Robert William Welnhofer
April 27, 1933 – October 11, 2020
Robert William Welnhofer, age 87, of Scottsdale, Arizona passed away on Sunday, October 11, 2020. Robert was born April 27, 1933 to Parents George and Lillian Welnhofer.
Robert (Bob) Welnhofer, a legend in the office products industry in Chicago for over 25 years, first with Boise Cascade Corporation and later with United Stationers, and a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears, died on October 11, 2020 at a hospital near Portland, Oregon of complications from Parkinson’s disease which he battled courageously for more than a decade. He was 87. He was born in 1933 in Chicago, Illinois, attended Steinmetz High School and Wright Junior College before graduating from Northwestern University in 1955. He later received a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1974. He became a CPA and started his career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen & Company, rising to the rank of manager, one level below partner at that time. In 1961 he left Andersen to become the controller of one of his clients, Associated Stationers, which owned the well-known Chicago office products retailer, Horder’s. Shortly after joining Associated Stationers, the company was acquired by Boise Cascade Corporation. Boise used this platform to expand throughout the U.S. to become the largest distributor of office products in the country. Affectionately known as “RW”, he held numerous positions at Boise Cascade, rising to become a Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Boise’s office products division. He left the office products industry in 1977 for a short while to become the Chief Financial Officer of Safety-Kleen Corporation, an Elgin, Illinois based company that provided solvent parts services to industrial and automotive companies which he helped take public in a successful IPO in 1979. In 1981 he returned to the office products industry, joining United Stationers, the largest wholesale distributor of office products in the U.S., as a Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, reporting directly to the founder CEO, where he was responsible for corporate strategy and M&A. He also helped this company launch a successful IPO and become a public company. He worked at United Stationers until he ended his career in corporate management in 1990. Not one to consider retiring, in a switch, in 1991 he began his second career as a retail investment advisor with Morgan Stanley, where he built a long roster of clients, eventually becoming a Vice President before retiring in 2008 at age 75. He married Nancy Zuehlke (Winkates) in 1953 and had one son, William (Bill) Welnhofer. The marriage ended in divorce in 1977. During this period, he enthusiastically coached little league baseball in Arlington Heights, Illinois and was active in St. Mark Lutheran Church, in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. In 1992, he married Karen Millis (Schanck) of Lake Oswego, Oregon who had three children from a previous marriage. They resided in Inverness, Illinois until 2014 and were members of Rolling Green Country Club in Arlington Heights, and the Christ Lutheran Church in Palatine, Illinois. In 2014, they moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where they were active in the Country Club at DC Ranch and the Living Water Lutheran Church – both in Scottsdale. They also maintained another residence in Lake Oswego where he was spending the summer when he contracted pneumonia before being hospitalized for the last time. He had season tickets for the Chicago Bears for more than 40 years beginning in 1964 when hall of famers Gayle Sayers and Dick Butkus were rookies, almost never missing a home game, but baseball and the Chicago Cubs were his real passion, second only to his grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great grandchildren whom he loved to be with. Robert W. Welnhofer Obituary He is survived by his son, Bill, and daughter-in-law, Diane Welnhofer, of Wilmette, Illinois, his grandchildren, Ashley (Welnhofer) Forman of Dallas, Texas, Katherine (Welnhofer) Psihoules of Brooklyn, New York, and Joseph Welnhofer of Chicago, Illinois and great grandchildren, Madison Forman and Beckley Forman, as well as by his wife, Karen Welnhofer, step children Nancy MacHaffie, Jill McNatt and Jeffrey Millis – all of Tigard, Oregon, and step grandchildren, Drew and Owen MacHaffie, Bryce and Abigail McNatt and Michael and Christopher Millis, and by his brother and sister-in-law, Walter and Alicia Welnhofer, and his nephew, Kevin Welnhofer, all of Elmwood Park, Illinois. Donations may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation or to Christ Lutheran Church, Palatine, Illinois. Memorial services will be held on a future date.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charitable foundation such at Michael J. Fox Foundation, https://www.michaeljfox.org/donate, under Bob's name.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.youngsfuneralhome.org for the Welnhofer family.
Memorial Services to be held at a later date
Robert William Welnhofer
October 23, 2020
Myself (Ashley), my sister (Katie), and my brother (Joe) captured 85 Reasons We Love Bop Bop on his 85th birthday. There are many many more reasons we love him and will miss him. We will always love you Bop Bop.
