OBITUARY

Robert L. Cantrell

February 14, 1940March 5, 2021
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Robert Louis Cantrell, 81, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 5, 2021, in Mason, Michigan. He was born in Nashville, TN on Valentine’s Day in 1940. Robert graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Financial Administration. A proud Spartan, Bob served as president of the Class of 1962 and president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and was active with both the university and the fraternity his entire adult life. He was a member of MSU’s Excalibur, an honorary men’s organization made up of student campus leaders. Robert was a member of MSU football team’s Downtown Coaches Club and served as the club’s president in 2008. He was also a member of the MSU basketball team’s Rebounders Club.

After completing ROTC as a Distinguished Military Graduate at MSU, Bob served two years in the military as a Lieutenant. He then embarked on a forty-year career with IBM and Siemens. In retirement, Bob moved on to new adventures. Frequently asking the question “Why not?” he served as Executive Producer on the movie Freaky Deaky, based on the book by Elmor Leonard. He also appeared as an extra in the movie Gods and Generals, in deference to his family’s American Civil War heritage, and became a documentarian for MSU, recording many historical interviews with coaches, team members, and other people associated with the famous 1966 MSU and Notre Dame Game of the Century.

Bob was a Ford 1929 Model A aficionado and loved to drive his two Model As, frequently surprising his family with the sound of his antique car horn. One of the highlights was driving MSU Head Basketball Coach Tom Izzo in his convertible roadster during a Homecoming Parade. Bob was also known for wearing clothing with the Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) logo, which he incorporated into a unique clothing line.

Above all, Bob loved his family. He cherished his summers at his cottage in Bear Lake and ended every day with a salute to the setting sun. He enjoyed history, especially the American Civil War, and celebrated his American Revolutionary War ancestry and his Scottish ancestry. His favorite Broadway shows were Camelot, Pippin and Man of La Mancha, and he frequently quoted, in spirit, his favorite movie, Excalibur, saying, “Hope is all I got.” Bob was preceded in death by his parents Robert Cantrell and Eva Frigo. Robert will be lovingly remembered by his long-time and devoted companion Nancy Wilson of Mason, MI and his children Catherine Cantrell Dionne of Wilton, CT; Robert Cantrell of Herndon, VA; Tom Cantrell of DeWitt, MI; Dan (Jenn) Cantrell of Clarkston, MI and Jessie (Mike O’Gorman) Cantrell of Los Angeles, CA. and his grandchildren Emma, Sophie, Maddie and Sarah; his brother Terry (Lynn) Cantrell of Hollywood Fl. and his sister Debbie (Dave) Dzierzanowski of Green Bay, WI and his nephew Zach and niece Amber.

Private Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 1 p.m. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery in Lansing.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Robert Cantrell Endowed Memorial Scholarship. Checks can be made out to Michigan State University with ‘Cantrell Memorial Scholarship’ or the code AE0290 in the memo line, 535 Chestnut Rd. Room 300, East Lansing, MI 48824 or to the Peoples Church of East Lansing where Bob served as Chair of the Finance Ministry and Chair of the Council of Elders.

The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home, Mason Chapel. To leave an on-line condolence please visit www.grbdmason.com.

Recorded video of service: https://youtu.be/wHAydHJF30E

To view the bulletin for the service: https://www.thepeopleschurch.com/images/pdfs/bulletins/2021/Bob-Cantrell-Funeral-Bulletin_03112021.pdf

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Robert Cantrell
  • Catherine Cantrell Dionne
  • Tom Cantrell
  • Dan Cantrell
  • Jessie Cantrell
  • Dominic Carbone

Services

  • Private Funeral Service

    Thursday, March 11, 2021

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

Robert L. Cantrell

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Jim and Sally McCoy

March 11, 2021

Nancy,
We are the couple who frequently sat across the aisle to your left in the balcony at church. So sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was a good man. Watched the lovely service on line. Thinking of you at this difficult time.
Jim and Sally McCoy

Richard Lurie

March 11, 2021

To the Cantrell Family,
I was very saddened to hear of Bob's passing. I have many wonderful memories of our interactions in New Canaan, CT. He was a wonderful, interesting, thoughtful, caring person and he will be missed.

My sincerely condolences,

Richard Lurie

John Shinsky

March 10, 2021

I send my deepest sympathies to Bob Cantrell's family. I knew Bob for many years as we participated in many MSU events. He was a great supporter of the Shinsky Orphanage in Matamoros Mexico and was always there for us. We have served approximately 200 children whose lives have been changed for the better, because of kind and supportive people like Bob Cantrell. He was a great Spartan a nd a special man with an exceptional heart for serving others. My life has truly been blessed by knowing Bob Cantrell. He will truly be missed, but his kindness will be with us forever. With deep sympathy John & Cindy Shinsky

John Greenslit

March 10, 2021

Cantrell Family and Friends,
Our lives were blessed by Bob's life and actions. As a colleague on the Downtown Coaches Club Board, he led the organization with dignity, civility, patience, calmness and loyalty. His term as President in 2008 was acknowledgement of his leadership ability. The Club went through some difficult years, but he held it together to survive and thrive. MSU was always his priority, as each effort reflected in a positive way on the greatness of the institution, its staff, programs and image. His life lesson should be one we master and emulate, as he truly made a difference. Your should be extremely proud.
John Greenslit

Jim Rauschert

March 9, 2021

I want to offer my deepest sympathy to the family and especially to Tom, who is my only connection to the Cantrell family.
Tom is a very kind, thoughtful, and, intelligent man who cared so much about his father.
Times like this are difficult and words prove inadequate to convey our compassion for the bereaved.
Tom, you loved your dad and it showed in your actions and your behavior. May good memories give you comfort and solace. Your father lives in your heart and mind, and I am certain he is very proud of you.

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