Feb. 26, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The funeral is today, Monday, Feb. 26, for Bob Pick Jr.
Pick passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday, Feb. 16 after a brief illness at Froedert Hospital in Milwaukee. He was a month shy of his 77th birthday.
Bobby was the eldest of five children born in West Bend to Robert and Lois Pick on March 18, 1941. He attended McLane Grade School, St. John’s Military Academy (Delafield), and West Bend High School where he participated in baseball, basketball, golf and cross country. As a youth, he became fascinated by the intricate and lost art of keeping the detailed record of a baseball game and was taught by by his father, an avid baseball fan, how to do it. Bobby honed this skill and it stayed with him his whole life as he became renown in southeastern Wisconsin for his precise official recordings of high school, college, and recreation league games. In 2017 he was inducted into the West Bend Baseball Association Wall of Fame and recognized for his dedication to meticulous scorekeeping over 50 years.
Following graduation from high school, Bobby enlisted in the US Navy and went through basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Lake County, Illinois. He served in a number of locations including White Sands Missle Range in New Mexico, but his most notable tour of duty was aboard the USS Enterprise for a number of it’s missions retrieving astronauts and spacecraft after splashdown. After his Navy service, Bobby lived for a short time in Florida before returning to Washington County where he lived out his life, as did his father, grandfather, and great grandfather, and great great grandftather.
Former high school, collegiate and pro baseball standout and Wisconsin Hall of Fame coach Doug Gonring said about Bobby, “Bob, was the best teammate on a baseball field I ever had… Bob showed young men what was imperfect in baseball and what is so perfect that baseball is. He showed them respect, accountability, and dedication but most of all, for 30 years he showed each team or family how important it is to have friends. “
Over his life, Bobby held a number of jobs in shoe and record sales, landscaping, and food service. He spent several years working at the Slinger Foundry and was elected president of the union.
Robert Pick is survived by sister Suzanne “Suzie” Pick Leto of Carpentersville, Illinois, brother Carl “Cappy”A. (Barbara) Pick of Honolulu, Hawaii, daughter Michelin K. Pick of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and son Robert “Robbie” B. Pick III of West Bend, as well as nephew Anthony Pick and niece Amy (Chris) O’ Neal. He was proceeded in death by his parents Robert B & Lois J Pick, youngest brother Andrew “Andy” Pick, youngest sister Jenny Rose Pick, and nephew Timothy A. Leto.
A Memorial Mass in remembrance of Robert will be held on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 3 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 148 S. 8th Ave., West Bend. Mother Mindy Valentine Davis will preside over the service.
The family will greet relatives and friends at the church on Monday from 1:00 p.m. until 2:50 p.m.
The Myrhum Patten Miller & Kietzer Funeral Homes have been entrusted with Robert’s
Bob Pick Jr. died the evening of Friday, Feb. 16 at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
Doug Gonring was with Pick in his final hours. “I really didn’t know his condition and I walked into his room and asked him what he was doing lying around because we had spring training right around the corner,” said Gonring.
Doctors spoke with Doug and his wife Karen. The Gonrings spent several hours at Pick’s bedside. They even held a cell phone to his ear as Pick’s sister Suzanne offered a prayer to her older brother and reassured him it was OK to be with the Lord.
“I said if you hear God’s voice and you want to go to heaven you can go,” said Suzanne. “I release you because they told me you’re very sick. I told him you can see mom and dad and Jenny and Tim and I prayed for him. I said right now Bobby be at peace with other people so you can be in heaven.”
Gonring said the prayer drove everyone in the room to tears.
After the Gonrings returned home Friday evening they received a call around 6:40 p.m. that Pick had died.
Gonring penned a piece for Pick’s obituary – Bob was the best teammate on a baseball field I ever had 30 years of never missing a game, take that back he missed one because of some dental work. Bob showed young men what was imperfect in baseball and what is so perfect about baseball. He showed them respect, accountability, and dedication but most of all for 30 years he showed each team or family how important it is to have friends. Bob, by his own account, never was good enough to play but boy did he show us how to be a great scorekeeper and do it with his unique humor. Will be missed by my family.
Other tributes and memorials are below.
Robert C. Pick III – Thank you for being a great father and for all you did for the city of West Bend.
