Madison-W. Robert Cress, 89, died Saturday April 19, 2014 at Rest Haven Health Care Center surrounded by his loving family. He was born August 18, 1924 in Boyd, MN, the only son of Dr. Earl Elliott & Ola Mae (Derickson) Cress. When Bob was 14, his father passed away and the family moved to Eau Claire, where Bob graduated from high school in 1942. In April 1943, he entered the Army Air Corp Medical Unit as a surgical nurse. While stationed at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base in Plattsburgh, NY he met Hazel M. Martel. Their shared love of dancing brought them together and the rest is history. They were married in August, 1945 and happily celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary before Hazel's death in 1983.
After the service, Bob enrolled in Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago, where he graduated in 1948. He worked as a funeral director at an Eau Claire funeral home before pursuing his long term plan to purchase his own funeral home. In order to accomplish this, he took a sales job with the Belmont Casket Company, Columbus, Ohio. In 1958 his family returned to Wisconsin, settling in Sun Prairie, where they raised their three children.
In 1977, Bob and Hazel purchased the Frautschi Funeral Home in Madison, expanding the organization to what it is today, The Cress Funeral & Cremation Service, serving Dane County with Bob's personal commitment; "Service is Love & Concern in Action". He was a licensed funeral director for over 66 years.
Bob was always civic minded and enjoyed his affiliations with several organizations. He was the first president of the Sun Prairie Rotary Club, a Past Master of Sanctuary Lodge #347, in Eau Claire, a member of Scottish Rite and York Rite Bodies. In 1983 he was elected Potentate of Zor Shrine. He was also a member Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, the Madison Elk's Club, the Funeral Service & Cremation Alliance and he served on the Wisconsin Funeral Director's Examining Board.
In July 1987, Bob was blessed with a second loving marriage to Loeta Reed. They enjoyed 24 years of travel and antiquing, before Loeta's death in 2011.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters; Georgia Margaret Thome and Kathryn Alice Payin and two grandchildren, Jonah Cress and Megan Hazel Fose.
He is survived by his three children; William R. (Sherry) Cress, Jr., Stoughton, Mary (Dan) Fose, Madison, Carey (Mike) Fose, Middleton. Three step children; Emma Lee Grennan, Fairbanks, David Reed, LaCrosse, Mary Reed Cleary, Reedsburg.
He is also survived by his grandchildren, W. Robert (Zinnia) , Matthew (fiancÃ© My Le), Patrick Cress; Nathan, Rachel (fiance Alex) and , Michael Fose; Carter and Whitney Fose; sister LaVila Hatten; and great granddaughter Hazel Cress, Step grandchildren; Lindsey and Jay Grennan; Ella and Lydia Reed; Reed, Quinn, and Will Cleary.
Funeral Services will be held at the Cress Center, 6021 University Avenue, Madison, at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, 2014 with burial following at Forest Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 on Friday, April 25, at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road and from 10-11 on Saturday, at the Cress Center, 6021 University Avenue.
Memorial contributions may be made to Shriner's Hospitals for Children or to your local chapter of Alzheimer's Association.
Our family has the highest regard for the compassionate caregivers at Rest Haven Health Care Center and we will be forever grateful for their kind and attentive care.
Please share your memories at www.CressFuneralService.com.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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