American Veteran 04

Robert L. Bilyew

August 7, 1928 ~ June 6, 2020 (age 91)

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Robert L. "Bob" Bilyew, of Defiance, was born to Joseph and Eva Bilyew in Salem, Indiana on August 7, 1928. He passed away on Saturday, June 6, 2020 at the age of 91. God has brought him home to be with his wife, Josephine, watching over his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

One of six children, Bob's family moved to Rochester, Indiana. After graduating from Rochester High School in 1946 where he excelled in track, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served for two years. He attended Indiana University as a ROTC Recruit, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business in 1952.

Bob then joined the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant, serving two years during the Korean Conflict. He was stationed at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington where he met and married Josephine Rabdau on January 23, 1954. They settled in Hayward, California before moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana to start a family. In 1962 the family moved to Defiance, Ohio, residing there for the past 58 years.

He spent over 30 years working for Zeller Corporation in Defiance, managing new product design, until his retirement in 1994. Bob was an avid gardener and golfer, scoutmaster, long-distance runner, former Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge #147, and a pillar of strength to his family.

Bob is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Josephine, brothers Charles and Claude Bilyew, and sisters Anna Mae Myers and Mary Cupito.

He is survived by his children; Robyn (Dennis) Horg, Holly (Mike) Fitzgerald, Joe (Joan) Bilyew, Jill McDonald, and Sue Bilyew, all of whom will carry on his positive attitude, a willingness to persevere during the most difficult moments, and his strong work ethic. Bob leaves behind his grandchildren; Kathleen (Jedediah) Keesbury, Lucas Horg, Chris (Christine Radford) Fitzgerald and Dylan (Mikaila) Fitzgerald, Adam and Eric Bilyew, Jonelle (Ed) Diefenthaler, Jaimee (Matt) Frey, Jason (Hillary) Green, and Hunter McDonald; great-grandchildren; Adrienne, Owen, Gavin, and Griffin Frey, Nolan and Porter Diefenthaler, Leiv, Jesse, Jamison, Pierce, Brooks, and Amelie  Keesbury, Maddie and Cameryn Green, and Harlow and Rowan Fitzgerald, and devoted sister Patty Paxton of Rochester.

Bob will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Visitation will be held from 9:00 to 11:00 am on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at Schaffer Funeral Home in Defiance. A Graveside Memorial service will follow at  Riverside Cemetery in Defiance, with Celebrant Deb Miller officiating. Graveside military rites will be conducted by VFW #3360. Responsible virus protection measures are encouraged. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the family to host a Celebration of Life service at Kingsbury Place of Defiance. Online condolences can be given at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert L. Bilyew, please visit our floral store.


June 16, 2020

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Schaffer Funeral Home, Inc.
529 Jefferson Ave.
Defiance, OH 43512

Memorial Service
June 16, 2020

11:00 AM
Riverside Cemetery

Defiance, OH 43512

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