Robert Dian

Sep 30th 1956 - Jun 21st 2013

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LIFESTORY:

Bob Dian loved to stir up the world around him, just to see what would happen. From his wicked sense of humor to his outrageous behavior, Bob always kept the people around him on their toes – and they loved him for it. He lived his life to the fullest, and took great joy in simple pleasures: fireworks, top-shelf liquor, “Mugwump sundaes,” and hanging out with friends who were just as much trouble as he was. Bob’s energy, stubborn individualism, and ability to find humor in every situation will live on in the memories of all those whose lives he touched; he was deeply loved, and will be deeply missed.

The 1950s were a time of transition in the United States, a time when the nation both recovered from World War II and became increasingly involved in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Robert A. “Bob” Dian was born in the middle of this decade, on September 30, 1956, and shared his birth year with the invention of the video recorder, the completion of the first transatlantic telephone cable, and the release of Elvis Presley’s first hit song.

Bob’s proud parents, Albert and Florentine (Bittner) Dian, lived in Gary, Indiana, where Albert owned a grocery store with his brothers. Florentine was a homemaker – no small task, with seven children in the family! Bob was a bundle of energy from day one. He soon developed a wicked sense of humor, and loved playing with fire. When the time came for Bob to go to school, he attended classes at the Catholic school – it was his sisters’ job to make sure he got ready every day. When Bob was 12 years old, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and had to spend many boring days in the hospital. It was around this time that Bob discovered McDonald’s, and his dad often surprised Bob with a bag of tasty takeout.

As a teenager, Bob loved having fun with a close group of friends. He graduated from Andrean High School in 1975, and went on to pursue an undergraduate degree at Indiana University. Bob chose a dual major in math and history, and eventually ended up having 3 bachelor degrees from Indiana University. He also managed to meet his first wife, Jennifer Bryant. They would be married for nineteen years, during which time Bob was thrilled to become the father of two wonderful children: Romana and Roxanne. Bob and his family lived in the Chicago area until 1988, when Bob moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to work for Pfizer in the I.T. department. In 1992, Bob’s illness became too serious to carry on his work, and he had to go on disability (he had been in a wheelchair since 1989, and his vision was deteriorating).

Bob met his second wife, Cindy Pierce, in an unusual, perhaps even one-of-a-kind way: he had run up a large telephone bill calling personal ads in the Shopper Newspaper, and had to call the phone company to settle the account. Cindy was the operator who took the call, and Bob asked her out over the phone! Cindy checked Bob out before agreeing, and found that they had lots in common: a love of science fiction, intelligence, and a willingness to use humor in any and all situations. Their first outing was a trip to Mackinaw Island, and included a side trip to Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant. They got hooked on the slots, and left with a tidy profit of $80 in hand! Although Bob was frugal in other respects, he was always willing to spend the money to create romance for his “wifey.”

Bob and Cindy were married on September 23, 2005, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They had originally planned to be married on a riverboat on the Mississippi, but a hurricane ruined their plans. So, they got married at the Disability Network Office instead, with a Mardi Gras themed celebration. They settled down in Wyngate Farms in Oshtemo, and enjoyed spending their weekends in Chicago. Closer to home, Bob enjoyed listening to hard rock, volunteering at Disability Network, and listening to books on tape (even though Bob was legally blind, he managed to see what he wanted to see!). Each year, he looked forward to passing out candy at Halloween, and invariably managed to consume more than he distributed. Recently, Bob was pleased to be able to attend his granddaughter Deborah’s eighth-grade graduation, and afterwards took her out for celebratory burgers and ice cream at Culver’s (one of his favorite restaurants).

Sadly, Bob was hospitalized just after Thanksgiving Day of 2012. He never could stand to follow rules, and even in the hospital he pushed the envelope! He pulled all kinds of stunts, and the wheelchair only seemed to make him bolder. Despite his impulsive and sometimes cantankerous behavior, however, his wife and others still loved him. The MS eventually began to affect Bob’s mind, and he had to go into a rehab care facility. He was taken to Kairos Dwelling, where he died shortly after.

Mischievous and impulsive, energetic and sarcastic, Bob was an incorrigible jokester, a loving husband, father, and grandfather, and a good friend. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by his many friends and family members.

Mr. Robert “Bob” A. Dian died on June 21, 2013, at the age of 56. Bob’s family includes his wife of 7 years, Cindy Dian; his step-daughter, Jodi Williams; his daughters, Romana and Roxanne Dian; four grandchildren; and his siblings, Jean (Dave) Starr, Donna (Michael) Harvey, Joe (Margie) Dian, Peg Kost, and Julie (Tom) Reed. He was preceded in death by his parents; and by his sister, Alice Koby.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo (6080 Stadium Drive, 375-2900), followed by luncheon where you will be able to enjoy Bob's favorite Mugwump sundaes in the Life Story Center. Memorial donations may be directed to Kairos Dwelling or Disability Network Southwest Michigan. Please visit Bob’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can learn more about his life, share a favorite memory or photo, and sign the online guestbook.

Robert Dian