NEWBERRY — Robert James “RJ” Modroo, 90, of Newberry, passed away peacefully on his own terms with Mary and Ken at his bedside after a brief but difficult time with a medical issue. All his children had a bedside prayer and remembrance of him later that evening.
RJ was born on Modroo Farm in Russell Township, Ohio. He was the third child of Charles and Mamie Modroo. Two older brothers, Elmer and Harry, are deceased and Robert was embraced as the Modroo family patriarch.
He is survived by his two sons, Allen (Bonnie), of Suttons Bay, and Elton (Cathy), of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and his daughter, Mary (Ken), of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Also surviving are six loving grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and a set of twins on the way. Two other beloved grandchildren are deceased.
During World War II he saw action in the South Pacific as a U.S. Army scout, where his duties frequently required him to be behind enemy lines.
After the war he moved to Michigan, where he met and married Margaret Conant, of Elk Rapids. He worked as a gunsmith and gun barrel maker. The couple later moved to the Upper Peninsula, where he worked with the Michigan Department of Conservation as a fire tower officer at “Buck Hill” on the Adams Trail. This was his “Alaska” frontier and where twins, Allen and Elton, were born - no running water, electricity or phone - only themselves. He continued to work for the Department of Natural Resources as the Eastern U.P. District Manager of the Waters Way Division until his retirement. During his long tenure with DNR he instilled his love for and protection of the environment on all of his family, a legacy which now spans multi generations.
Though Margaret’s passing in 2012 was a deep loss, he stayed active hunting, gardening, playing cards and “presiding” at family gatherings.