Robert E. Kilbourn

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Robert Eugene “Bob” Kilbourn, 98, of Gaylord, passed away Saturday, December 11, 2021, surrounded by his family.

Bob had the pleasure of being married to the love of his life, Viola “Pat” (Tolles) Kilbourn, for 73 of his 98 years.

He was born and raised in Capac, MI, one of nine children born to Thomas Henry and Viola Ruth Kilbourn. He transplanted to Gaylord to marry Pat and later raise their three children. For 23 years, they lived on their farm and raised horses, a love he passed down to his children.

Bob had a passion for woodworking. While in his woodshop, memories were made, laughs were had, and beers were shared.

Bob was a fun-loving grandpa, who never failed to make his grandchildren smile, especially when bouncing tennis balls off the side of the old barn.

Grandpa taught the best of life’s lessons to his children and grandchildren. One of the most important being the correct way to eat ice cream; vanilla bean ice cream with coffee drizzled over top.

Bob and Pat shared a love for history and travel. They enjoyed visiting historical sites of 47 states in their motorhomes and campers; visiting family and friends en route. He had an affinity for cars, airplanes, and all things to ensure an adventure. 

 Bob was a man of few words, but when he spoke, he commanded respect. He loved quietly and fiercely and was fully devoted to his family. He was also a lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge and the Eagles Lodge.

 Bob was preceded in death by his parents; son, David Lee; siblings, Duane, Nora, Donna, Maxine, Tom, Jim, and Jim’s twin; and great-granddaughter, Emily Renee.

He is survived by his loving wife of 74 years, Viola “Pat”; children, Kathy (Mike) Zimbicki, Brad, and Susan (Casey) Dickinson; brother, Dick; nine grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. with visitation beginning at 12:00 p.m., at the Nelson Funeral Home, 135 North Center Ave., Gaylord, MI 49735.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan, 830 S. Otsego Ave., Gaylord, MI 49735.

Friends may offer condolences online at

Arrangements were entrusted to the Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, PO Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.

8 comments on “Robert E. Kilbourn”

  1. I had the pleasure to know Bob Kilbourn and he was a man of few words, but even I had more than a few with his gentle soul. May he rest in peace, knowing he left a warm legacy.

  2. Godspeed Bob
    You were always a class act. Thanks for your lessons of life you passed on to your grandchildren. They love and appreciate you. A life well lived. Peace be with you and your family.

  3. I will forever cherish my 37 years with you Gramps and the impact that you have had on my life. You always have and always will be what I strive to be as a man, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. A great man has left us but we have gained another angel protecting us.

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