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Life Story / Obituary
Robert Frederick Pryzma was successful in all the ways that mattered. He was intelligent and skilled, organized and helpful, charismatic and approachable. To friends and strangers alike, he was charming and easy-going, generous and selfless. He willingly put the interests of others before his own. His positive outlook on life and his great sense of humor made him many friends and loyal colleagues. Above all, his deep love and unwavering support for his family was Bob’s crowning achievement, and being a husband, father, brother and uncle was pure joy.
Robert Frederick was born to Kurt and Eileen (Loop) Pryzma on May 17, 1949 in Washburn, Wisconsin. Following the harsh years of WWII, Americans were optimistic and the economy was robust. Growth in industry and jobs gave workers the opportunity to build homes and start families that launched the baby boom era. Robert was one of five children—Ronald, Mary Anne, Kurt Eric and Richard—who spent his formative years in Pitman, New Jersey. To support the family, Bob’s father worked as a chemical engineer and his mother cared for the children as well as for patients in her profession as a registered nurse.
Young Bob was an energetic, outgoing and determined child. His personality made him popular with adults as well as students, and his work ethic gave him a great deal of respect. Bob had many friends and was elected as class president in high school. He was never without a job and managed to hold down two positions: a farm hand in the fields during the day and then boat builder at night. Still, he was able to carve out time to play sports, especially baseball. Bob was an ace pitcher and threw wins that made his team city champs in Pitman. He was a lifetime sports enthusiast, following baseball, football and hockey and rooting for the Michigan State Spartans, the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and Lions as well as the Philadelphia Eagles.
After graduating from high school, Bob attended Michigan State University for his bachelor’s degree in business administration and then earned a master’s degree in engineering at Lawrence Technological University. His employment ranged from working retail (first at J.C. Penny and then as a recruit of GAP to grow the business in Detroit) to becoming an engineer at Ford Motor Company. Bob was well-respected in his field and travelled all over the U.S. and Europe for the corporation. He retired from Ford in 2010 with the gratitude of a made-in-Michigan industry.
Ford Motors also provided the setting for Bob to meet the woman who became his wife. Deborah Hyduk was working at the company when they met and fell in love. They were married on July 8, 1983 in a ceremony with family and friends, and they bought a home in Farmington Hills to begin their family. Robert Kurt was born in 1985 and would receive the full attention of his parents as their only child. Bob was a doting father, who could be found playing sports, building forts and telling scary stories to Rob and his friends. He helped coach Robbie’s baseball team when the boy was young, and in later years, Bob pitched-in to renovate Rob’s home. He was eager to help in any way, whether mowing the lawn, painting the house or hang Christmas lights (a sweet memory from his childhood).
Bob loved family and thrilled to see it grow with daughter-in-law Danielle (married to Rob in 2015) and his great nieces and nephews. He remained very close with his parents, his siblings—Ron, Mary Anne, Richard and his wife Carol and Rick—as well as his nieces and nephews. Later in life, Bob became friends with Danielle’s family (the Young and Reinke families) as they all celebrated holidays, birthdays, vacations, golf outings and dinners together. Always supportive of Rob and Danielle, Bob even became like a third grandpa to her niece Isabella. Being with family was especially critical when Bob lost his dear Deborah on September 1, 2005.
Though a successful professional, Bob’s life had always rotated around family. He was the glue that pulled everyone together for the holidays or any other reason to gather. For the Christmas season, Bob made a family ritual of going to Frankenmuth for Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, and he was particularly excited to take grand- and great-grand nephews and nieces who had never been before. In his retirement year, Bob took a memorable trip to Hawaii with his son Rob and brother Richard. That threesome also attended many Big 10 basketball tournaments whether or not Bob’s beloved Spartans were playing. He also golfed (he birdied the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Florida), ran marathons, watched sports and followed politics as it was presented on Fox News.
Whether at home or on vacation (especially in Northern Michigan and Florida) Bob kept active. He took long walks and rough-housed with Rob and Danielle's Jack Russell Pug, Baxter, that he considered his grand-dog. He relaxed with a glass of wine or Single Barrel Gentleman Jack whiskey and a good cigar. He put his feet up to watch sports, news and such TV shows as the Sopranos, Last Man Standing and James Bond movies. He and his son shared a similar taste in music (country and the Beach Boys) and Bob’s taste buds favored seafood and ice cream. Bob was always good for a joke or story and he not only amused his listeners with interesting tales but also with this commentary: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!”
Robert Frederick Pryzma passed away Saturday, October 31, 2015 at the age of 66. The Beloved Husband of the late Deborah. Loving Father of Robert K. (Danielle). Dearest Brother of Ronald K., Mary Anne, Kurt Eric, Richard C. (Carol). Dear Uncle of Cathy, Lisa, Eric and Daniel. Visitation Thursday 3-8pm and Funeral Service Friday 11AM at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home 45100 Warren (Between Sheldon and Canton Center). Interment Evergreen Cemetery in East Lansing. In Lieu of flowers memorials may be to the American Cancer Society. He will be sorely missed and lovingly remembered by his dear family and faithful friends. You may share a memory, upload a photo and sign the guest book prior to coming to the funeral home at www.TurowskiLifeStory.com