Bob was born May 3, 1931, in Kansas City, Missouri. His birth parents were Elbie Hlava and Oscar Heiland. His given name was Cedric Hlava, but at just two weeks Bob was adopted by his dad and mom Clifton Allen Wemmer and Vera Beatrice Signer Wemmer. They named him Robert Allen Wemmer.
His parents moved from Granola to Moline, and then to Howard, Kansas where they lived on a farm. In Howard, he attended a little one room country school until he finished 8th grade. When Bob started 9th grade, he had to go to town. He was only 13 years old and rode his bike on back roads up and down hills 10 miles each way. He was finally able to drive himself to school when he was 14 years old.
He had a happy childhood. As an only child he spent many happy days with his cousins – especially the Signer kids because there were 5 of them. His aunt and uncle, Frank and Hazel, were kind and let him come often.
Bob graduated in 1949 from Howard High School. After high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served three years during the Korean War. He then returned home for a period of time due to his dad’s poor health. Bob then started college on the G.I. Bill. Bob attended Southeastern State Teachers College in Ada, Oklahoma for one year. When he found out how little teachers were paid, he decided he would change careers. So, he switched schools and attended Oklahoma State at Okmulgee, Oklahoma for two years specializing in refrigeration, air-conditioning/heating and small appliances. He thought he would move to Dallas where it was really hot, thinking he would make his fortune.
However, he got sidetracked. He went to Wichita to visit a friend, who suggested he go to work for Sears, which he did. Then a recession hit and there were layoffs, so he got a job with a government contractor, who was installing air-conditioning and heating on base housing at Burns Flat, Oklahoma. He later worked at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, and stayed and completed their warranty phase for one year.
It was during a visit with his friend Jay Evans in Wichita that he met his future wife. Jay was dating Alicia’s best friend in Wichita, and he introduced Alicia to Bob. After a very short courtship, they were married on January 4, 1958. His love for his wife never dimmed but grew stronger with time. He was a loving, kind and thoughtful husband. Since he was older, he told people he wanted to marry Alicia while she was young so he could train her just right. However, in later years he said he wasn’t sure he succeeded. When he got married, he was rather quiet, since he was an only child. But after marrying into the Cunningham clan with 5 children, he soon learned to join in.
In 1960, while living in Lawton Oklahoma, their daughter Kelly was born. In 1961, Bob took a civil service job at Altus, Oklahoma, at the Air Force Base working on Atlas Missile systems. On February 14, 1964, Valentine’s Day, he was transferred to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. In December 1964 their son, Dean, was born. In his later years, he worked in the civil and mechanical engineering department, with the cadets, which he really enjoyed helping them with their projects. He retired in January 1993 after having a heart attack the previous year. After retiring, he continued to work three years for Goodwill. Later, as a job and hobby, he drove cars for various dealers in the Colorado Springs area. Bob had a real passion for automobiles. He enjoyed reading about cars and talking about cars with everyone. On a Sunday afternoon he liked to walk around the car lots just looking at cars. They often teased that he should have been a car salesman.
In 1971, Bob was united with his biological mother, Elbie Hlava Birdsong. His biological father, Oscar Heiland, was already deceased. He also met two half-brothers Ron Birdsong, his wife and two sons, and Ken Heiland, his wife and three daughters, along with other aunts, uncles and cousins. Through the years he spent many wonderful times with Ken, Jackie and their family. They were a real blessing to him.
In later years Bob and Alicia took a wonderful trip with Ken and Jackie to Virginia and DC. Kelly’s husband Steve was stationed there at the time. Every day they would commute into DC to the many museums. They had gone to see the Holocaust Museum, where the group got separated from Bob. They had agreed to meet up at the entrance. Bob got impatient and went next door to the US Mint. Of course, they had no idea where he had gone. He came back all happy with a roll of one-dollar bills, but soon realized no one was very happy with him. Needless to say, it didn’t happen again.
Over the years Bob, Alicia, Kelly and Dean took some nice vacations. They also traveled around Colorado in their pop-up camper. After retirement Bob and Alicia built many great memories traveling until health began to intervene.
Bob accepted the Lord as his Savior in 1954 at a little Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma. He said he was baptized in a pond, and he remembered it was cold. Bob faithfully followed the Lord the rest of his life.
In 1971 the family started attending First Assembly of God Church. While there he served as an usher. Their children grew up during this time and their daughter was married there. In more recent times they started attending Radiant Church and it is their home church.
Bob loved people. He liked to go to Sunday School and Church. Over the years, he was involved with Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship and attended several men’s Bible Studies and was faithful in reading his Bible. He loved the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to Him and looking forward to being with Him.
He was a wonderful husband, a kind and gentle father and grandfather. His life revolved around his family. As he grew older and less healthy, he would really light up when the kids came to see him.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Clifton and Beatrice Wemmer, Elbie Birdsong and Oscar Heiland.
Left to mourn his passing is his wife, Alicia; daughter, Kelly and son-in-law, Steve Herring of Dallas, Texas; son, Dean and daughter-in-law, Susie Wemmer of Colorado Springs; one grandson, Mark and wife, Lisa Herring of Oklahoma City; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, other family members and friends.
Funeral services will be held April 28, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at the Shrine of Remembrance “America the Beautiful” Chapel, 1730 E Fountain Blvd., Colorado Springs, Colorado 80910. Burial is at Evergreen Cemetery on Monday, May 1, 2023, at 10:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Foundation.
This Obituary Has 6 Condolences
Kenneth Heiland26 Apr 2023
Our prayers and love are with Bobs family at this time. Wonderful memories of visiting Bob and Alicia, spending time at B and B or Casino, with train rides as he shared his knowledge and patience. We miss our phone visits and look forward to being together again.
Cheryl Boyd27 Apr 2023
Alicia and family, I am so very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you.
Cheryl Boyd27 Apr 2023
I will be making a contribution to the Heart Association. That is a great idea. God bless you
Randi and Mike Odil27 Apr 2023
We will miss our chats with Bob. Always had something to take home to read…..usually about cars. Bob always made us feel like a million when we visited as he let the Love Of God shine bright in his life. Bob listened and remembered our conversations and would use the information on the next visit as a source of interest. Bob was always right on target. Bob is an inspiration to this family. The team of Bob and Alicia can never be topped but we strive to follow in their footsteps. We can’t wait to talk with Bob in paradise once again. What stories are we in store for? We love you Bob and Alicia! We thank God our paths crossed.
Anonymous28 Apr 2023
My uncle- he was a great family man and I loved spending time with the family ❤️ He will be missed and I am grateful that he found his “way” into our family. Love you and will miss you
Susan Jarvis ( Heiland )28 Apr 2023
Heartfelt condolences to you and the family. I will always remember the trips that you took to St. Louis
Mo. to see us and when we visited your family in Colorado, my son still likes to hear the stories about our 2 families. I loved that time we spent together and will miss Bob a lot.