Dr. Robert S. Yuill died peacefully at his home in Harvey, MI, surrounded by family, on February 8, 2020, at the age of 82.
Rob grew up in Vanderbilt, Michigan, and during his high school years worked in his father’s quarry drilling and blasting. He received a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College. As part of the school’s program, he worked at a number of cooperative jobs throughout the country and spent six months in Europe where he worked in a steel mill in Germany and for the World Council of Churches Refugee Service in Austria.
Rob went on to earn a PhD in geography, after which he taught for four years at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Following that, he was appointed Professor of Geography at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant where he taught for 27 years, serving as department chair for 8. He retired to Marquette in 1997.
Rob married Christine Kramer in 1963 and they had two children, Stephen and Martha. Music was a very important part of Rob’s life. For 70 years he sang in various choral groups, and he and Chris sang in church choirs throughout their married life.
He directed the bell choir at the First Presbyterian Church for 11 years. Composing was another facet of his music, with pieces written for friends, instrumental groups, and choruses.
Rob enjoyed hiking with Chris and their children, especially in areas of the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. At age 60 Rob expanded that interest to include backpacking as well. Upon moving to Marquette, he became a member of the Thoreau Sauntering Club which took monthly hikes all over the Upper Peninsula.
Rob also found great pleasure in birdwatching. He and Chris identified 130 different species of birds at their Riverside home, and they took several birding trips across the country. Rob also had the opportunity to travel to Antarctica to observe birds and other wildlife (though he said it was really to acclimate to Marquette winters).
Boating was a particular passion of Rob’s. He and Chris used to canoe on the Chocolay River in all seasons. He was an accomplished sailor, having taught himself with small boats on inland lakes before graduating to the Great Lakes where he spent over 30 years enjoying the water. In 2008 he was able to realize a lifelong dream with the purchase of his own cruising sailboat. He and Stephen completely renovated it over an 8 year period. They often sailed in high winds that kept others in harbor. In later years, he and special friend Sandy Neibaur enjoyed doing many things together, including canoeing, hiking, dining out, and attending concerts.
He was preceded in death by his parents Dorothy and Stanley Yuill, sister Joy Yuill, and wife of 43 years Christine (Kramer) Yuill. He is survived by son Stephen, daughter Martha, son-in-law William (Rusty) Gibson, and cousins Dianne McNamara, Julia Harkins, and Michael Siegel.
A spring memorial service will be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 120 N. Front Street, Marquette, MI 49855, UPAWS (Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter) P.O. Box 968, Marquette, MI 49855, or other charity of your choice. Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderswansonhansen.com