ELBERTA — Bobby “Bob” Wybert Beugnot, 87, passed away peacefully Oct. 20, 2013 at his home in Elberta, Mich. He was born Jan. 9, 1926 in Grand Rapids, Mich. to Theodore and Margarite Beugnot. At age four Bob’s family moved to Elberta where his father became the local barber. Bob attended school in Elberta until his class was transferred to Frankfort their senior year.
Graduating in 1943, Bob acquired the parental consent mandatory for a 17-year-old to enlist in the Navy. He served as torpedoman’s mate and assistant helmsman aboard the U.S.S. Lyman K. Swenson DD 729. This 2200-ton Sumner-class destroyer endured much action in the Asiatic Pacific fending off some of the first Japanese Kamikaze planes and weathering a severe typhoon in which three other destroyers capsized and were lost. It battled through to the shores of Japan when World War II finally ended and Bob was able to return home. He seldom, and then only reluctantly, would talk of his war experiences. He did admit to getting a tattoo. It was a heart with “Mom & Dad” inscribed.
After returning to Elberta, Bob took a little time off from hunting and fishing to marry the love of his life, Bernice Larson. Their loving friendship and devotion would continue for a wonderful 67 years of mutual caring and support for each other. Together they built a home in Elberta and raised three children. Bob worked full-time as switchman then later as yardmaster for the Ann Arbor Railroad. Always striving to make things better for his family he often held a second part-time job. He was a barber in his father’s shop, farmed strawberries, grew pine trees, sharpened saws, earned a real estate license, among many other entrepreneurial endeavors.
Bob will always be in the hearts of his family and we are grateful to have been a part of his life. He was one who would work hard trying to be the best at what he chose to do, yet he always emphasized a balanced life. Encouraging the importance of health and nutrition, he set goals and found fun ways to exercise. He lived every day to the fullest, while always giving and putting others first. He spent much time helping his children, grandchildren, their friends, and kids from the neighborhood, get involved in sports. Personal projects include building a basketball court and archery range in the back yard, complete with lessons. While serving in various positions involved with village politics, he helped promote the construction of the public basketball court and baseball field. He also coached many summer baseball teams as his children and grandchildren began to play.
Bob’s greatest passion was to simply be in the outdoors trying to outsmart fish, deer, rabbits, and game birds. He loved to be on the lakes and rivers or in the woods. The cabin he helped build in the 50’s known as Aral Hunting Lodge and surrounding area was most dearest to his heart. From the time he was old enough to lift a gun and hold a fishing rod he hunted and fished year-round. Last spring doctors strongly suggested it was time for Hospice. After deciding he would rather continue to enjoy his family and life he tenaciously refused for a few months. With the help of his brother-in-law Tom and son Ted, an oxygen tank and medical equipment were loaded into the boat. Bob was then helped in and was able to fish many more times during his last summer.
He is survived by his spouse Bernice; daughter Rita (William) Drake; daughter Susan (Terry) Szerlong; son Ted Beugnot (Sue Fowler); grandson Jeremy (Lynda) McClellan with great grandchildren Elliana and Gavin; granddaughter Christy Szerlong (Jim Bishop) with great grandson Jason; granddaughter Angi (Michael) Nielsen with great grandchildren Cameron, Abby, and Aidan; granddaughter Stacey (Corey) Bechler with great grandchildren Devin, Versailles, and Ava; grandson Treg (Heidi) Szerlong; brother-in-law Tom Larson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 26 at Trinity Lutheran Church with Pastor Rick Stieve officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Burial in Gilmore Twp. Cemetery. Those desiring may make contributions to the Benzie Home Health Care. Arrangements by Jowett Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, Frankfort & Benzonia.