Agricultural Museum serving on the board, as chair of the one room school house development, and worked closely with Katie Jackson on the museum building project. He was a Knights of Columbus member for over 55 years in Chesaning and with the Cass City Gagetown Council #8892. He formed the Cass City council over 30 years ago, signing up the first 40 members and served as the first Grand Knight.
Bob is survived by his wife, Grace; children: Bethany (Ben) Gielczyk of Lansing, Robert John Gengler of Leslie; grandchildren: Charlie Gibson, Grant Robert Gengler; mother of his children, Gail Ian of Chelsea; siblings: Dale (Helen) Gengler of Chesaning, Loraine (Francis) Ruddy of Chesaning, Gerald (Ann) Gengler of Chesaning, Shirley (Ken) Schnell of Chesaning, Kenneth (Judy) Gengler of Saginaw, Ronald Gengler of Chesaning, Diane Hart of Columbus, Ohio; many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law, Mildred (Dale) Dankert.
Visitations was from 2-5 and 7-9 p.m. Sunday, February 17, 2019, in Kranz Funeral Home – Cass City with a Vigil at 7 p.m. and from 10 a.m. until the funeral service at 11 a.m. Monday, February 18, 2019, in Our Lady Consolata Parish, St. Pancratius Catholic Church with Rev. Adam Maher and Rev. Joseph Gagnon officiating. Memorials may be made to Our Lady Consolata Parish Roof Fund. Interment will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Chesaning with Rev. Joseph Griffin saying prayers at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 19, 2019, in St. Peters Catholic Church, Chesaning. Family and friends may share memories, prayers and photos with the family at www.kranzfuneralhome.com.