Robert William Festerling

robert  festerling

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

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Wendy and the Festerling Family,
    I was so sorry to hear about the passing of your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

    • Thank you Mr. Demko. This is a GREAT time to say to you, that YOU were one of my favorite, most influential teachers. Reading all the remembrances by my dad’s former students has been a real blessing. Thank you for the sentiment, and for being a wonderful teacher.

  2. The Bay City Pigeon Fanciers club wishes to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends
    of Robert (Bob) Festerling. Bob was a long time member of our pigeon club, and was quite active,
    and his contributions helped us out a lot over the years. I have had many conversations
    with Bob, and I have learned a lot from him during that time. I had a lengthy conversation
    with him at the Louisville show; just 9 days before he died. He will always be remembered.
    Barry Talaga, BCPF Club Secretary………..

  3. Dear Todd,
    We are so sorry for your loss and wish that we would have had the opportunity to meet your father. He definitely raised a fine son and it appears that he lived an adventurous and caring life. Please give our regards to your family.

  4. Kelly and Wendy, sending love to you and your dad’s extended group of family and friends. What a life well-lived, full of purpose and passions and enjoyment. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  5. Candle 5I was shocked to learn of Bob’s passing on Monday. My heart goes out to Paula and the rest of the Festering family! I’ll always remember his many stories and anecdotes…he had a million of them! He could carry on a conversation with anyone! Prayers and my deepest condolences!

  6. Mr Festerling was my 6th grade teacher – one of the best teachers I had. He indeed encouraged all his students to pursue interests and always had a project or two in mind. May he rest in peace.

  7. My deepest condolences to Todd, Kelly and the entire family. Mr. Festerling was our track coach at NE. He earned his angel wings managing us boys. I’ll never forget his encouragement and appreciation for hard work. He is missed and not forgotten. God bless everyone.

  8. Mr. Festering was my 7th grade science teacher at Northeast Junior High in Midland. He was also my track coach for my time there. I remember the classroom was always fun with lots of plants and posters. Track practice was fun and I was lucky enough to be on an undefeated team. Mr. Festerling made sure a team photo was hung in the cafeteria to memorialize the team. I am so sorry for your lose. He was a very important teacher and coach to a lot of us in the middle school years when things were changing so fast.

  9. I had Mr. Festerling at Sugnet School in 6th grade and help keep stats for the track team for him at Northeast. He made science interesting, I still remember our evaporation lab and electrical experiment to pop a fuse (aluminum gum wrapper).

  10. I am so very sorry for all the families loss. May God wrap his arms around you during this difficult time. Prayers to all.

  11. Mr Festerling was such an amazing teacher and man! He taught many of my siblings, and I had him for science. I can still picture him laughing (at) with me when he dissected a pig!! He truly made a difference in kids’ lives.

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