Robert Lawrence Belongie was born on March 5, 1940 to Mae Garvey and Larry Belongie. Bob grew up in beautiful southeastern Minnesota on the farm in Houston with his brother Ron and sister Mary Alice. Bob attended the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul where he met the love of his life Mary Margaret Guettler.
Bob and Mary married immediately after graduation and came home from their honeymoon to a draft notice. The Army sent them to Virginia where they had their children Mike and Amy. In 1968, they moved back to Minnesota to raise their family.
Bob was quiet but witty, gentle but steadfast, calm but relentlessly curious. He and Mary loved traveling with many different friends and meeting folks from all around the world. Bob made friends easily and enjoyed learning about others. Once, in Italy, he struck up a conversation in a restaurant with two women from Sweden he dubbed ”the Swedish Ladies” and kept up the friendship over years and subsequent trips in which the Swedish Ladies would meet Bob and Mary. He also cultivated a friendship with Natasha from St. Petersburg, Russia, whom he met through his work with the Young Life exchange program. Bob and Mary enjoyed a lifelong friendship with Natasha and explored her country.
Bob was a loving father and grandfather who could be relied on to provide thoughtful advice and wisdom in all circumstances. That advice was sought and valued by those beyond Bob’s immediate family. He was a wonderful ”second Dad” to many of Mike’s friends not only while growing up but well into adulthood when they adopted many of Bob’s simple pleasures—listening to “A Prairie Home Companion” and reading The Wall Street Journal.
Bob loved the client ”family” that he built through hard work and dedication to his career with Northwestern Mutual. His clients knew that he would treat them with respect, unfailing honesty and confidentiality, and compassion.
Bob loved music and was a true audiophile. He would sit and actively listen on his latest and greatest stereo equipment to a variety of music from opera to country. He loved to entertain his grandchildren on sleepovers by sitting with them and watching everything from CATS to live Eagles concerts to the Traveling Wilburys. He and Mary were longtime St. Paul Chamber and Opera season ticket holders and enjoyed introducing friends to music.
Bob was a servant to his community in many ways over many years. Whether it was on the Burnsville Planning Commission or as board member of the Minneapolis United Way or as head of the Rotary Exchange Student Program or as Santa for the neighborhood kids. Bob was a more than willing participant; he led the charge and pointed praise at others.
Bob’s belly laugh and the twinkle in his eye when he threw out one of his famous zingers will be greatly missed by his wife of 57 years Mary, children Mike (Robyn Boche) and Amy Cardello (Frank) and Grandchildren Hannah, Emmett, Maggie, Mia, and Margo. He is also survived and will be missed by his siblings Ron (Sharon Colford) and Mary Alice Haney (Rob), nieces Kathleen, Carrie and Christine, nephew David, many cousins and friends, and Bob and Mary’s beloved Great Dane, T-bell.
Now, Bob is at peace. He left behind the double demons of Parkinson’s and dementia on Christmas Morning. A memorial service will be held this summer in Minnesota. The specific time, date, and place are yet to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Parkinson’s Foundation (Parkinson.org) or to the Denver location of Compassus Hospice at 2420 West 26th Avenue, Suite 200D, Denver, CO 80211.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Lawrence Belongie, please visit our floral store.