HURLEY, Wis. - Robert J. "Bob" Paquin, 84, of Ironwood Township, Mich., prominent retired Ironwood businessman and civic leader, died peacefully Saturday, June 14, 2014, at Villa Maria Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hurley, following a courageous, 10-year battle with kidney disease.
Bob was born Feb. 12, 1930, in Quinnesec, Mich., son of the late Emil and Marie Bouchard, and graduated from St. Ambrose High School in Ironwood in 1948. His professional career included 16 years working for the Oliver Iron Mining Company and Pickands Mather Company. After that time, he became a partner with Tony Krizmanich and Arnold Mattson in Chief Oil Company. Later, Bob and his wife, the former Joy Sjowall, of Ironwood, whom he married on Dec. 28, 1957, purchased Chief Oil outright. He and Joy continued to operate the business until his retirement in 2008.
During a span of 50 years, Bob had been involved in numerous civic, service and professional activities. From 1948 to 1964, he was a member of the National Guard and later served as chair of the Upper Peninsula Selective Service Board. Bob was a member of Our Lady of Peace Church and Knights of Columbus Council No. 1396; past chair of the Gogebic Country Club; and served as Exalted Ruler of the Ironwood Elks Club for several years. He was also a member and past president of the Ironwood-Hurley Rotary Club where he received Rotary's highest honor, the Paul Harris Fellowship award.
In addition, Bob was also very instrumental in the city of Ironwood's "Hiawatha" project, installing the statue that is now known as the "World's Tallest Indian." Bob served on numerous boards, holding officer positions on many, including, the Upper Peninsula Tourism and Recreations Association; the Big Snow Country Corporation; Gogebic-Ontonagon Community Action Agency; Gogebic County Economic Development Corporation; Ironwood Industrial Corporation; Ironwood Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Downtown Ironwood Development Authority.
From 1977 to 1995, Bob served on the First of America local bank board and on the U.P. Bank Board of Marquette, Mich. He was also an original organizer and board member of the Gogebic Range Bank and retired from the West End Financial Corporation Board in 2008. In 1984, the same year Bob was honored as Ironwood's Citizen of the Year, he joined the Gogebic Community College Foundation Board of Directors. Throughout his tenure, Bob served on many committees, including chairing the Recognition Banquet committee the first three years that it was held. In 2006, Bob was conferred Director Emeritus status for his many years of outstanding service to the College and Foundation, and was honored as Outstanding Foundation Board Member in 2007.
Surviving are his wife, Joy, of 56 years; son, Christopher (Violet), and daughter, Robin (Joe) Kafczynski, both of Ironwood Township; four grandchildren, Stacey Paquin, Surprise, Ariz., Tracey (Shane) Wiercinski, Wausau, Cassie Kafczynski, Green Bay, and Joey Kafczynski, Ironwood Township; great-grandson, Jaxon Wiercinski; sister-in-law, Vicki (Dave) Ylkanen, Lake Gogebic and Fountain Hills, Ariz.; brother-in-law, Rock (Jeri) Sjowall, Tracy, Calif.; niece, Shelby Sjowall, Tracy; nephews, Joshua Sjowall, Tracy, Eric (Shannon) Ylkanen, North Branch, Minn., and Scott (Nikki) Ylkanen, Arden Hills, Minn.; and great-nephews and great-niece, Samuel Ylkanen, North Branch, and Braylon and Skylar Ylkanen, Arden Hills.
Per Bob's wishes, cremation has taken place.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, July 11, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation in the St. Joseph Family Room at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Peace Church in Ironwood, with the Rev. Robb Jurkovich, celebrant.
Luncheon will follow at the Elk & Hound on Country Club Road in Ironwood.
Rite of Committal and private interment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Ironwood, at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Our Lady of Peace Adopt-A-Student Program, 108 S. Marquette St., Ironwood MI 49938, or the Gogebic Community College Foundation, E4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood MI 49938.
To view Bob's obituary online, sign his guestbook or offer condolences, please visit mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ironwood.