Obituary of Robert Illig
Robert “Bob” Arthur Illig passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at Morris View Healthcare Center. He was 84 years young. Bob was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, friend, and man that will forever be treasured and remembered for all of the lives that he touched and all of the knowledge that he provided to the world. We all thank him for his hard work and dedication.
Born in Plainfield, NJ to the late Arthur C. and Marie J. Illig, he has lived in Plainfield, Newark, Rockaway, and White Township, while residing in a home in Rock Ridge Lake in Denville during the summer months. He graduated from Garfield Grammar School and Central High School.
Bob was a proud U.S. Navy Veteran where he served aboard the USS LST-551 as a Damage Control Fireman. For 25 years, he was an honorable Police Officer for the Newark Police Department retiring in 1980. Bob later worked for Denville Glass Company in Denville and then began working for GAB Business Services retiring in 1995.
Bob was the family historian and his love for history started his historical research in many projects. He co-authored Rock Ridge Remembered; he then co-authored Patriots of Denville and The Civil War and Denville which told stories of Denville residents who served in the many Wars. He also completed many other projects and books as a Historian including researching all the cemeteries in Denville, Rockaway, and Boonton, Garfield Grammar School, Central High School, and the Newark Police Dept.
He was a proud member of many organizations including, Vasa Order of American, F.O.P. Newark Lodge #13, Lodge Frithiof #63, Rock Ridge Lake Honorary Life Member & Historian Emeritus, Denville Cemetery Association Emeritus, U.S. LST Association, Retired Policemen & Firemen Assoc. of Essex County Local #3, and PBA Local #3, to name a few.
Left to keep his legacy alive is his beloved wife of 62 years, Veronica “Roni” (Olszewski); his adored daughters, Mary E. Scott, Kathleen (Timothy) Quinn, Kristine J.M. Edwards, and Virginia (Peter) Skolsky; his cherished grandchildren, Kyle R. and Katie Lynne Skolsky, Mikayla V. and Samantha S. Quinn, and Thomas J. Edwards; his caring sisters, Ruth A. (George) Haas and Diana L. (Bert) Barton; and many other extended family and friends.
Public Visitation will take place on Friday, Sept. 22nd from 3 – 7 pm at Norman Dean Home for Services, 16 Righter Ave., Denville, NJ. Friends may gather at the Funeral Home at 11 am on Sat. Sept. 23rd for a Funeral Service beginning at 11:45 am. Burial will follow at Denville Cemetery, Denville. Memorial Donations are being accepted in Bob’s memory to NJ Vasa Home, 93 Wolfe Road, Hackettstown, NJ 07840. Please leave a condolence and special memory for his family.
Bob took the time to plan out his funeral, and write his own obituary. He had written 3 pages of what he has accomplished in his life and his family wanted to share it with you. You can find it, in his own words, below.
He was born in Plainfield, NJ on November 5, 1932, the son of Arthur C. Illig & Marie J. Pearson. He lived in Plainfield, Newark, Rockaway, & White Township. He also was a summer resident at Rock Ridge Lake in Denville for 28 years.
He graduated from Garfield Grammar School June, 1946 & Central High School June, 1950.
After High School, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Navy September 1950 & was discharged September 1953. During this time Bob served aboard the USS LST-551 as a Damage Control Fireman.
After leaving the Navy, Bob worked in Western Electric Co. as an Inspector.
He then took the Civil Service Exam for the Newark Police Dept. & was sworn in June 28, 1955. He walked night foot patrol, was in the Radio Division assigned to a radio patrol car & finally to the Cell Block in Police Headquarters, transporting prisoners to & from court & jail. He retired July 1, 1980.
For 4 years, Bob worked in Denville Glass Co. as a Glazer’s Helper for a friend who owned the business.
Then in 1985, Bob began work for GAB Business Services, first in the mailroom & finally the stockroom, retiring in 1995.
Bob married Veronica Frances Olszewski, “Roni”, and this couple had four daughters & five grandchildren.
Bob’s hobby is the family history & has been since 1960. From this hobby he began doing historical research on various projects.
He was the co-author of Rock Ridge Remembered, The History of Rock Ridge Lake. Bob has been its Historian since 1971.
He then co-authored Patriots of Denville telling about the men who served in the Revolutionary War from the town of Denville. Then authored The Civil War & Denville & authored Helen Barnes Day for the Rock Ridge Lakes Bicentennial celebration in 1976.
