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There’s no doubt about it – dad is going to be very mad about the fact that we’re penning this obituary. Saying goodbye to a life he so dearly loved was something he did not want to do—absolutely not—but after a brief and difficult illness and a debilitating fall at home, it was time to allow him to sail away from us at age 83. And when we say “us”, we mean everyone who loved him. We felt that collective love throughout this past month, and are sincerely grateful for every bit of it.
Bob was the third child born to Herbert and Marie (Erdman) Albright, entering the world on a cold February 9th day, 1940. There was no hospital for Bobby though, he came into the world at home, on his family’s farm in Borth. His parents and two siblings—Arden and Arlene—were there to welcome him. Herbert worked as a journeyman carpenter and Marie worked on the farm to help support the family.
That farm in Borth likely began Bob’s deep appreciation for small-town, Wisconsin life. Though he would travel many times in adulthood, he was most content with the simple pleasures life in the Midwest afforded him. He really loved it here.
Bob attended a one room schoolhouse in Borth until his family moved to Oshkosh during his grade school years. He went on to Dale, then Merrill schools, and graduated from Oshkosh High School in 1957. He attended UW-Oshkosh for three years, then entered the Army National Guard and was activated to service during the Berlin Crisis.
In addition to serving his country, Bob also worked diligently in the family business—Albright & Sons—along with his father and brother, practicing his skills as a journeyman mason.
In 1963 Bob married a young woman by the name of Nancy Glidden. Bob met Nancy through his older brother Arden; Arden bought a house next to Nancy’s parents and she was their neighborhood babysitter (though she never really liked the job). The two hit it off, and the rest, as they say, is history. Bob and Nancy tied the knot on May 4, and remained married for 60 happy years.
Bob and Nancy had four children—Cary (Robert) Garofalo; Rebecca (Jim) LaDue; Robert Jr. (Amy) Albright and Michael Albright. He liked to have his family close by, clearly making that known, and ultimately had his immediate family around him for most of his happy life. Those four children gave him 10 grandchildren—Bob, Cal, Julia, Charlie, Libby, Cami, John, Victoria, Bobby, and Charlotte—and he liked them close by too, with endless Sunday suppers serving as weekly check-ins (and a good chance of scoring some homemade desserts).
Bob went on to own and operate R.J. Albright Construction for 53 years, the latter part of those years alongside his two sons, Bob and Mike. He was a guy who truly loved to work, and kept his hands full with an endless string of projects until his very last days. Nancy says it best when she describes him as a “builder, developer, property owner, and a man of many enterprises.” He can also be described as a man of few words, with a kind heart and a dedication to everything he did; he always showed up when you needed it.
But no matter how busy Bob kept himself between his rising hour of 4 a.m. and that night’s sleep (his son Bob Jr. claims his superpower was “to just keep going”) he loved making time for his friends. And he had a lot of them—from the fearsome foursome of his younger years to his bar/card buddies at Tilly’s, or his Circle of Knowledge group in the village—he would find you for a sit and a visit over a black coffee or a “white gas” (always a tub, never a pint…that’s just more soda, not booze). We know how much he’ll miss that—and how much he’ll be missed.
A visitation for Bob will be on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at Mueller Funeral Home 904 E. Main St. Winneconne, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with services beginning at 1:00 p.m. A private burial will follow in the Winneconne Cemetery with a Celebration of Life at the Fin ‘n’ Feather immediately following the services.
If you wish, please submit online condolences/memories to muellerfh.net.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to the Albright Next Generation Fund within the Winneconne Area Community Foundation (https://tinyurl.com/27zys257).
The family sincerely thanks the staff members of ThedaCare Regional Medical Center for their kind care of Bob during these last weeks, most especially Dr. Hamed, nurses Jean and Lisa and hospice nurse Jolene Hasse.
“Like a rock, I was strong as I could be
Like a rock, nothin' ever got to me
Like a rock, I was something to see
Like a rock.”