Robert Bears: traveler, life-long learner
June 25, 2020
Robert Edward Bears, 67, died June 11 at his home in West Richland, Washington. Bob was born Aug. 26, 1952 in Council, Idaho to Robert J. and Sally Jo (Rumiser) Bears. The family made their home at the logging camp in Xenia Creek outside McCall, Idaho, later moving to town so Bob could attend school.
Bob graduated from McCall Donnelly in 1970. During his senior year he joined the U.S. Navy being stationed in Tacoma, Washington where he proudly served as a boiler technician on destroyers, wife Mary Anne Berg-Brunswick said.
He married Peggy Hendrickson and they started a family which included sons James Edward, Johnathon Joseph and Jacob Nathaniel.
In 1980 his younger brother Tom drowned while commercial fishing for halibut when the boat sank. After making a trip to Alaska to be with his mother, the decision was made to move to Haines. Bob and Peggy divorced and a few years later he met and married Berg-Brunswick in 1982, adding her and her two children Jennifer Lynn Brunswick and Scott Alan Brunswick to form a new family.
“Bob was extremely proud of his children and the lives they had created for themselves,” Berg-Brunswick said.
Bob was employed by the City of Haines in a variety of roles with his final seven years as manager of the water and wastewater plants. In 1987 he was hired as the supervisor for the wastewater department in Kenai.
Due to an injury in the military he was forced to retire at age 42 in 1994 and immediately went to college in Butte, Montana where he graduated from Montana Tech with a degree in environmental engineering. His health had declined during those years and he retired fully in 1999.
Bob and Mary have spent the remaining years traveling and enjoying their children and grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by both parents and brother Tom.
Robert is survived by his wife Mary Bears, his children James and Jennifer Bears, John Bears, Jacob and Teresa Bears, and Scott and Dana Brunswick; his grandchildren Bridget, Coral, Heidi, Jennifer, Jacob, Scout, Wyatt and Sawyer; his sister Betty Bears and her children, Cathy and Tom and granddaughter Shelby. Also mourning his passing are brothers and sisters in law, and many family and friends.