In doing historical research in Denville & Collecting old photos, newspaper clippings, deeds & items on Denville’s past, he decided to record everyone who is buried within the town of Denville Twp., thus a manuscript.
He also researched & recorded all the cemeteries in Boonton Twp. & Rockaway Twp. which produced manuscripts also.
I thought it would be a great project, by researching my high school, Central High & produce a manuscript. This took me five years to research its history from 1912 to 1950, when I graduated.
Then I researched the history of Garfield Grammar School where I graduated in 1946. This too produced a manuscript.
All these histories I made 5 copies of the manuscripts & placed them with libraries & certain historians who helped me. This way the history will not be lost.
I am a member of a Swedish organization called Vasa Order of America, Lodge Frithiof #63. In 1979 I was appointed N.J. District #6 Historian and held that title for 11 years. In doing so, I put together District #6 history beginning in 1902 & ending in 1990. I also created an Archives Room & maintained it for 10 years. I wrote a Historians Corner for the Vasa Home Family, each month, for 11 years. In 2002, District N.J. #6 of Vasa voted me District Historian Emeritus.
After this, I became Historian for Lodge Frithiof #63 & researched & created a manuscript on its history beginning in 1904. I also created a Past Chairmen’s photo album, minus 2 photos.
For over 10 years, I have been researching the history of my ship, LST-551 from WWII to Vietnam. I created historical manuscript here, too.
For the Newark Police Museum, I researched the history of its Police Chiefs & submitted a manuscript to them. Then I researched the Newark Police Officers who died in the line of duty, titled In The Line Of Duty, 1854 to 1997. I submitted a manuscript to the Museum also.
There is a “Wall of Heroes” & a monument alongside Newark Police Headquarters honoring these police officers. On many occasions, I have researched police officers & submitted my findings to a Museum Board to approve or deny. To date this board has approved 15 police officers for the “Wall of Heroes” & their names have been engraved on the monument.
Finally, the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame. Being the un-official Historian of Central High School, I have researched athletes from this school, submitting a manuscript on my findings to the Hall of Fame Committee. If they approve my findings, the athlete’s name is placed on a ballot for voting, with my information. To date I have submitted 21 names & one team for approval. Out of these, 17 athletes & one team have been inducted into the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame.
During the Bicentennial I was a member of the Rockaway Boro Historical Bicentennial Committee that authored Rockaway Boro, A History. It was my assignment to reach & find living kin of the Jackson/Halsey families who founded Rockaway. I have found them.
He also did the historical research to have “The Diamond Spring” & “E.C. Peer, Sons” General Store, both in Denville, marked as Morris County Historical Sites.
Finally, I helped a lady in Denville identify old buildings on a large painting in Denville’s Municipal Building. All buildings in painting are from Denville’s past.
I researched my great, great grandfather, Sea Captain Ludwig Theodore Lignell. (1826 – 1910)
All Denville history researched by me, turned over to the town of Denville for preservation. I did St. Francis Heath Resort, Rockaway River Country Club & co-authored Rock Ridge Remembered & donated each one of them.
Frithiof Lodge #63, Vasa Order of America
N.J. District #6
Dist. Historian & Outer Guard. Created the Archives & wrote Historians Corner for Vasa Home Family
Grand Lodge, Vasa Order of America
Grand Lodge Historian
American Legion Post #390, Denville, NJ
Newark PBA Local #3, Newark, NJ
F.O.P Newark Lodge #12, Newark, NJ
United States LST Association
N.J. State Retired Police & Firemen’s Association Inc., Local #1
Police Federal Credit Union
St. George Association Chapter #32
Rockaway Bicentennial Committee, History Committee
Boys State Alumni Association
Rockaway, Marcella & Denville Memorial Association
Historian 1979 – 1984 Historian Emeritus
Denville Grave Registration Officer
Plank Officer of Navy Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Sociable Adults of Country View Village, White Township, NJ
Historian of Rock Ridge Lake since 1971, Historian Emeritus
Denville Cemetery Association since 1980
Trustee & Historian Emeritus
Co-Authored, Rock Ridge Remembered
Co-Authored, Patriots of Denville
Author of Civil War of Denville
Author of Helen Barnes Day
Boonton Twp. Cemeteries
Rockaway Twp. Cemeteries
Lady on the Hill – Central High School
Garfield Grammar School
Maxie J. Schmidt
Illig Family Fire Fighters