Robert P. McNamara passed away quietly at home, on January 9, 2022, surrounded by family.
“Big Mac”, as he was commonly known, lived a charmed and successful life. He was raised in Manistique, Michigan, by Clarence and Marie McNamara, along with three older siblings, Jim, Arlene, and Joyce. During those years, Big Mac enjoyed much success as a multi-sport athlete, for the Manistique High School Emeralds, gathering multiple all-state and all-UP honors in football, basketball, and track & field. Mac’s athletic success led him to Central Michigan College (University), where he earned “Little All American” honors, as a fullback and strong safety, on the 1955 and 1956 Chippewa football teams. More importantly, Mac met his wife, Dianne (Yuill) of Gaylord, MI, while attending CMU. Mac and Dianne shared a great 65 years of marriage while raising four children, Dr. Patrick McNamara (deceased 2009), Dr. Michael McNamara, Bobby McNamara Jr., and Julie (McNamara) Hintz.
Following his graduation from CMU, Big Mac served in the U.S. Army for two years, returning to Michigan to begin his career as a high school teacher and coach, in Flint, Michigan. In July of 1968, Big Mac moved his family to Gaylord, where he subsequently purchased the John B. Yuill Insurance Agency, from his father-in-law, John Yuill. Mac built the successful McNamara Insurance Agency, which is now being run by the fourth generation of the family.
Mac had a passion for Gaylord and was an extremely active community leader, for over 40 years. He proudly preached the positives of Gaylord and instilled the same values of community acts of service, in all of his children and grandchildren.
Speaking of family, Big Mac was proud to boast that all four of his children returned to Gaylord, and established their careers locally. He was even prouder of the fact that all four of his grandchildren returned to Gaylord, and have embraced successful careers locally.
The Gaylord community was very gracious to Mac, bestowing many honors throughout the years. The recognition that he cherished the most, was being named Alpenfest’s “Der Buergermeister” in 1994.
Athletically, Mac was inducted as a member of the prestigious Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame, in 1999. Fastpitch softball was Mac’s other passion. Mac was considered one of the State of Michigan’s best pitchers, for several decades, even into his 60’s. He pitched until age 69, which completed 54 years of competition. Mac also refereed high school and college football, for 40 years, and was a huge advocate for local sports programs.
Big Mac leaves behind many true friends and relatives. His friends were extremely important to him, as was his family. Mac is survived by his wife, Dianne; sons, Mike and Bobby (Theresa); daughter, Julie (Dave Hintz); four grandchildren, Calvin (Stephanie), Mitch Hintz, Kelly (Kyle Smith), and Lauren (Dan Goertz); and great-granddaughter, Hazel Mac Smith.
A Celebration of Life party will be held at the Otsego Grand Event Center, on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The family would be honored for all friends to attend.
For those who are great distances away, or have COVID concerns, the family will be throwing a festive Irish Wake for Big Mac, in Manistique, Michigan, this summer (details to follow).
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. Patrick J. McNamara Fund through the Otsego Community Foundation, PO Box 344, Gaylord, MI 49734.
Arrangments were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, PO Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.
32 comments on “Robert McNamara”
Mac and Dianne were some of our first acquaintances and that friendship still continues today. Mac had the most beautiful smile and he was a robust and happy person. He was our leader on our caravans to Florida. Some of our children were raised together with Mac’s and some of the older Mac’s were babysitters for our four daughters. I had and have great admiration for him. I believe he beat us to Heaven but hopefully we will see him again. Dianne and family my love and prayers are with you.
I will never forget the ” BIG MAC ” especially playing ball with him. Diane I’m sorry I cannot be there , he will remain in my thoughts forever, please take care .
Lost a friend of many years. Love to Dianne and family.
BIG Mac you’ll be missed by many.
Our condolences from the team at Martin & Dylan’s Flowers on Main.
Dylan J. Ehlert
Martin J. Van Til
We’re so sorry to hear of the passing of your dearest husband, father, and grandfather. Our prayers and deepest condolences are with all of you, he will be missed so many in Manistique.🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️❤️
The vision here of Mr. McNamara is iconographic proof that his smile and sincere eyes had the ability to warm and light up any room in which he appeared. That same vision of him, in my heart, with that same smile is followed by a slight nod of his head, wink of his eye & the gesture of recognition by the gentle pointing of his finger. What I will remember is a sturdy pillar of the community and a model of proof that dedication, hard work, an easy, swift (and inarguably suave 😉) demeanor, combination of confidence and robust laughter with a gentle, authentic, and outwardly-evident love of and pride in his family. He was the epitome of a lifetime of success. ☘️
To each member of his family and each friend feeling this sizable void, accept my genuinely heartfelt condolences, and may God’s powerful and gentle hands envelop you, shield you from hurt and sadness, comfort and immerse you in his unconditional love.
A Super Hero on any field. It was a pleasure to have known from 1976 to 1998. Our condolences to the Mighty Mac family.
Mac you will be missed. It was my pleasure to have known you.
My condolences to Dianne and family.
My best Big Mac memory was not in Michigan but The island of Bermuda where Jane and I spent the part of a week with Dianne and Mac. He always thought I was the conservative Smith in the family, but he and Dianne found out that we could hang the with McNamara’s. You will have to ask Dianne about the midnight boat ride. RIP Bob. God speed.