17 reasons are below, the full set is in the attached image:
1. Your endless love for your family. You prioritize those who matter most to you.
2. Having the nickname “Bop Bop with the pool”.
3. You are extremely caring. From caring for Great Grandma Lillian, to your brother and his family, to our family, and to your immediate and extended family.
4. You are also thoughtful. You are always thinking of us, and it does not go unnoticed.
5. Your talent – home improvement, golf, your career, the list goes on. So talented indeed!
6. You’re someone we all look up to, and aspire to be more like. You set such a good example.
7. You’re reliable. You can always be counted on.
8. Your insight on the world and life in general.
9. How much you have taught all of us.
10. How you taught us family comes first. You always made a point to be at each of our birthday parties, sports events, and now connect with your family regularly over the phone even from afar.
11. The way you value education. You prioritized it in your own life, and have helped us to achieve impressive degrees as well.
12. Your generosity and selflessness. You always think about how you can help others.
13. The swimming pool at your Palatine home. We always looked forward to spending a weekend day playing with you there!
14. The pretzels and Pepsi you always had at your Palatine home. Snacks at Bop Bop’s!
15. Shopping for birthday presents and going to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.
16. Laying by the pool in Arizona too - so nice to spend time with you there!
17. Your advice and guidance throughout our lives. From education, to choosing our career paths, to money management to housing advice - your suggestions are always helpful and welcomed!
October 22, 2020
I worked with Bob as his caregiver for the last year, and Bob and Karen treated me as family. I’ll always be extremely grateful for that.
It wasn’t easy for Bob to endure a daily life completely foreign to what he was use to. His Parkinson’s was a burden, but I never heard him complain that such a life change was unfair to him. He was a man of faith.
Besides his love of his faith he was an exceptional husband, father and grandfather. He had an ability to resolve concerns relating to family or business matters. He was generous, kind and he could be counted on to assist people or organizations in their time of need.
It is said that you should live your life so that you leave a legacy that your family and friends can always reflect on. A legacy that shows you lived as a caring, compassionate person. Bob has left us with a legacy that shows us those qualities applied to his life, plus many more.
I’m grateful that even though it was just a small period of time in my life that I knew Bob. I know Karen and family will miss him immensely. Good bless all of you.
October 19, 2020
Bob was a mentor, a business partner, and a friend. I had the honor of working with Bob for 10 years at Morgan Stanley as his partner, and we remained close for the last 10 years as well. I am grateful that I was able to spend quality time with Bob & Karen in both Portland and Scottsdale over the past year.
Bob was a man who dedicated his life and his time to helping others. Although Bob had a successful book of business at Morgan Stanley, he would have done the financial planning and investment management work for free -- he genuinely loved to roll up his sleeves and get into the detailed analysis required to help our clients meet their financial goals.
I will miss Bob's laugh. I will miss our spirited debates. I will miss seeing him glow when he spoke fondly of his beloved family (especially those grandchildren). I will miss hearing him recite his favorite quotes ("You never see the jockey finish in front of the horse"). I will miss the pride I felt every time Bob gave me a compliment at work for a job well done. Most importantly....I will miss my friend.
You will never be forgotten, Bob. Thank you for every thing you did to make the lives of the people around you better. Rest in Peace.
October 18, 2020
4466 Shady Court
Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008
October 18, 2020
To Robert William Welnhofer’s family and friends.
Bob was a brilliant man who not only helped his family and extended family, but other individuals, churches, businesses, and charities. My father, Vincent Belgarbo, said, Bob turned Horder’s, which became part of Boise Cascade, into a successful business and motivated each employee to do their very best. Vincent additionally said that, “Bob was the best man he had ever worked for.” Robert put his touch on Safety Kleen and other businesses that greatly benefitted from his knowledge and expertise.
When my husband died, Bob financially guided me on how to generate and wisely use money. He did this and similar things for countless other friends and their families. Even though Bob moved to Arizona and Portland Oregon, he never forgot his church in Palatine and continued to support Christ Lutheran’s outreach into the community. When my father retired from Boise Cascade, as a present he gave my father and mother a cruise. On that cruise, my parents, who were outstanding ballroom dancers, were discovered by the cruise line. They ended up living on ships for seven years entertaining the clients and living the royal life on the top deck of their ships.
The list of charitable acts of Robert Welnhofer goes on and on. He nurtured people around him, so those individuals could become their personal best. I feel honored and blessed that I knew Robert Welnhofer as a model and mentor.
With great respect,
October 17, 2020
Bob was one of a kind in the finest sense. His passing leaves a big hole for Judy and me.
We are sure Bob will be in that number when the Saints come Marching in.