Robert A. Wilson, February 1, 1930 - May 4, 2018

Robert A. Wilson
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Robert (Bob) “Swen” Wilson died on May 4, at the age of 88, after being admitted to the hospital earlier that day.

Bob, or “Swen”, was born on February 1, 1930, in Marquette, Michigan, and lived there before going to Korea to honorably serve our country in the Korean Conflict as a communications specialist.  Once he returned, he attended Northern Michigan University, where he met the love of his life, Antonette (Toni) Kenney. They later moved to Chicago and got married.

After graduating from DeVry University in Chicago, he worked as a technician to engineers for AC Delco, helping implement the guidance system for Titan II missiles, then going to Allis Chalmers, while ending his career with Cleaver Brooks.

Swen & Toni raised their family in Greenfield, Wisconsin, for 42 years. Their 3 children, Lynn, Paul, and Betsy, all spent their formative years growing up there. Swen would say, “All three turned out pretty well in the end. I was lucky”.

As Christians, Swen & Toni’s lives were rooted in love for God and others. They attended church weekly; their faith was the cornerstone of their beliefs and actions.

Swen and Toni moved to Eau Claire eight years ago to be closer to family.  After Toni died in 2015, Swen displayed great determination to live independently for two more years at Realife, a senior living community, despite his advancing muscle disease. His ability to do so was largely because of the heroic efforts of Wendy Dulian, his dear caretaker and friend, to whom Swen’s family is extremely grateful. They are also greatly appreciative of the staff at River Pines, who deeply enriched Swen’s last year of life.

Swen loved music and was accomplished enough to be a paid performer. He played alto sax, tenor sax and the clarinet in various high school and college dance bands, including the Johnny Waters Dance Band and The Pastels. He played the flute and piccolo in an orchestra. And on a stopover in Hawaii during the war, he even picked up a ukulele.

Over the years, Swen enjoyed many campfires while camping in tents, pop-up campers and a mobile home at River Bay Resort near Wisconsin Dells.  He enjoyed canoeing, boating of all kinds, and loved riding his many mopeds, especially over the back roads of the Dells with his kids and grandkids.

Swen & Toni loved following the Bucks, Brewers and the Green Bay Packers.  He and Toni had season tickets for the Bucks for many years. They enjoyed taking their kids and grandkids to many Bucks, Brewers and Packers games.

Swen always surrounded himself with the latest technology and gadgets.  He taught his grandkids to use computers in the days when PCs and floppy discs were first introduced.  At River Pines, where he spent the past year, he voice-controlled his state-of-the-art television, lights, fan, and music through Alexa. 

Swen is survived by his children, Paul (Barb) Wilson of Burnsville, Minnesota, Lynn Wilson (John Hertz) of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Betsy Shanks (Bradley) of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Swen is also survived by his beloved grandchildren, Hannah and Mike Parker and great granddaughter, Adeline; Joshua Wilson; Brendon and Justin Hertz; Tyler Shanks;  Brooke Shanks and fiancée,  Beau Besancenez.

Swen was preceded in death by his wife of sixty years, Antonette; his parents, Arthur and Alfa Linnae Wilson, his sister, Maribeth Carlson and his great grandson Halen. He will be buried next to his wife in his beloved U.P. of Michigan.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to Garland School of Milwaukee Public Schools in support of their STEM program.

Visitation will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1314 E. Lexington Blvd., Eau Claire, WI 54701 on Friday, May 18, 2018 from 12 p.m. until the time of service. Funeral service will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church. 

Friends and family may offer condolences online at

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.


  1. Dorothy Kauffman May 21, 2018

    Dear Lynn, Paul and Betsy and families,

    We would have loved to be with you at the service for your father. It is a big change when both parents are gone. Please know that we are thinking of you. We learned from the obituary that your father played the sax and other instruments. How did we not know that?! Yet, we can imagine him playing them. We can also imagine your mother listening with approval with that big smile of hers. It is difficult for us to think of your father without also thinking of your mother. They were a team! We loved it when your parents came to Maquette for a visit. It was always good to see them!

    From Grace, “ I miss him very very much. He was mom’s brother and I will miss him a lot. I wish I could hug you all.”

    In memory of your father, a contribution has been sent to Garland School, STEM program.

    May you be flooded with gratitude when memories of your parents come to mind. May you reach out to God, who is willing and able to provide comfort and hope, when you think of your loss.

    Grace (Carlson), Dorothy and Alvin (Kauffman)