The riverfront property Robert Mitchler tended for more six decades might provide the best testament to the life he lived.
, but the large, iconic American flag still flapped in the wind outside his home Friday afternoon. He lived along the Fox River, off Route 34 between Yorkville and Oswego, with his wife, Helen.
“The time he could spend by himself, or with (his sons), or with Mom working on the property were the best memories he had,” his son, Kurt Mitchler, said.
The veteran who enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941, fighting in both World War II and the Korean War, had the American flag flying in front of the home 24 hours a day. He replaced it four or five times as the wind and weather required. Saluting sailor figures decorated the landscape along the driveway, and the Navy bell that called his children home in the days before text messaging still stood on a post outside the back door.
Before he enlisted in the Navy, he worked for Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, so when a caboose became available in the early 70s, he put it with its original wheels on a rail bed in his backyard.
His service to his country didn’t end with the Navy. Mitchler represented the area in the State Senate from 1964 to 1981 and served as Legislative Liaison with the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs through July 1991.
Mitcher also served on the Kendall County Republican Central Committee as a past member of its Executive Committee and as a precinct committeeman for more than 50 years in Bristol Township. "Senator Bob," as he was known to many, called himself a Young Republican for 54 years.
He loved to tell stories about his work and his early years in the state legislature, Kurt said. He held steadfast to his principals and beliefs, and loved his country, Kendall County and the Fox Valley.
He made an impression on those he met.
“He was an individual who could fast make friends with anyone,” Kurt said. “He could walk into a room and whether it was filled with young people, or his contemporaries, he would always fit in.”
Funeral Services and Memorial Information
His visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at in Yorkville, concluding with a Masonic service at 8 p.m. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28, at Larson-Nelson Funeral Home. Interment will follow in Spring Lake Cemetery in Aurora.
Memorials may be made in his name to Aurora University Nurses Scholarship Fund or the Senator Robert W. and Helen Drew Mitchler Scholarship Fund in care of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, 111 W. Downer Place, Suite 312, Aurora, IL 60506.