ROBERT GATES WILSON August 3, 1921 – June 26, 2014 Bob passed away at age 92 at Porter Hospice. He was born in Kansas City Missouri to Clair Elmer and Neva Gates Wilson. Shortly after he was born, he moved to Ames, Iowa, where he grew up with his three sisters, Betty, Nancy and Judy. He attended Ames High School, where he was a standout basketball player for the "Little Cyclones". Upon graduating from Ames, Bob enrolled at Iowa State University, where he obtained a bachelors degree in engineering. His attendance at Iowa State was accelerated as a result of World War II, and being a member of ROTC, he was inducted on February 12, 1943...
ROBERT GATES WILSON
August 3, 1921 – June 26, 2014
Bob passed away at age 92 at Porter Hospice. He was born in Kansas City Missouri to Clair Elmer and Neva Gates Wilson. Shortly after he was born, he moved to Ames, Iowa, where he grew up with his three sisters, Betty, Nancy and Judy. He attended Ames High School, where he was a standout basketball player for the "Little Cyclones". Upon graduating from Ames, Bob enrolled at Iowa State University, where he obtained a bachelors degree in engineering. His attendance at Iowa State was accelerated as a result of World War II, and being a member of ROTC, he was inducted on February 12, 1943 into the army and sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. While at Fort Sill, he went through the Graduate Officers Candidate Course, and thereafter, accepted an appointment as a 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned to the 4th armored division where he continued his military training in preparation for being sent to Europe. While in training, he developed severe asthma, which ultimately hospitalized him and prevented him from continuing his time in the army. As a result of his medical condition, he was honorably discharged on February 22, 1944. He said on several occasions that, while he was saddened by not be able to go to Europe with his military buddies, the asthma probably saved his life. One of his best friends while in basic training was Gordon Rutherford, who was later killed at Bastogne, Belgium as part of the Battle of the Bulge.
In 1945, Bob moved to Denver and started his career at the Gates Rubber Company as an industrial engineer. He also enrolled in the Westminster College of Law, which is now the University of Denver College of Law. When Bob found out about the death of his good friend, Gordon, he decided to pay his condolence to Gordon's parents. That is when he met the love of his life, Catherine. Catherine was attending Colorado State University at the time and Bob would take the bus every weekend to Fort Collins to see her. Bob graduated from law school and Catherine from CSU and they were married on October 22, 1948. At the Gates Rubber Company, Robert Bonham, who had graduated from law school just prior to Bob, asked Bob to work with him to form the legal department for the company. Bob was influential in building one of the finest in-house legal departments in the west. While working at Gates, Bob became a volunteer with the Gates Credit Union, starting with the supervisory committee in 1956. He eventually was elected to the board of directors in 1960 and served in various capacities, including president, until his retirement from Gates in 1987 after 42 years of distinguished service.
Bob and Catherine lived for most of their married life in southeast Denver, where they raised their four children, Robert, Jr., Greg, Doug and Wendy. All of the children attended schools in the Cherry Creek system and graduated from Cherry Creek High School.
In addition to his volunteer work for Gates Credit Union, Bob was active in the Republican Party, serving many years as a precinct committeeman and delegate to numerous county and state conventions. He was an active member of both University Park United Methodist Church in Denver and Lakeview United Methodist Church in Sun City, Arizona. Most of all Bob enjoyed serving on the Cherry Creek School Board. Bob had a passion for education and spent countless hours helping make Cherry Creek the premier public school system it is today. Bob was first elected to the school board in 1960 and remained on the board until his retirement in 1990. During those 30 years, he served in various positions on the board, including board
president many times. While serving on the Cherry Creek board, Bob was elected to the board of directors for the Colorado Association of School Boards and the National School Boards Association.
After Bob's retirement, he and Catherine spent winters in Sun City, Arizona. He enjoyed playing golf, traveling, attending bible study classes, and being a part of the Sun City community. Catherine passed away in May of 2011 after 63 years of marriage. Bob continued to live a full and active life with family and friends until his death on June 26, 2014. He is survived by his sister, Judy Burkett-Gehr; four children, Robert, Jr. (Karen), Greg (Elisabeth), Doug (Mary Theis) and Wendy (Richard) Gagne; and six grandchildren, Amanda, Alexander (Katie), Gregory, Jr., Bradley, Douglas Wilson and Joshua Gagne.
Memorial contributions may be made to University Park United Methodist Church, 2108 South University Blvd., Denver, CO 80210, or Porter Hospice, 1391 Speer Blvd., Suite 600, Denver, CO 80204.