Robert Otto Etzler

February 18, 1930December 23, 2020

Robert Otto Etzler, 90, died peacefully on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at Dupont Lutheran Hospital, Ft Wayne, IN. He was born on February 18, 1930 to the late Ruth (Boenke) and Otto Etzler on the Etzler family farm near Convoy, OH.

Robert was baptized on March 2, 1930 in the German Lutheran Church. He graduated from Van Wert High School in 1948. Robert attended Valparaiso University and received his bachelor degree in Civil Engineering on June 1, 1952. He started his career at Joy Manufacturing Company in Michigan City, IN. Within several months he was inducted into the Army where he served in the Philippines and Korea as a Corporal in the 29th Engineer Battalion.

Robert married Hazel Bremer on August 28, 1954; they were married for 54 years. After discharge from the Army, he worked for the Illinois Highway Department in Ottawa, IL. His professional career progressed with Kingscott Associates in Kalamazoo, MI and Charles Cole & Son in South Bend, IN. In 1968 he moved his family to Ft Wayne where he became Chief Structural Engineer for Schenkel & Schultz. He retired as a partner in 1992.

Robert was a member of Concordia Lutheran Church in Ft Wayne where he served as an Elder and a Stephen Ministry leader. He was proud to be a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 1995 he was awarded “Citizen Engineer” by the Engineer Technical Society of Northeastern Indiana. He was a member of the Northside-Ft Wayne Optimist Club and was named “Optimist of the Year” in 2005. As a Purdue University Associate Professor at the Ft Wayne IUPU extension, he shared his vast knowledge with his students in Applied Structures.

Robert is survived by his children, Cynthia (Paul) Budek of Chicago, IL, Deborah (Kevin) Grabe of Tucson, AZ, Denise Fix of Indianapolis, IN, Christine (Mark) Smith of Minnetonka MN, Rev. Andrew (Carolyn) Etzler of Centralia, MO and John (Tricia) Etzler of Monona, WI; 14 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren; siblings, Gordon (Jerri) Etzler, and Alice (Tim) Roehrs; and sister-in-law, Helen Etzler. He was preceded in death by his wife, Hazel; sister, Marguerite Boerger; brother, Kenneth Etzler; and son-in-law, Jack Fix.

Private family services are being held. The family invites you to join them via livestream services at 1:00pm on Thursday, December 31, by visiting the Hockemeyer & Miller Facebook page.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Concordia Lutheran Church (, and Heart to Heart Hospice ( in Fort Wayne.


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Robert Otto Etzler

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Emmalee Wade

December 30, 2020

I had the privilege to serve as. Stephen Leader with Bob for many years. I was able to see what a blessing he was to many as a Stephen Minister. Was so blessed to have known Bob, will certainly miss him

Jacqueline Heckler

December 29, 2020

My memories of both your parents goes back for over thirty years when we came back and met at Concordia Lutheran Church. The friendship grew over these years. Sadly, over ten years ago, both your mother and my husband were called to their Eternal Home in the same year. But Bob and I continued our friendship with Bible Classes, and other occasions like church luncheons. I was chauffeur for many of our times together.
I will continue to cherish the times we all had together and I will look forward for sometime in the future when I can join the three of them in our reunion in Heaven.
May our Lord be with you all . Jackie

Ann Weber

December 29, 2020

What a thoughtful, funny and delightful gentleman was Bob! I worked as his draftsperson for 7 years at Schenkel Shultz and he was the most patient mentor and boss ever. He was a good German Lutheran Christian through and through and lived his faith every day. He was so proud of Hazel and their family. At my job interview one of the first things he said was, "I got six kids you know" and then came that great hardy laugh of joy. The world was a better place with Bob involved. Condolences to the Etzler family. He will be missed.
Ann J. Weber

Ruth Winicker

December 28, 2020

Dear Cindy, Deb, Denise, Christine, Andy, John,

Bob brought smiles to all. I was so sorry to hear of his passing.
The world is a little less joyful now. Knowing our Redeemer lives, may that peace give you comfort during this sad time.

A lifelong Etzler fan,