Life Story / Obituary
Robert F. Shannon, better known as "Uncle Bob," devoted his life to spreading the good news of Jesus. He was a missionary with Rural Bible Mission, worked with Child Evangelism Fellowship, worked as an Interim Pastor, Calling Pastor and with the senior saints group. He was a godly man, called to reach and save the lost and he did so with passion, commitment, perseverance and love.
Robert was born September 8, 1912 in Allegan, Michigan. His parents, Harvey Robert and Hazel (Fraser) Shannon, raised Robert and his sister, Martha around horses, and horses quickly became a passion for little Robert. His excitement for harness racing stayed with him throughout his life. As Robert grew up, his dad worked as a farmer, a milk carrier and at Consumer's Power. His mom was home caring for the children and tending to their thriving garden. They didn't have much money but thanks to that garden and mom, they did have delicious homemade meals.
As a boy, Robert loved hanging out with his cousins, playing with the family pets and being at the Allegan County Fair where he could watch the horse races. One day, as a boy, he escaped the wrath of a rattlesnake when a dog attacked the snake before it bit Robert. The dog killed the snake and two weeks later Robert saw him with his tail dragging and completely covered in mud.
He learned of Jesus by being around his Christian grandparents who read the Bible each day. His grandmother had been a missionary in Africa and she shared special stories of her faith with Robert. Clifford Martz also played a huge role in Robert's spiritual life by leading him to the Lord. He committed one night a week for a year to mentoring Robert and directing him on the path that God had laid out. Robert and his friend Duane Jacob, who was the brother he never had, set off to Denver Bible Institute together. Robert met Thelma Nichols while attending Allegan Schools.. They both attended the Allegan Bible Church and it wasn't long before their friendship turned into lasting love. Thelma and Robert married on July 3, 1935 and spent fifty-six wonderful years of marriage together before Thelma went home to be with the Lord.
Thelma's mother lived with them until she passed away in 1955. She encouraged and helped as they raised their son, Robert and daughters, Martha, Rachel, Lois and Rebecca. Robert was a disciplinarian, but he communicated with love, kindly teaching the children right from wrong. The children knew their Dad was praying for them and each morning before school or work they sat together enjoying a hot breakfast and devotional. Robert was always purposeful in teaching his kids work ethics, money values and godly respect, but he also taught them much, much more. They watched as he loved and respected his wife and cared for anyone and everyone in need of physical or spiritual help. Sharing came naturally for him and he often helped Thelma with the household chores and gardening. Together, they generously shared their harvest, soups, chicken and dumplings and delicious homemade breads with shut-ins and genuinely enjoyed their visits with each one.
As the children grew up, Robert went back and forth to Texas each year to visit his kids and grandkids. He loved having the time with his grandchildren to cuddle and love. Being able to share God's love with his own family and know that he would spend eternity with them in heaven was one of Robert's most cherished truths.
Bob eagerly and creatively found ways to share the gospel, going into the neighborhoods, schools and churches. His job was his calling and his joy, and he was overjoyed anytime anyone came to the Lord. By 1970, it became too much of a challenge for him to do backward somersaults to "Only a Boy Named David," so he felt it was time to retire. He worked for a year as the Activity Director for Ottawa Nursing Home and then went on staff with Bethel Baptist Church of Fruitport. He continued to visit the sick and prisoners in jail and committed himself to writing letters to many important people in his life. In 1998, he suffered a debilitating stroke which left him with speech complications. He had already written 400 personal Christmas cards before the stroke and it pained him that he couldn't continue writing.
Robert Shannon was a man who, simply stated, went about doing good! He lived to love others and reflect Christ. He was a devoted husband to Thelma and everyone could see the love for one another in their eyes. They walked together in their commitment to their family and their commitment to Christ, and through their lives, many, many people came to know the Lord. Robert Shannon will be dearly missed and deeply remembered by all those who knew and loved him.
Robert F. Shannon died at Rest Haven in Grand Rapids, Mi on Thursday, August 24, 2006. He was proceeded in death by his wife Thelma, daughter Hester, sister Martha Bohres and grandson Jeffrey Shannon in 1992. His family includes, son, Robert (Neysa) Shannon of Gratis, OH, daughters, Martha (James) Robbins of Georgetown, TX, Rachel Shannon of El Paso, TX, Lois (Edwin) Ericson of Grand Rapids, MI and Rebecca (Delbert) Patterson of Eau Claire, MI, 17 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren. Service will be Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 11:00a.m. at Bethel Baptist Church in Fruitport with Rev. Stephen Worth officiating. Interment at Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan. Visitation on Monday from 3-8 p.m. at Bethel Baptist. Memorial contributions may be made to Rest Haven Homes, Rural Bible Mission, or Bethel Baptist Church Memorial Fund. Pleas visist www.lifestorynet.com to leave a memory or sign the on-line guestbook.