Robert James ‘RJ’ Modroo
NEWBERRY, MI. – Robert James “RJ” Modroo, 90, of Newberry, Michigan passed away peacefully on his own terms with Mary and Ken at his bedside after a brief but difficult time with a medical issue. All his children had a bedside prayer and remembrance of him later that evening.
RJ was born on Modroo Farm in Russell Township, Ohio. He was the third child of Charles and Mamie Modroo. Two older brothers, Elmer and Harry, are deceased, and Robert was embraced as the Modroo family patriarch.
He is survived by his two sons Allen (Bonnie) of Suttons Bay, MI, Elton (Cathy) of Idaho Falls, ID and his daughter Mary (Ken) of Chagrin Falls, OH. Also surviving are six loving grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and a set of twins on the way. Two other beloved grandchildren are deceased.
During WWII, he saw action in the South Pacific as a US Army scout, where his duties frequently required him to be behind enemy lines.
After the war he moved to Michigan where he met and married Margaret Conant of Elk Rapids, MI. He worked as a gunsmith and gun barrel maker. The couple later moved to the Upper Peninsula where he worked with the Michigan Depart of Conservation as a fire tower officer at “Buck Hill” on the Adams Trail. This was his “Alaska” frontier and where twins Allen and Elton were born – no running water, electricity or phone – only themselves.
He continued to work for the Department of Natural Resources as the Eastern UP District Manager of the Waters Way Division until his retirement. During his long tenure with DNR he instilled his love for and protection of the environment on all of his family, a legacy which now spans multi generations.
Though Margaret’s passing in 2012 was a deep loss, he stayed active hunting, gardening, playing cards and “presiding” at family gatherings. For many years, he was a proud member of his local American Legion where he and his cribbage partners continuously dominated the cribbage tournaments.
RJ was a mechanical wizard, could fix almost anything, and had quite an antique chainsaw collection. Even at age 90, he loved to cut, stack and burn firewood as his main source of heat. He had carefully calculated this yearly need of firewood to the very end.
He was extremely grateful to all who helped him during his last years and talked constantly of how proud he was of his family and friends. He never needed much but gave a lot, and those who knew and loved him truly consider him one of the Great men of the Greatest Generation.
Friends may join with the family on Monday, April 28, 2014 from 9 until 10 am at a visitation to be held at the Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry. Funeral Services will follow at the funeral home at 10:00 am with Pastor Tim Callow of the Newberry United Methodist Church officiating. Interment will be in the spring in W. Lakefield Twp. Cemetery.
The family requests in lieu of flowers please send contributions to Hugh Allen McInnes American Legion Post 74, 1101 S Newberry Ave., Newberry MI 49868 or Newberry United Methodist Church 110 W. Harrie St., Newberry, MI 49868.
Condolences may be expressed at www.beaulieufu neral home.com.
Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry is assisting the family with their arrangements.