Robert Vernon “Bob” Fahnestock, Jr., age 74, of Ottawa, Kansas, passed away on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at Ransom Hospital in Ottawa. Funeral services will be Thursday, April 2nd at 2:00 pm at the Mullinax Funeral Home, Butler (660-679-0009) with Bro. Bill Perkey officiating. Visitation will be from 1:00 to 2:00 pm prior to the funeral service. Burial will follow in Oak Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers contributions are suggested to Kansas City Rescue Mission, 1520 Cherry St. KC, MO 64108, www.kcrm.org. Messages of condolence for the family may be left at http://www.mullinaxfuneralhome.com
Bob was born August 3, 1940 in Butler, Missouri to Robert Vernon Fahnestock, Sr. and Jewell Cordelia (McGuire) Fahnestock. Bob graduated from Butler High School in 1958 and joined the U. S. Navy.
Bob retired from military service with the U.S. Navy (1982) as an electronics technician first class after a 20-year career that spanned duty as a cryptologist; operations supervisor; photographer; radio station operator; radio traffic analyst; military intelligence processor; electronics, nuclear instrument and nuclear power technician; and chemical dependency counselor, instructor and administrator. He served in California; Florida; Washington; Bremerhaven, Germany; Puerto Rico; Kamiseya, Japan; Philippine Islands; Phu Bai, Vietnam; and at sea aboard the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, USS Fulton, USS Nimitz, USS Sailfish, USS Ticonderoga, USS America, and USS Denebola.
His military awards include the Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation (two awards), Navy “E” Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal (with one bronze service star), National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal (four awards), and numerous letters of commendation.
Bob held a master’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare, and a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in social psychology. He earned both academic degrees while working at full-time jobs.
Bob joined the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as an alcoholism counselor at the VA Medical Center, Leavenworth, Kansas in 1982. He later became clinical coordinator for the hospital’s chemical addiction unit. During VAMC employment he became familiar with the Vet Center in Kansas City and volunteered as a c-facilitator for group counseling prior to joining the staff as a counselor in mid-1985. Bob was selected as team leader in Wailuku (Maui), Hawaii, Vet Center and assumed the position in January 1991. He was promoted to Region 4-B deputy regional manager in mid-1993 and in that position he shared managerial responsibility for over 30 Vet Centers in the Pacific Western region. He transferred back to field duty as team leader at Oakland, Calif., Vet Center in July 1997, a position he held until his retirement, in July 2005 with over 40 years of combined federal and military service. Bob opened a private practice in psychotherapy in Solano Country, California and continued this work until September 2009, when he retired and moved with his wife, Keteri, to Ottawa, Kansas.
Bob was simply an exceptional human being. He was a deeply caring and gentle “old-soul”. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, uncle and friend. He always strove to treat others as he wanted to be treated, and to love, as he was loved. Bob had a huge heart. He was friend, counselor and even a father figure to many of his children’s friends. He was a master of self-restraint, preferring to listen, rather than speak, and to speak only if it was true, necessary and kind. His calling in life was to relieve the suffering of others, which he manifested as a social worker for Veterans, his love of family, and his deep friendship with a world-wide host of friends.
Bob would characterize himself as “just a Missouri country boy”, yet Bob was a life-long student and citizen of the world. Bob’s true love of music developed at an early age, when he was part of a family, country western band with his parents, Bob & Jewell, and two brothers, Dan & Jim. Bob carried his music with him around the world as a singer, song writer and performer. Bob spoke through his music and lyrics by writing melodies from the heart. He leaves behind a legacy of recorded music and memories for his family and friends.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, a brother Jim Fahnestock, a son Robert Fahnestock Gentle, and a daughter Robyn Ayn Fahnestock Gentle Strayer.
He is survived by his wife, Keteri of the home; his children, Robert Fahnestock (Charlotte) Basehor, KS; Troy Fahnestock (Jennifer) Kansas City, MO; Chris Fahnestock (Phaedra) Kansas City, MO; Sarah Fahnestock Williams (Kaleb), Kansas City, KS., Mack Blacksmith, Benicia, CA; and Peter Blacksmith, Benicia, CA.; his brother, Daniel J. Fahnestock (Nikki); and sister-in-law, Janet Fahnestock Butler, MO; 13 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, two of which will be born this year.