Robert, often called Bob by family, friends and neighbors was the son of the late Frank and Gertrude (nee Franz) VanVlierbergen.
Born and raised on near west side of Chicago at 13th St and Wood a few blocks from Roosevelt and Ashland, he attended Immanuel Lutheran Church School.
Later, he attended Kelvin Park High School when his family moved to that northwest side neighborhood. Continued education at Chicago Teachers College.
Drafted 02/04/1953, age 21, to serve stateside post Korea on the west coast, CA & WA until his release 01/11/1955. Returned to complete teaching studies, graduate and begin 33 year teaching career with Chicago Public Schools. Taught English, reading and history often working with EMH students. Began teaching for 25 years at Julius H. Hess Upper Grade Center near Central Park and Douglas in North Lawndale where he was able to witness a slice of civil rights history during the 1960s. Taught at Hess until its closing, finishing his career at Greeley Elementary near the Wrigley Field area.
A life-long bachelor, he supported and cared for his widowed mother (widowed 1950) once he began teaching until her passing in 1971. He also helped care for several elderly neighbors in the Kelvin Park neighborhood even after moving to the Waterford Condo in the Lakeview area in 1972.
Beloved brother of the late Marie “Honey” (Fred “Sonny”) Schueler, Frank (Adeline) VanVlierbergen, and Gertrude “Bee” (Kerwin “Mac”) McClelland
Loving Uncle Bob of Frank (Joan) Schueler, Frank (Barbara) VanVlierbergen, Trudy (Michael) Kamper, Lynn (Roy) Palmer, and Tom (Debbie) McClelland
First time great uncle of late great nephew Frank. Fondly remembered as great uncle by Michael, Jennifer, Michelle, Melissa, Jim, Julie, and Andrew.
In addition to his many family relationships, he had good friendships with his fellow teachers and their families who often called him Van. He was liked and respected by hundreds of students who called him Mr. Van. He later moved to the Glenlake Condos in the Dunning neighborhood where he had more good friends and neighbors.
Two long term friendships to note are: the late Alonzo “Al” Hayes who was a fellow teacher at Hess and friend for nearly 50 years. Al was a good friend of the family as well and was welcome at family gatherings.
The other friend is Juanita Barlow, the widow of Bob’s friend and fellow teacher George. Bob was best man to George. Jeff, Juanita and George’s son, is Bob’s Godson. Juanita was also a friend for over 50 years and was a companion, helper and caregiver especially during the last 6 years. Juanita and Jeff will miss Bob dearly.
Robert, Bob, had so many good family, friend and neighbor relationships as well as his teacher, student connections. In his last months he would comment on how he had a good life during his 92 years. He enjoyed his family and friends. This made him accepting of his COPD related health issues.
Visitation 10 – 11 AM, Saturday, July 22, 2023 at Gibbons Family Funeral Home 5917 W. Irving Park Rd/ (1/2 Block East of Austin). Interment to follow, at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made of ALA, American Lung Association, lung.org