Robert Joseph Tylke
(1923 - 2014)

Robert Joseph Tylke
Nickname: Bob

Ohio, United States of America
October 23, 1923

Florida, United States of America
March 25, 2014

Music, Travel, Hunting
Robert Joseph Tylke

Robert Joseph Tylke, known to all as Bob, was born on October 23, 1923, to Andy and Anna Tylke in New Port, Ohio. One of fourteen children, he grew up on the family farm in Warren Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.

Bob graduated from Magnolia High School in 1941 and joined the United States Marine Corps. After World War II, he earned a degree in Journalism from the Ohio State University. Later, he earned a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, going to night school while driving a bus during the day.

A music lover all of his life, Bob played the concertina, the piano accordion, and a large collection of harmonicas, could whistle any tune, and once played in the Lawrence Welk band. He moved from music to oil rigs to engineering, which took him around the world many, many times over. Larger than life, Bob hunted big game on every continent, kept a leopard named Tina as a pet, flew cargo into Asia for J. Paul Getty before Standard Oil was established, and once called a maharaja of India “friend.”

Bob met Yvonne Tessier, his wife of 55 years, in San Francisco in November 1958. They married in March of 1959 and promptly left for the Saudi-Kuwait Neutral Zone near Al-Wafra, the first of many remote outposts they called home. After stopping in Argentina, Venezuela, the Canary Islands, and Singapore, Bob moved his family back to Claremont, California, which he used as a home base for his travels abroad until 1974, when the family relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa. After two tours of duty in Johnanesburg and another in Caracas, Venezuela, Bob retired from his engineering career in 1988 and lived with Yvonne in Lakeland, Florida, until his death on March 25, 2014.

Bob was well known for saying exactly what he thought, and damn the consequences. He was a natural storyteller, played golf like a professional, walked more than a mile every day until just before his death, loved Westerns—especially anything featuring John Wayne—and never backed down from a fight.

Bob is survived by his wife, Yvonne, his brother Doc and sister Jeannie, his children Judith Lynn Tylke, John Edward Andrew Tylke, and Roberta Josephina Bodnar, his son-in-law Robert Edward Bodnar, Jr., daughter-in-law Rose Dawn Tylke, his grandchildren, Alexander Ryan Tylke, Kristina Yvonne Tylke, John Dalton Bodnar, Michael Donovan Bodnar, and Daniel Morgan Bodnar, his former son-in-law Darryl Brooks, and his faithful dog Pj.

Everyone who met Bob has a Bob Tylke story. We would love to read yours.

Some of our favorite Bob Tylke-isms. Post your own on the guest book and I'll copy them here:

"Bob Tylke. Damn glad to meet you."

"How the hell are you?"

At every family dinner, "I wonder what the poor people are doing today?"

"It's raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock from a 40ft cliff!"

"God dammit Yvonne!"

"Hell's bells!"

"Drink it, or wear it."

"You better believe it!" (No one really seemed to know what happened it you didn't believe "it"; we just knew you'd better.)

"I'm hungrier than a bitch wolf immediately after whelping!"

"You don't know your ass from a bucket full of hot rocks!"

"Your ass sucks blue smoke!"

In answer to, "Are you alright?" he always said,
"No! I'm half left."

"Leave the front door open. My ass will be following me through about a half an hour from now."

"You know what I think? I think bullshit's nothing but chewed-up grass."

I hope my repetition of Dad's casual profanity does not offend you. It was a part of who he was. We will carry him in our hearts forever.

Cheers, Dad!
Roberta Josephina (Tylke) Bodnar

P.S.-an observation from the peanut gallery:

It takes courage to live life head-on like Dad did; to step outside your safe zone and do something others would not dare until you led the way; to do without asking whether you can; and to reach for more in life than you were born with or given by the ones who came before you. And those of us who never had to leave the dinner table hungry, who had shoes to wear in the winter and time to go fishing in the summer, who had the luxury of living the life he provided, may never truly understand how much courage it took for him to make a better life for himself, his wife, his children, and his grandchildren.

And for that next generation: R.J. Tylke’s life is worth remembering, yes; but do more than remember. Learn. Dream BIG, always. And then don’t wait for it to come to you. Go and get it. He did.

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

Hover your mouse over the wall images to see each guest book entry.

Guest Book (54 entries)
The Color Blue
​With the memory of three elephants and a firm command of the English language, Dad would have made a terrific lawyer if his sense of adventure hadn’t taken him elsewhere. In the years before smart phones and the Internet, his talent for easily recalling literally anything he read gave him a tremendous advantage in global project management. Eloquent, informed, and larger than life, he could out-argue anyone on a construction site, which was a useful skill in an environment where delays cost large dollars and everybody had an opinion.
​Dad was not, however, handy around the house. And he had no patience for other domestic tasks, like managing a checkbook or getting the best deal on a car.
​So, it was with some misgivings that Mom let him out on his own to buy a new car when the ancient yellow station wagon she drove finally went to clunker heaven. She must have been depressed over losing the yellow wagon, because she told him that she didn’t care what he bought, as long as it was big and it wasn’t blue. Blue was Dad’s favorite color, and every car we’d had except for the wagon--which he never drove--had been blue.
​Dad came back with a brand-new, shiny four-door Ford Galaxie 500, big enough to haul us and all our gear to swim meets all over the state. He parked it in the driveway, came inside to get us and show it off, and the first thing Mom said was, “Bob, I told you I didn’t want another blue car.” Without missing a beat, Dad just looked at her and said “It’s aqua!”

​We love you, Dad, and miss you lots.
Roberta Bodnar (Daughter)
March 25th, 2019
On this anniversary of Bob’s passing, and with a nod to the Easter season, a word of advice from R.J. about how to deal with that human desire to be a perfectionist: “There was only ever one perfect person - and they crucified him for it!”

Miss you, Daddy. You’re always in my heart. Rob
Rob Bodnar (Son-in-law)
March 24th, 2019
Happy Fathers Day Daddy,
I read about your jourouny on the train in India in the Punjab, what an adventure and how typically you! I could feel you with me laughing your ass off. What a life you had! You lived life the way so many only hope to do, meeting it head on and living large - what more could anyone ask for then to have a life lived to it's fullest and to have lived it Your way.
I love you & miss you everyday,
Judith Tylke (Daughter)
June 18th, 2017
Hooray, hooray! The first of May! (You know the rest)

Thinking of you, Daddy!

Rob Bodnar (Son-in-law)
May 1st, 2017
Miss you every day pops. Not a day goes by where I could use some advice of yours. Your legacy will always live on. Love you.
Michael Bodnar (Grandson)
April 24th, 2017
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"Yesterday you were with us, Today you are gone, And tomorrow we will be together again. I see you standing by the barbecue and loudly proclaiming, "you'll eat it or you'll wear it," Odd, no one ever took the second option... I love you Dad."
Judith Tylke
March 25th, 2015
"What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, Which having been must ever be. Wm. Wordsworth"
JaneAnn McMullin
March 26th, 2014


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