Robert C. "Bob" Childers died Sunday evening, a month before his 90th birthday, in the home where he had lived since 1949. He worked hard all his life and he tried to be a good person, succeeding more often than most of us.
His grandsons considered him their best friend.
Bob retired after 42 years, 3 months, 12 days and 4 hours at Whirlpool, where he was a tool and die maker in the model shop. He was cared for by his daughter Bobbye Childers and her son and daughter-in-law, Christopher and Amanda Shell.
His wife, Mary Virginia, died in 1991 in an auto accident. The two were simply good people. They helped raise their grandchildren, and they took in many friends and relatives. Every Thanksgiving, Bob and Mary Virginia hosted 40 or more people, not just relatives but any friend or co-worker who didn't have a family to go to.
For 35 years, Bob was the volunteer area coordinator for the Knights Templar Eye Foundation and helped many low-income people obtain medical care to prevent blindness. He was an active member of Lessing Masonic Lodge for more than 50 years and was also active in the Bethlehem #2 White Shrine and Robert Morris #87 Order of Eastern Star.
At age 16 he lied about his age and enlisted in the Army, serving four years in World War II, most of it as a tank commander in the Pacific Theater.
His son, Arthur Boss Childers, died of a heart attack six years ago. He was also preceded in death by his sister Jean and his brothers Joe, Doug and Charles, and granddaughter Hannah.
Surviving in addition to Bobbye are his daughter Roberta Heiman and Roberta's husband, Paul McAuliffe; daughter-in-law Sonja Childers; grandchildren Bryan Childers, Scott, Kathryn and Doug (Amy) Heiman, Bryan (Jessica) Shell and Christopher (Amanda) Shell, all of Evansville; great-grandchildren Justin Miller, Dylan, Blake and Paige Heiman, Abby Childers, Seth, Alexia and Khloe Shell, and Bradyn and Brendyn Shell. Also brother, Tom Childers, in Peebles, Ohio; sisters, Lena Tucker in Irvin, Ky., and Clara Childers in Dayton, Ohio; sister-in-law, Georgia Duggins of Atlanta, Ga., and Billy McCoy, who Bob and Mary Virginia helped raise.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, January 31, 2013, at Alexander North Chapel, with burial in Locust Hill Cemetery. Friends may visit Wednesday, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorial donations may be made to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation in care of Lessing Lodge.