Robert “Bob” Vavrek passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at his home in Waukesha, WI.
He is sadly missed by his high school sweetheart and wife of 45 years, Susan Saliga. He leaves behind his sister Patricia (Mike) Morasan of Hammond IN, his brothers John (Rhonda) of Waukesha and Tom of Whiting IN. Preceded in death by his parents Helen and Michael of Hammond IN. Further survived by his nephew Michael, niece Maddie of Waukesha and many friends that loved him for his kind heart and ready wit.
Robert obtained his BS degree from Purdue University and his MS from Marquette University. Bob worked at GE Healthcare for 35 years and ended his career at Global Services. Bob retired from GE in 2013. He had authored many patents and was well respected for his knowledge and helpfulness. Bob was always intellectually curious and looking for creative solutions to problems. There wasn't anything he couldn't fix.
Bob was an avid animal lover. He was a licensed wildlife rehabber specializing in squirrels, and was working with his wife Susan to help repopulate the dwindling migratory monarch butterfly population. He loved having fun with their 6 ferrets: Furgus, Connor, Lily, Fiona, Bridgette, and Mike and had volunteered at ferret shelters in the past. He enjoyed constructing a National Wildlife Federation certified wildlife habitat in the backyard and also was in the process of building a Monarch habitat. He loved watching and photographing the wildlife that visited the backyard, particularly the squirrels, chipmunks, and woodchucks.
He had a subtle and whimsical sense of humor and loved collecting Folkmanis puppets. His many interests included model trains, building WWII authentic model airplanes, gardening, art, photography, and inventing things to make life easier. He couldn't resist chocolate cake and Reese's peanut butter cup Blizzards. Bob and Susan were about to celebrate their wedding anniversary on January 29. Bob and Susan enjoyed taking hiking trips to the Smoky Mountains and to the boundary waters of Minnesota every summer where they visited the North American Bear Center in Ely, MN for a gathering of friends from around the world that followed the bear research of Dr. Lynn Rogers. They also travelled to Switzerland, Berlin, Munich and Paris.
He was always learning and had a particular interest in WWII history where his father served in the Navy. He also was a lifetime Cubs fan. You could always count on Bob's kindness to lend a helping hand wherever he was needed.
A Memorial Service will be held at 3:30 PM on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the Evert-Luko Funeral Home. Friends may call from 1:30 PM until the time of Service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Wildlife In Need Center in Oconomowoc, The North American Bear Center in Ely, MN or The Great Smoky Mountain Association.