Robert “Rob” Oehlkers peacefully ended his earthly journey, the evening of Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, surrounded by his loved ones at Agrace HospiceCare.
Robert was born in New Jersey and lived his childhood in Secaucus. He was the middle son of John and Elsie (Grip) Oehlkers of Secaucus, N.J. He married Meredith Engel on June 23, 1963, in Merrill, Wis. Robert and Meredith were the parents of Dennis (Bobbi) Oehlkers and Jacquelyn Shelton. Subsequently with joy, they were grandparents to Rachel Hanson, Cassandra (Justin Cass) and Daniel Mattie, and great-grandparents to Taylor and Carson Williamson, Isabel Hanson, Jaydin, Jordin and Alanna Cass. Robert is also survived by two brothers, William (Lois) Oehlkers of Rhode Island and Kenneth (Christina) Oehlkers of New York City; and brother-in-law, Peter (Carol) Engel. He was preceded in death by his parents; and father-in-law, Harold Engel and mother-in-law, Hildegarde (Asmus) Engel of Merrill.
Robert graduated from William Dickinson High School in Jersey City, N.J., at age 15, joined the U.S. Air Force at 17 was trained as a technician and spent the majority of his time with the
Armament & Electronics Maintenance Squadron of the Strategic Air Command in California. In 1963, he graduated from RCA Electronic School in New York City and joined RCA in Hightstown, N.J., working on building and testing parts of Tiros and Nimbus Space Satellites.
In 1967, he worked for the Space Science and Engineering Center of the UW-Madison, which is the research and archival center for data obtained from satellites related to meteorology. The systems developed there revolutionized the way we receive weather reports today. He was part of a team that built systems and trained maintenance staff at Kennedy and Johnson space centers and various universities and organizations needing meteorology information in the United States, Spain and Australia. He flew weather balloons in New Zealand and Ascension Islands.
Over a span of 10 years, he was a distance education student at UW-Platteville and obtained a bachelor of science degree in business administration. Then he received a master of science degree in continuing and vocation education in 1998 at UW-Madison while he continued to work at the Space Science and Engineering Center. He retired in 2002.
Robert was an avid baseball fan and traveled the United States and Canada over a period of five years with grandson Daniel Mattie visiting every Major League Baseball stadium. Since then, he visited every new major league stadium; his last trip was in May 2019 to Georgia for an Atlanta Braves game. He was a Yankees fan as a child but was a Brewers fan of late. Rob and Meredith created many memories of vacations traveling in their retirement years by Amtrak train.
Rob will be greatly missed for his sense of family, his kindness. interest in, encouragement of, and faith in others, and his sense of humor. He was always a faithful member of his church family.
A memorial service will be held at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive, Madison, at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 21, 2020, with a luncheon to follow at church. A visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
Memorials may be gifted in Robert’s name to the UW Carbone Cancer Center, Agrace HospiceCare or Lake Edge Lutheran Church. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.