Glenn and Jane
Got lost in the memories of Mac, from the morning coffee group at the Big Boy downtown, to last year at Alpenfest. Always that smile! My condolences to Dianne and family.
My heartfelt condolences to Dianne and all the many family members on the loss of (Bob). I always called him that. He was a fine, friendly, courteous man and when he would happen to meet you he always had a smile, stopped, and talked to you. He was a keeper and will be missed by all who knew him. R.I.P. Heaven received another helper.
Our love and sympathy to the McNamara family. Mac will be greatly missed. Labor Day in Manistique was a tradition for us, with Mac and Dianne always adding to the party fun! We treasure the walking sticks and all the hand-painted stones and ornaments! Rest peacefully “Uncle Bob”. We will miss you.
Matt and Mariane Crumm
Big Mac, what a legend. More importantly, was the kind and welcoming man when we moved to Gaylord in 1999. I enjoyed many stories and some BS at morning coffee at the Sugar Bowl. And who could forget playing by “Mac Rules” at Gaylord Country Club! Prayers of comfort to the McNamara family and I hope in the coming days, the memories of a life very well lived come to the forefront. I hopefully can make it up to the Irish Wake this summer.
Chip and Jody Ferlaak
No matter my mood, when I would see Mr. and Mrs. MacNamara, they were always so warm and welcoming. Mrs. MacNamara, I pray God gives you the strength you will need to get through.
Dianne, I am so sorry for your loss my thoughts are with you and your family.
The entire Lowder/Baker family sends prayers and big hugs to the McNamara family! We’ve all had many, many, many fun summers through the years up in Manistique, Michigan. Indian Lake is our “Happy Place” and it won’t be the same without seeing Mac at the Annual 4th of July Party, sitting on his golf cart, drinking a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon, and handing out his hand-painted colorful rocks to each of us. We’ll celebrate you Mac and keep the “Tradition” going up there! Much Love, Mary Lowder
Sorry to hear of Big Mac’s passing. Always happy to spend time with him, many years of racquetball ball challenges and celebrations. Whenever I would stop at the office or his home, Mac would always make me feel welcome. A great friend for over 40 years. Rest In Peace Mac.
Dear Diane and family
There is now a legend living in heaven. May you have comfort in all your memories, and know there are many prayers and thoughts with you.
To family and friends I am so sorry for your loss. Everyone is in my prayers and thoughts.
Oh, Big Mac! He truly will be missed by many! How would he not be? He was one of the nicest people on this planet!
Having worked by Dr. Mike Mac’s side for almost 25 years, it was always a great pleasure to have him honor us with an occasional visit to the office. Big Mac and I would crack jokes about doc! He was a great guy and always had a smile on his face!
Sending hugs and prayers for the family.
Maria Barnovitz (Cassisi)
Gaylord lost a loyal gem. Bob was a great man with a heart as big as his reputation as a community leader. He was witty and fun, always filled with humor at our weekly Rotary meetings. He came to the farmers market every week and purchased flowers for “his bride” whom he adored. One of the finest Gaylord’s good ole boys. He will be missed by so many! Journey on Bob!
Bobby and Mike, you have my sincerest condolences on the loss of your father.
My memories go back to Bob playing basketball against my home team, the Soo. He was amazing! When I think of his special family, I thank God for all the talent and gifts he shared. God bless you all. Nancy Forcier—Skip too.
He was one of the first people I met when my family and I put roots down in Gaylord. It was a joy to chat with him and his family. He will be missed. Prayers coming. God Bless Him.
Oh my, all my love to the Bob McNamara family. So glad I got to see Bob at the McNamara reunion, just a great guy and cousin. Hope to see you in Manistique this summer. Always in my prayers.
Carol (McNamara) La Sorsa🍀☘️🍀☘️⭐️🌟⭐️🌟🍀☘️🙏🏼🙏🏼💕
Deepest sympathies to all of the family. I hope that all of your cherished memories will help as you journey through the grief. The only thing bigger than Mr. McNamara’s* personality was his heart; something I’ll always cherish.
* It will always be Mr. McNamara to me!
Some of my best memories growing up were hanging out at Big Mac’s house, talking high school sports, and going to the lake house in the U.P. So appreciate the generosity of Big Mac. My deepest condolences to the family.
Dear Dianne, Mike, Bobby, and Julie,
I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Big Mac. He was such a great man and friend. I often think of all the fun and great times I had with him and all of you. I truly enjoyed competing with Mac in softball, basketball, and golf. God Bless you all as my heart aches for your loss.
So sorry to hear of Mac’s passing. A real class act. I did a lot of work on their office over the years. Glad I was able to know him and his family. I always enjoyed buying insurance from his agency.
Dianne and family, I am so sorry for your loss. He was a fantastic man and loved his family dearly. Prayers to everyone.
Fond memories of you pitching in the fast pitch Petoskey league.
Enjoyed having you as part of the Gaylord High Football coaching staff.
Lastly I recall you refereed a game when I was on the JV team and was lined up out wide and I had a false start and our eyes met as I pretended that I did not move. Thought you would give me a pass but you threw the flag. I guess there was no hometown advantage.
Now you and Pat are together once again. God Bless:)