Monday, February 23, 2015
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
As if reaching into his own soul, it is conceivable to think Robert Mainone was one with all that inspired him. Through his peaceful and reflective nature, Robert took in the tranquility of starry nights, the awe of the moon, the stillness and solitude found nestled in the hemlocks, and the petals of a flower, truly appreciating all his surroundings had to offer. An incurable romantic, his beautiful personality made him the very essence of the man he was. Sensitive and tender hearted, he held fast to his well defined moral principals, and lived with a graciousness all his own. As a writer and scholar, Robert added much to his field, for which he was well respected, and honored for his works. For these things and so much more, he will be deeply missed, and fondly remembered.
Robert's story began at a time of mixed blessings in our nation. Prohibition was law of the land, and yet after years of economic prosperity during the Roaring Twenties, the fall of the stock market in 1929 was the beginning of bleak financial despair. Despite the Great Depression, families held close to one another, and found much with which to be thankful. For Robert and Nell (Phillips) Mainone, there was nothing more exciting in their lives that year than the February 11 birth of their young son, Robert Franklin Mainone.
Raised in the close knit, rural West Michigan community of Ravenna, Robert's father ran his own business of manufacturing and selling forestry equipment, particularly wood chippers. His mother assisted his father with the business, and remained at home as a homemaker, looking after Robert and his younger sister, Marita. In her free time, Robert's mother was a talented artist who taught Robert an appreciation for the arts.
When Robert was a boy, his father often took him hunting and fishing, and since his earliest years, he explored nature and thrived in the outdoors. He led a typical childhood of the times, yet even in his youth he had a keen sense observing all that was around him. Hemlocks, often referred to as the Redwoods of the east, were very special to Robert. While growing up, he often walked along the creeks, and found solitude in the midst of the Hemlocks. So intrigued, he always looked forward to books his aunts often sent him about Native Americans. Robert attended the area schools and lettered in basketball during his high school years at Ravenna High School, graduating in 1947 as president of his class.
Robert went on to further his education, majoring in forestry at Michigan State University. During the summers, he worked for the Michigan Shade Tree Company. Having attained degrees in both forestry and zoological parks, Robert's passion became his work. As a Ranger Naturist with the National Park Service, he worked at Everglades National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, two places he came to love and was very proud of. Talented in many respects, he also served as the junior curator of the children’s exhibit at the Detroit Zoo.
In 1963, Robert's artistic and reflective nature shown bright when he began writing haiku. He published his first of 11 books in 1964, and went on to receive numerous awards from the Haiku Society of America in 1976, 1977, 1980, 1985, and 1989. Many of his poems include his discerning focus on the changing seasons, bird migration, moon and star analogies, and all things nature which have appeared in international anthologies. Well renowned, collections of his books can be found in ten state and university library archives, as well as in the Museum of Haiku Literature in Tokyo.
While working at the Michigan State University Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, it was in the summer of 1969 when Robert acquired a student teacher. Carolyn Bothwell worked with Robert that summer, after which he became Carolyn's mentor in natural history. He had waited in life to find his soul mate, and in Carolyn, Robert found the love of his life. Over the course of the following three years, Robert never allowed a week to go by without sharing his heart with Carolyn. Each week he sent her a postcard, referencing one of their many experiences together. Even though he was 18 years her senior, Robert had a way about him that simply swept Carolyn off her feet. Deeply in love, they were married on August 12, 1972 at Clear Lake Camp in Dowling, Michigan. From the day she met Robert, Carolyn's life has been like an ongoing field trip with him.
Before Robert and Carolyn were married, he took a year off from his work to fulfill his heart's desires. He penned many a page during his walk along the scenic Lake Michigan shoreline beaches, from Frankfort to Leland, which encompassed a total of 60 miles over a period of eight days. He spent a winter in Florida and canoed the northern streams. When he traveled to Japan, he visited the birthplace of haiku poet, Matsuo Basho at Iga Ueno, and in awe, walked in places where haiku poets have found inspiration since the 17th Century.
Robert was an endless romantic, not only toward his beloved Carolyn, but also in finding true joy in the purity of nature. Together they made their home on seven acres of Kalamazoo moraine, which forms the north shore of Holcomb Lake, one of many kettle lakes near Delton. Here they took in the wonders of solitude, away from the pace of life while enjoying the peacefulness, tranquility and pure beauty of their property. Along with the natural habitat and wildlife, Robert truly enjoyed the variety of birds near their home.
In addition to his accomplishments, Robert's other work experiences include working with the U.S. Geological Survey; the U.S. Air Force Weather Service, the Detroit Zoological Park, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the MSU Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary where he retired in 1991 after 23 years. In his free time, Robert enjoyed reading, all aspects of natural history, bird watching, and playing the marimba. He especially enjoyed listening to jazz, his preferred genre of music.
One of a kind, it was in Robert Mainone's nature to be sensitive to and appreciate everything around him. Perhaps it was the soulful, peaceful presence he encountered, or a longing to be a part of the beauty which surrounded him. His character was a testament to his integrity and moral compass as he lived and enjoyed the life he was given to the fullest. In life Robert found true beauty, and in the moonlight of his life, may he have found the wonder behind a sky full of stars.
Robert F. Mainone, of Delton passed away on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; sister, Marita (John) Donnelly, of Battle Creek; mother-in-law, Mrs. Beryl Bothwell, of Alamo; special cousin, Bruce (Frannie) Brevitz, of Battle Creek; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert H. and Nell Mainone, and father-in-law, William Bothwell.
Robert's family will receive friends on Monday, February 23, 2015 from 2-3pm at Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg (269-649-1697) where the funeral to celebrate his life will follow at 3:00pm at the same location. Please visit Bob’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign his online guestbook, and share a favorite memory and/or photo. Those who wish may make a contribution to the Nature Conservancy and/or charity of choice.
up to his ears
the hunter returns...
in his gamebag
the moon and stars
fields of snow
not only moonlight
but the moon
the New Year's candlelight
in her eyes
- Bob Mainone