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January 1, 1970 - March 3, 2011
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Robert Charles, “Bear” Vonachen, 88, of Holliston, passed away Thursday, March 3, 2011 at St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham. Born in Grand Rapids, MI., he was the son of the late Frank and Evelyn (Harper) Vonachen. He was the husband of Patricia (Burton) Vonachen who passed in 2009.
A WWII Army Veteran of the 65th Infantry, Robert was a loving father and husband who had a great sense of humor and a hardy laugh. He graduated from Wittenberg University and was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, where he obtained the nickname “Bearcat”. He worked with comedian Jonathan Winters on a radio show during college. While at Wittenberg, he joined the Army and served in France, Belgium and Germany. He survived the Battle of the Bulge, and liberated POW and concentration camps, including Mauthausen, Dachau and Buchenwald.
After the war he studied at Hull University and attended the Nuremberg trials and then returned to Wittenberg to finish his education.
Robert was the Vice President for Acorn Chemical Co. and then worked Regional Sales for New England Kendall Co. He was a member and chairman of the Holliston School Committee in the 1970’s, and was a lifelong member of the Elks of Natick, the VFW in Holliston Post 8507, a 32nd degree Mason at Mt. Hollis Lodge in Holliston, Gyro’s, the Amvets in Medfield, Junior Achievement, and Boy Scouts. He enjoyed history, dogs and was a lifelong member of the Republican Party.
He is survived by his children, Bill Vonachen and his wife Lori of Framingham, Molly Dillon and her partner Carol Webb of Hull, and Laurel Rapp of Greeley, CO. He also leaves a sister, Edith George of Elyria, OH., as well as 5 grandchildren, Connor, Katie, Colby, Caroline, and Mitch; and several nephews.
Visitation will take place on Friday, March 11, 2011 from 1:30-2:30p.m. at the Chesmore Funeral Home of Holliston, 854 Washington St.
www.ChesmoreFuneralHome.com followed by a service at 2:30p.m. in the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org