Robert Carl Serfas

MARQUETTE, MI. Robert Carl Serfas, age 88, of Marquette, entered eternal life Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, in the loving, comforting care of his family.

Born July 11, 1924 in Marquette, a son of Lester and Martha (Zintman) Serfass, Bob was raised in Marquette and graduated from the Graveraet High School. He entered the US Navy in 1943, serving until his honorable discharge in 1946. During his Naval career, he was a member of the Navy Task Group that was responsible for the capture of U-505, a German U-boat, that contained codebooks, Enigma machine, and other secret materials that assisted Allied code breaking operations. The Navy classified the capture as top secret and prevented its discovery by the Germans. The ship was one of six U-boats that were captured by Allied forces during World War II, and the first warship to be captured by US forces on the high seas since the War of 1812. For their efforts, the Task Group received a Presidential Unit Citation following the war. In 1954, U-505 was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and is now a museum ship.

On August 2, 1947, Bob married the former Viola A. Nickel in Traunik and together the couple established a home and raised their children in Marquette. For over 20 years, Bob served as Classified Advertising Manager at the Mining Journal and later was employed as a custodian at the Marquette Medical Center for 15 years before retiring. Bob was a self-taught musician, proficient on the harmonica and guitar, enjoyed cooking and baking, especially for family dinners on Wednesday evenings, was an enthusiastic Detroit Tiger, Red Wing, and Chicago Cubs fan, and often visited the casino. He played in the cribbage league at the Marquette Senior Center and enjoyed the companionship of his league partner, Barb Goretzka. After he moved to the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, he enjoyed the bingo games at the facility. Bob was a member of the Calvary Lutheran Church.

Survivors include his daughter, Barbara A. (Pete) Gillis of Sparks, NV; sons, Robert H. (Debra L. Smith) Serfas of Marquette and Daniel Serfas of Casco Township; his grandchildren, Danny (Carla) Serfas, Jennifer (Brian) Hopkins, Jeff, Jim (Terri), and Jody (Marci) Dauphinais; step grandchildren, Brandi, Amy and Danielle Gillis; great-grandchildren, Samuel, Ariel, Dawson, Darien, Brendan, Parker, Carson, Dakota, and Amelia; brothers, Raymond Surfass of Gwinn, John Misener of Eugene, OR; sisters, Noreen Corsi of Iron Mountain, MI, Joan Whaley of Battle Creek, MI, and Betty Long of Alpine, CA; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Viola in 2003; a son, Roger Serfas in 1993; sister, Verna Van Buren; and brother, Albert Serfass.

The family will receive relatives and friends at the Calvary Lutheran Church on Monday, May 20, from 12:00 noon until the time of service at 1:00 pm. Rev. Joel Fleischer, pastor, will officiate and inurnment will be made in the Park Cemetery with veteran’s honors provided by members of Jopling Post 44 of the American Legion. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Activity Fund at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, 425 Fisher Street, Marquette, MI 49855 or the Marquette Senior Center, 300 W. Spring Street, Marquette, MI 49855.

The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family where condolences may be expressed online at