Robert (Bob) G. Wehrle, 99, passed away on July 31, 2019 at JFK Haven Hospice with his family by his side.
Born Oct. 14, 1919 in Newark, Bob graduated from West Side High School. He was the last survivor of a baseball club known as “The Newark Dukes in which he played right field. A book “When Time Stood Still” was written and published by his friend Bob Landisi, high school friend and “Duke”. It was about the team and an easier time and about friendships. After visiting Boston, he became a Boston Red Sox Fan and remained so throughout the years. He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served aboard the USS Thomas Jefferson as a Fleet Marine. He trained with General Patton in North Africa, with the Fleet Marines in Guadalcanal and with the “First Marine Division” at Peleliu. He earned his purple heart in North Africa surviving a bombing raid that landed him in the hospital. In 1945 he was given an honorable discharge and was sent back home. Bob met the woman who would become his wife, “Mickey” , at Olympic Park’s pool.
With the war over, after working for a short time at Sherwin Williams, he became a Newark Police Officerin 1946. In December of 1952 he showed how much of a hero he was when he made his way through thousands of spectators to the elevator of the Federal Trust Building to get him to the roof. Another veteran was attempting suicide on the 60 foot steel structure that supported the Federal Trust sign. Event though heights had always frightened him, he made his way up the sign and talked the man out of jumping. He then went home and went to bed without mentioning a word. When phone calls started coming in with friends calling to ask if that had been Bob on the tv, she was shocked. That was Bob Wehrle, a very humble man. He was awarded the Medal of Valor and promoted to Detective in the homicide squad. He was an avid bowler and he and his wife loved spending time with their friends playing cards. Shortly after retiring in 1981 he suffered a massive stroke and despite the odds, he survived, after spending a year hospitalized and had the love of his family to keep him going. He and his wife remained in their home in Union until 2007 when they moved into the NJ Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park. Sadly, “Mickey” passed away shortly after. Bob was loved throughout the years by all, especially his daughter’s friends. His personality, his jokes, and some of the things he came out with always had them in stitches. “Popeye” as he was known to many was a true family man - his family always came first. His grandson, “Scottie” was the apple of his eye and they had a wonderful relationship throughout his life, as did he and his daughter. He was our hero. We are so thankful to have had him for so many years, but are heartbroken at losing him, he was one in a million. Bob was predeceased by his parents, John and Mae Wehrle, his sister, Lorraine Colfer , his brothers, John and Paul. He leaves his daughter, Robin and her husband Bruce Zukowski, his grandson, Scott Zukowski, his brother Joe and wife Carol, and nieces Heather, & Hillary and Suzanne & Charlotte.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Angel PAWS, P.O. Box 282, Colonia, NJ 07067 would be appreciated.