Cover photo for Robert R. Keberlein's Obituary
Robert R. Keberlein Profile Photo
1941 Robert 2024

Robert R. Keberlein

October 2, 1941 — April 14, 2024

Sturgeon Bay

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Robert (Señor) Keberlein, age 82 of Sturgeon Bay, WI went peacefully to God’s heavenly kingdom on April 14th, 2024 surrounded by his beloved family.  He was born to Clarence and Margaret (Polakowski) Keberlein on October 2, 1941 in Appleton, WI. 

Robert was the oldest of ten children and lived an incredible life filled with love, laughter, and kindness.  He grew up in Menasha, WI and as a young boy worked with his brother Ron to run a large paper route and used the earnings to help support his family.  Helping and lifting others up would be a life-long staple of who he was.  Upon completing his primary education at St. Mary’s Catholic High School, began his collegiate career at the UW-Menasha extension before going on to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Not having the resources to continue studying, after one year, he joined the newly formed Peace Corps in 1963.  He was assigned and served 3 years in Guatemala where he lived in the very remote village of San Manuel Chaparrón, Jalapa.  There he worked with local leaders to lift up an entire region by building schools and bridges and potable water systems, many of which still stand operational today.  His time in Guatemala is marked by lifelong friendships and adventures and is where he met his wife, Edith Gutierrez.  After marrying, Robert and Edith returned to Wisconsin where he finished his undergraduate degree in teaching at UW-Oshkosh before they ultimately settled down in the town of Sturgeon Bay, WI and raised two sons, Douglas and Miguelito.  His wife and sons would return to Guatemala regularly for significant time as Robert felt passionately that his sons should have the opportunity to develop a deep appreciation for that aspect of their heritage

He became the high school Spanish teacher in Sturgeon Bay, a role he revered for over 35 years, and soon became known to everyone in the surrounding area as “Señor.”  His love of teaching incorporated not only the basic language skills, but cultural aspects of cooking, music, and travel.  At a time when travel abroad was not yet easily accessible from a small town in WI, he began a tradition of taking students on educational trips to Spain, Mexico, and Guatemala each year and brought his particular love of all people to what he hoped to impart on his students. The Spanish names that his students chose for themselves never escaped him and so many would come back to visit after decades, sharing their own adventures and his impact on their lives. Some of his proudest moments stemmed from students sharing how many Spanish college credits they were granted because of what they had learned under his tutelage and the many who would go on to study or live abroad.

Upon retirement, he took on his most cherished title of Grandpa.  His three granddaughters, Sophia (18), Isabella (16), and Magdalena (15) gave him so many moments of joy with their own educational journeys, music, sports, and theatre.  They were with him until the very end of his days and he felt such great pride in how amazingly kind and fierce each one of them has become.  

There is little doubt this recapturing of his life cannot truly do justice to all that he was or all that he did.  He was an educator and one of the first Peace Corps Volunteers ever to serve in Guatemala; he dedicated his life to making the world a better place for those around him; a raconteur; a traveler; a gardener; a counselor; a lover of opera, cooking, and fine cuisine; a brother to nine siblings, a father to two sons, a godfather to over 50 children; a true friend; and so many other wonderful things.  

He is survived by his former wife, Edith Keberlein; his son Douglas and his wife Katherine Keberlein and their two daughters Sophia and Magdalena; Michael and his wife Dannesa Keberlein and their daughter Isabella; his siblings Kurt (Michelle) Keberlein, Joyce Ziolkowski, Mary Keberlein, Paula (Fred) Endter, and Cheryl (Rod) Wolf; his siblings-in-law, Yvonne Keberlein, Dianne Keberlein, John Strebe, Lidia Gutierrez, and Rosalinda Gutierrez, many other extended relatives, and dear friends.  

The family is forever grateful to all those who cared for and loved him.  A special thanks to those at the Door County Hospital, The Sheridan at River Forest, and Bristol Hospice for always treating him with such dignity and respect.  

A mass will be held on May 30th at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Menasha, WI at 11:00am with a celebration of life luncheon to follow.  Visitation at the church will be from 9-11am.  His final resting place will be near many other family members who have preceded him at St. Mary’s Cemetery.  

The family asks that in lieu of flowers or any other gift that you honor Señor by simply doing what he would have wanted most – spread kindness and help others.  

With immense gratitude,

The Keberlein Family

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert R. Keberlein, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, May 30, 2024

9:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St Mary Catholic Church Menasha

528 2nd St, Menasha, WI 54952

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St Mary Catholic Church Menasha

528 2nd St, Menasha, WI 54952

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

St. Mary Cemetery Menasha

1200 Racine Rd, Menasha, WI 54952

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