Funeral Services for Robert Paul Ketzle, 92, of Rock Island, formerly of Reynolds and Aledo will be Thursday at 11:00 AM at Speer Funeral Home, Aledo. Burial will be in Reynolds Cemetery. Visitation is Thursday from 9 to 11 AM at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Hamlet-Perryton Presbyterian Church.
Robert died on Monday, January 2, 2006 at the Mercer County Hospital, Aledo.
Robert was born to Paul C. & Eva (Harbour) Ketzle on December 7, 1913 on the home farm in Perryton Township, Mercer County, Illinois. He was one of nine children and the grandson of Henry Ketzle, a civil war veteran. He graduated from Reynolds and Aledo High School and attended Roosevelt Military Academy in Aledo and Bradley University, Peoria.
Robert and his wife, the former Jean Close, celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary, having married on June 14, 1941 in the Close home near Hamlet.
Robert managed the Hamlet Mutual Insurance Company for 35 years, retiring in 1979. The company, the oldest business in the Hamlet-Reynolds area, was founded in 1875 by a group of men, including Robert’s grandfather, Henry Ketzle, who became secretary-treasurer and was succeeded by his son, Paul, and grandson, Robert.
In the insurance field, Robert served on the Illinois Association of Mutual Insurance Companies board and on the advisory committee for Grinnell Reinsurance Company.
Robert was treasurer of the Reynolds United Methodist Church for 23 years and was instrumental in building the new parsonage. Upon moving to Aledo, he transferred his membership to Aledo United Methodist Church. He was president of the Reynolds Cemetery Association for 10 years. While living in Aledo, he was a member of Oak View County Club.
Robert’s interests included photography, bridge, rose gardening, and sports, having played baseball and lettering in basketball at Reynolds and Aledo High Schools. He was also a world-wide traveler. After retirement, winter months were spent in Hawaii for 25 years, where he enjoyed playing golf on all the Hawaiian Islands. He witnessed 2 volcanoes erupting at the same time on the Big Island of Hawaii by flying over them at night. This simultaneous eruption had not happened in over 100 years. His travels took him to all the continents but Antarctica. He saw the glaciers of Alaska and New Zealand; rode a mule to the top of one of the Greek Islands; traveled by camel to the Gaza Pyramid in Egypt; walked in King Tut’s tomb and among the ruins of Karnak, Thebes and Luxor in the Valley of the Gods. Participated in a week’s safari near the Great Reef Valley; had high tea in the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong; acted as a boater on the canals of Bangkok; visited the World’s Fair in Japan and Canada and rubber plantations in Malaysia; walked the streets of Heidelberg, Germany, where his grandfather, Henry Ketzle, attended the University; explored beautiful palaces in Europe; prayed in temples in Jerusalem and Rome; visited the islands of Fiji, Tahiti, Philippines, and Isle of Capri; rode in a gondola in Venice; explored the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world; drove by beautiful fjords of Scandinavia; sailed on the Nile and Danube Rivers and cruised on the Queen Elizabeth II to New Zealand. Of great interest to him was the Panama Canal Cruise as his Uncle Ben Ketzle served as an engineer in the canal’s construction.
Robert is survived by his wife, Jean; 2 sisters: Mary Simpson and Ione Gobble both of Mesa, AZ; a sister-in-law, Mary Ketzle of Schertz, TX; 5 nephews and 3 nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents; five brothers, Ralph, Clarke, Morris, Arlo, and Henry; a sister, Ruth Stead and a niece, Marienne French.