B.J. Royes – Indeed, Bob was a West Bend legend. Never anything negative to say about the athletes, the coaches, or the officials – just a loyal supporter of local athletics. He loved to be seen and to be a part of the scene. I’ll miss Bob shuffling into the Fieldhouse or into Regner Park – a hot dog in one hand, and his brown leather bag hung over his shoulder. RIP old friend.
Jerry Mehring – My memories of Bob Pick go back to our High School days. He was behind me in High School. Every day when he met someone new at school he would offer them a stick of gum from his “Gold Gumtainer.” It was a gold colored container that held a pack of gum with a flip lid. He was so proud of it. After High School Bob and his sister Jenny went into the Navy. When they would be home on leave you would see them both walking up and down Main Street on Friday nights.When we had the Dairy Queen, on South Main Bob would come in every week during football and basketball season to make sure our manager had the home game schedules so that they would schedule enough help to handle the crowd after the games. When ever you would meet Bob around town he always had a memory or story or joke. He was definitely a fixture in West Bend and I will be missed by many including me.
Feb. 16, 2018 – West Bend, WI – A piece of West Bend died on Friday night, Feb. 16, as word came out of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee that Bob Pick Jr. passed away. Pick entered the hospital on Tuesday, Feb. 13 after being found unconscious; he declined thereafter. `
Doctors indicated Pick may have had meningitis.
The news comes as a shock to many as Pick was a fixture in West Bend, especially at sporting events.
“It will be hard for any male or female athlete that went through the West Bend High School system in the last 40 years, not to have a memory of Bob Pick,” said West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.
“He made an impact on literally thousands of people, he was a guy who was always in a good mood, a guy who always thought he had a funny joke…. whether they were or not … he was just an icon on every athletic field, gym or court in West Bend and across Wisconsin.”
Pick was part of the fabric of the community. He would approach anyone and engage them in conversation. The icebreaker was normally to ask about your high school and then he’d proceed to give the teams nickname, the mascot and list some high profile athletes from that school.
Former coach and major league player Willie Mueller of West Bend said Bob’s been “a part of the baseball scene and such a helpful person for years.”
“He was a unique kinda guy but he will be truly missed,” said Mueller.
The sporting community wrapped its arms around Bob Pick, many said you “couldn’t help it, he was everywhere.”
“If there was anything going on he was at that game and he’d always bring scorecards or programs back,” said Mueller. “It was truly amazing what he did. If the 7UP team was playing he’d come in after the high school games were done or he’d be walking down and getting a burger or brat and he’d have his Navy hat on.
“You know, sometimes people would get a little frustrated with Bob but his heart was always in the right spot.”
In 2017 Bob Pick was inducted into the West Bend Baseball Association Wall of Fame and recognized for his dedication to meticulous score keeping for over 50 years.
“Good evening friends of baseball. This ride has lasted over half a century and the reason that’s happened is because I’ve lived long enough,” said Pick.
“West Bend is a baseball town,” said Pick. “People have a passion for the sport. I thank the Association for the award and for the friendships that came with it.“
Former Dean Paul Price, Whitney Bastian, Sean Sprtel, Bob Pick
Deb Butschlick, athletic director at UW-Washington County, said Bob’s dad started the Robert D. Pick Male and Female Athlete of the Year Award in 1988. “Once his parents passed Bob always represented the family at our athletic banquets,” said Butschlick. “Bob always greeted the student athletes and talked to them and he was always a big part of that.”
Amber Herbst, Bob Pick and Jeremy Ehley
Mitch Knox played for the West Bend Lithia baseball team in 1983. “Bob was one of the friendliest guys you would ever meet; I don’t know that he ever knew a stranger,” said Knox. “He was always on the ball field or the track or cross country.”
Knox said Bob Pick would always come armed with a gift, either a simple scorecard or a t-shirt. “He knew I went to Kentucky and the next thing you know he gives me a shirt from Kentucky for the kids.”
Knox recalled another time, years ago, when he was with Bob Pick at a Foghat concert at the old MECCA in Milwaukee. “Bob was with us and he ended up knowing the security guard and he got us all in for free,” laughed Knox.
“And he took in his bag of peanuts and his warm skim milk in a bag. I remember we went to a Milwaukee Brewer game too and he knew the security guard there as well,” said Knox.
Funeral arrangements for Bob Pick are pending. He was 76 years old and would have turned 77 next week.