Robert William Festerling
July 3, 1940 ~ November 6, 2023
Robert William Festerling, 83, of Hemlock, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, November 6, 2023. Bob was born on July 3, 1940, in Bay City, to the late Lester and Esther (Frank) Festerling. The oldest of six children, he loved recounting stories about his brothers and sisters, especially misadventures with his brother, Howard.
Bob graduated from T.L. Handy High School in Bay City and then pursued higher education at Central Michigan University, where he earned a Master’s degree. While at CMU he was a competitive collegiate track athlete.
Bob had a passion for teaching and an unwavering commitment to public education during his long career at Midland Public Schools. His classroom was a greenhouse, zoo, and a place where all students were encouraged to be curious. After school he coached track, gymnastics, and basketball and left an indelible mark on countless students. He never missed a performance or sporting event of any of his children, and was always one of the loudest fans on the sideline.
After retiring, Bob served as a substitute teacher in the Hemlock Schools. He and Paula loved seeing new places and meeting new people, and traveled extensively in the US and abroad. Through his outgoing personality he created lifelong friendships everywhere he went.
Bob was a music lover, and especially enjoyed attending Jimmy Buffet concerts. He loved talking to vendors at antique malls, fairs, flea markets and classic car shows. Bob loved breakfast and could always find a great diner for first and second breakfast (which always included potatoes.)
Bob loved nature and cared for all animals, but had a special passion for birds, especially pigeons. He was an award winning member of the Bay City Pigeon Fanciers and the National Pigeon Association. Adept at spotting turtles on the side of the road, he rescued many animals both domestic and wild. He raised chickens, and enjoyed distributing eggs to friends, neighbors and to the Hidden Harvest Food Pantry.
Bob will forever be remembered and cherished by Paula Geller; as a loving father to Dr. Todd Festerling, Kelly (Jonathan) Stone, and Wendy Festerling; grandpa of Shae Janiga, Teo Janiga, and Pilar Ramirez; brother of Lois (Tom) Tackebury, Linda (Jim) Philip, Roger (Mimi) Festerling, John Festerling, his sister-in-law Judi Festerling and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his brother, Howard Festerling and sister-in-law, Julie Festerling.
Private arrangements have been entrusted to Skorupski Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 1550 Midland Rd., between State & Gratiot. Contributions may be directed to the Humane Society of Bay County or the Hidden Harvest Food Pantry. Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family online at www.skorupskis.com.