Robert Christian Peck died January 27, 2024. Bob was born in Champaign, Illinois, on August 18, 1983. Most of his childhood was spent in Champaign. The first musical instrument he learned was the recorder; he became proficient enough to perform regularly in La Rejouissance Recorder Consort, and at 8 years old he was one of its youngest members. After moving to the Chicago area, he played saxophone and baritone saxophone in school bands. In high school, Bob was an avid athlete, participating in track, wrestling, swimming, as well as his favorite, football. He graduated from Palatine High School, in Palatine, Illinois, in 2002.
Following high school, Bob served in the Air Force and subsequently as a mover and a truck driver. He learned everything quickly and most recently worked as a senior HVAC service technician at RG Heating and Air Conditioning in Madison, WI. Around the shop, he was known as a thermostat whisperer, since he knew how to program stubborn units.
Bob was a voracious reader, having taught himself to read at 4 years old. He enjoyed science fiction and fantasy novels and had significant opinions on many series that he was happy to share with others. He also loved cooking and showed his love for others by cooking for them, including a family favorite of Cincinnati Chili along with assisting for years with the traditional Christmas morning breakfast.
Bob loved music. He enjoyed the theory and tried guitar, keyboard, and drums in the 2020s. He had been into progressive rock from the 60s as an adult, a love he got from his mom. Most of his current listening was dubstep and dance tracks. He always wanted something new and experimental in the music, not just retro beats from a prior decade.
He grew to love computers and designed several of his own. The first custom computer was powerful but standard and crafted with the help of a good friend. The second was water cooled and lasted to the end. He swore to never do water cooling again, but recently started changing his mind, because performance was everything. Each one had a name and he loved to share the reasons and details with anyone who would listen. Did you have a question on hardware? He would be happy to help.
The computers were used to play a variety of video games. He loved first-person games that had a single player story. He would forgive lesser gameplay style, as long as a game included a great story. He would let anyone try his VR headset and hoped that others would enjoy his favorite game. He also had a love of epic strategy games, be they based in space, having accurate ship design, or developing a factory the size of a planet. He was smart enough to make them look easy, but would call himself dumb for a simple misstep.
He acquired a love of board games from his family. His favorite was 7 Wonders with most of the expansion packs. If given the choice, that would always be in the game plan on family game nights. During the pandemic, the family started gaming online to stay in touch and are happy to still have that option now. He was overly competitive and would claim that the cards weren't being fair, even though he often won.
Bob loved classic cars and dreamed of having a Corvette at some point. He would have been happy with any car as long as it had a stick shift. He and Jenn even had the "death Civic" for a while until the bumper fell off on the turn into work one morning. But since it had a stick shift, he was happy.
He was easily overwhelmed in crowds, but hid that from others. Many people met him at large events with his mom or any number of events around the community. He was only really comfortable with a group of 6 or less, but enjoyed being the center of attention. He used to shave his head but then grew out his hair at Jenn's request when they started dating. He loved the result of looking like Thor and many will always remember him as a Marvel Norse god.
Bob is survived by his mother, Gail Freedman; step-father, Doug Freedman; sister, Margaret (Scott) Beattie; niece, Fiona Beattie; daughter, Abigail; longtime partner, Jennifer Herron; his grandmother, Barbara Gosh; and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Bob was preceded in death by his father, Robert B. Peck; his grandfathers, Robert A. Peck and James R. Gosh; and his grandmother, Jean Patterson Peck.
His warm smiles, big hugs, and infectious laugh will be missed. He loved others with his full heart, but often forgot to extend that grace to himself. We all remember the good, but he would like you to remember it true. He was no saint, but he was very loved.
Friends and family are invited to join in a celebration of Bob’s life at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at the Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, WI, with visitation from 1:00 p.m. Details to come about more informal gatherings.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations:
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention