Robert William Store, 89, died peacefully on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 at Ontonagon Aspirus Long Term care. He had been a resident of Long Term since April of 2019 and had recently struggled with Covid-19.
Robert was born on June 10th, 1931 at the family farm in Mass City, MI. He was the son of Andrew and Esther Store.
Robert attended the Mass City schools. He met his future wife, “his girl” Donna Ross, while in high school. They dated four years before marrying and remained married for 68 1/2 years until Donna’s death in November of 2020. They resided on the Store family farm throughout their married life, until they moved together to Aspirus Long Term Care in Ontonagon. They shared 9 children; 6 of whom survive them. Jimmy (Tracy) Store, Ontonagon, MI; Sherry (Bill) LaMere, Bay City, MI; Dean Store, Bay City, MI; Candy Store, Bay City, MI; Tammy (Gary) Pearcy, Loveland, CO and Nickolas (Coleen) Store; Negaunee, MI and a daughter-in-law Terrie Fillio Store, Howell, MI. Surviving grandchildren: Christy (Neal) Smith, Mandy (fiancee Bill) Christian, John Paul (Kate) Ruterbusch, Shawn (Ann) LaMere, Shannon (Matt) Childs, Jason (Kristen) Store, Jeremy (partner Danielle) Store, Amber (Chad) Perry, Jessica (Dustin) Store-Whipkey, Brandy (Nic) Store-Bonander, Maria (John) Nerat, Lucas (Nicole) Domitrovich, Olivia (Chris) Sager, Kyle Pearcy, Katie (Nathan) Store-Flach and Brent Store. The family continued to grow with great grandchildren: Sydnie and Tyson Smith, Alexa and Logan Ruterbusch, Olivia Harden, Peyton and Audrey LaMere, Greyson and Rowan Childs, Lilly Store, Layla and Todd Store, Karmell Young, Brayden and Stella Perry, Cheyanne, Jackson and Colton Bonander, Connar and Harlie Whipkey, Wyatt and Harper Domitrovich, Carter Sager and Lennox and Claire Flach. Robert formed deep friendships with David Hermanson and his daughters Abbie and Melanie and Mike and Ann Pihlaja, all of Mass City. He and Donna cared for them as they did for their own children and spent many years enjoying time with them all.
Although he had a house full of his own children, Robert mentored and taught many other children in the East Branch/Mass City area. He was the most dedicated husband and father, always providing for his family through their farm and his work outside of home. As a young boy Robert spent time with his father at many area Finnish logging camps, he enjoyed sharing stories about his experiences at the logging camps where the primary language was Finnish. He spoke only the Finnish language until he began school.
Robert worked in the logging industry in the early years, he also worked at the White Pine Copper Mine and at Turpeinen Brothers Construction. Early in his work career Robert became a member of Operating Engineers Local 324 and remained a union member for 62 years; working as a heavy equipment operator. Anyone who worked on a job with Robert knew they had to do their best work. He was a great teacher to others while at the same time expecting them to work hard and do things “the right way”. He taught his family and others the value of honest work, taking pride in whatever they were doing while encouraging them, with patience and wisdom, to learn new skills. He always had time to mentor others whether it was related to farming, welding, repairing machinery or many of the other skills he had mastered. He was a man of honor. Robert was the master of “one-liners”; (a skill his youngest son, Nick, has also mastered). He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a true Finlander in that he didn’t need to use a lot of words to get his point across. He was a gentle heart with his family and friends, all children and a great animal lover; traits that have been passed to his children.
Robert was preceded in death by his wife, Donna, on November 18, 2020. They were the best example to everyone who knew them of how a dedicated, loving marriage should be. He was also predeceased by three sons: David Robert Store, Jay Steven Store and Todd Ross Store, his mother and father (Esther and Andrew Store), stepfather Waino Kangas, sisters and their husbands: Winifred (Virgil) Weisinger, Nancy (Don) Pattison and Ruthie (Howard) Jefferson and an infant brother, Dale Store as well as multiple brother/sisters-in-law and stepsisters on the Ross and Weisinger side of the family.
He is survived by sister-in-law Lillian (John) Savela, brother-in-law Art (Karen) Ross; Larry, aka Uncle Buzz (Van) Ross and sister-in-law Marilyn Ross as well as many nieces and nephews from the Store, Ross and Weisinger families.
Our family cannot express enough the deep gratitude for all Ontonagon Aspirus Long Term Care staff. Our parents were so loved and gently cared for in your facility. When they couldn’t be safe at home any longer, they were in the best place they could be, taken care of by staff that cared for them like family. Additionally, the support you provided to our family during the time our parents were in your care will always be remembered. Every one of you are appreciated more than you know.
A graveside service and burial will be held for both Robert and Donna on June 13, 2021, Sunday at 3pm at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Greenland.
The Store family appreciates the professionalism of the Cane Funeral Home in Ontonagon with assisting and finalizing these arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert William Store, please visit our floral store.