Robert Barenklau, 44 of Paola, Kansas passed away Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at the Olathe Hospice House surrounded by his loving family. Funeral services will be 1:00 PM Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the Fire House Gymnasium, 202 E. Wea St. in Paola, Kansas. Visitation will be Friday evening from 4 – 8 PM at the gymnasium. Interment will follow services in Osawatomie Cemetery, Osawatomie, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to the Kids’ Education Fund, Firefighter Fund, or Miami County Cancer Foundation. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Mullinax Funeral Home of Butler, Missouri (660-679-0009) and messages for the family may be left at www.mullinaxfuneralhome.com.
Robert (Rob, D-Bob, Bobby, Bear) Shane Barenklau, 44, passed away January 6, 2016 at Olathe Hospice House after a long, courageous battle with colon cancer.
Robert was born on April 20, 1971 in Paola, Kansas to Gerald & Dixie Barenklau. He spent his childhood living in Paola and attended Paola schools, graduating from Paola High School with the Class of 1989. He attended Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, AZ where he obtained his degree in automotive technology in 1990.
Robert was very active as a young man, playing baseball during the summer on the Paola little league/Babe Ruth teams. He spent a lot of time going to softball games to watch his sister, Kim Barenklau. He spent a lot of time swimming in the old Paola pool in Wallace Park and diving off the old diving boards with his friends and classmates. He loved playing with neighbors in the neighborhood and sneaking out of his bedroom window at night to play with them. He was one of the first male yell leaders while he was in middle school and played defense and offense for Paola Panthers football, and was a member of the baseball team. He was proud of the team accomplishments and missed playing sports after he grew older. He supported his hometown teams proudly.
After graduating high school, he worked at Webco Manufacturing where he worked the night shift welding. After obtaining his automotive degree he got a job at a new car company that was just starting – Saturn in Olathe, Kansas. He began in February 1991 and worked there until the company shut its doors in October of 2009. He made many life long friends there and that family held a very special place in his heart. He began working for V&H Trucks, Inc. in New Century (Gardner), KS in 2010 and worked there until December 2015. After he was no longer able to build the large trucks at V&H, they opened a position in the parts department so he could continue his employment there. He was very thankful for the support he received and their understanding during his fight.
He became a member of the Osawatomie Volunteer Fire Department (OZFD) in 2008 and found something he loved doing. Turning wrenches was a way to provide a living, but being a member of the Fire Department, was something that he lived for. He enveloped this group of guys and gals and made them family. This brotherhood helped hold him up during a very long, hard, physical struggle, and will be forever family. His favorite things were to keep his brothers safe by providing traffic control and the toy delivery every December. He spent almost every day at the department, working through a long to-do list while looking for employment.
Robert met his wife, Amy Gillogly, while cruising the Paola Square and they began dating while seniors in high school. They worked together at Price Chopper in Paola before moving to Phoenix for school. Many memories were made together during their lives. They dated for several years before marrying on September 16, 1995 in Paola, Kansas. They celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last September.
Robert and Amy became the parents of Haley Cheyenne on September 2, 1999. He was so excited to have a girl and talked about all the things he would teacher her. He knew they would be life long friends and looked forward to having her in his life. September 11, 2003 brought Chase Dakota into their lives and completed Robert’s family. He loved his children fully and was very proud of them and who they are growing up to be. He wanted to be involved in every aspect of their lives and wanted to teach them about his love for fishing and hunting, but will rely on family and friends to carry out those desires. He was an amazing father and friend to both of his children.
He and his sister, Kim, had a very close, tight knit bond and he tried to always involve her in his and his children’s lives. He wanted her to know that she was part of his family, and have the support and love through tough times.
Robert was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer in February 2011. He fought against this disease with every tool and treatment available to him for almost 5 years. He continued to work and provide for his family until about a month before his death. He gave everything he had to try to defeat this disease.
He had a strong desire to not be a burden on his family in his last few days. When it became evident to him that the end was near, he asked to be moved to the hospice house. Upon arrival at the hospice house, nursing staff was moving Robert to his bed when he felt it was time to go. He fought as hard as he could but, he passed on his own terms, with grace. He chose his final call without the tones.
He was a supporter of Cops for Tots in Miami County, KC Guns ’n Hoses benefit ride and walked in the Miami County Relay for Life each year after his diagnosis in support of his friends and family. He loved Miami County and the Paola and Osawatomie communities and was proud to be a lifelong resident.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Gerald & Dixie Barenklau and his mother-in-law, Ila Gillogly, and grandparents.
He is survived by his loving family; wife Amy Barenklau, and his children Haley and Chase of Paola, Kansas. His sister Kim Barenklau of Olathe, KS and a half sister, Viva Dix (John) of Jerome, MO and a half brother, Brad Ruddell (Kathy), of Greenwood, MO. Two sisters-in-law, Joyce Cantrell and Holly McLain (Royce), of Harrisonville, MO. Many nieces and nephews and a very large extended family of firefighters and loving friends.