Robert “Bob” E. LaStofka, 92, went home to the Lord on Aug. 8, 2021, in Kalispell. He passed away peacefully in his sleep with grace and dignity.
Bob was born in Iola, Wisconsin, on Dec. 24, 1928, to Ben and Bertina (Severson) LaStofka. He was the second of three children.
His early years were busy helping with the family farm In Iola. He often talked about having to collect the eggs (and sometimes dropping them) and the so-called tame skunks he and his brother, Dave, caught and kept in a pen out back. Bob attended grade school and graduated high school in 1946 in Iola.
After graduating high school Bob joined the Army for four years. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, he contracted hepatitis B and spent many months on the hospital ship and in Minnesota recuperating. While stationed on the East Coast, he met the love of his life, MaryLou Hodgson, in Passaic, New Jersey, and spent any day he had leave hitchhiking between the base and Passaic to visit and woo MaryLou. Bob and MaryLou were married on May 26, 1951, and even though MaryLou has been gone for almost seven years, Bob will tell anyone that he is still married and his ring has not left his hand since it was put on.
Bob and MaryLou traveled around the country while Bob was in the service. When Bob was discharged from the Army he joined the family partnership in an Iola mink ranch called Wau-Wis Fur Farm. For the next several years Bob and MaryLou traveled back and forth between Iola and Kalispell, finally settling in Kalispell.
Bob and MaryLou went on to have four children. Bob and MaryLou spent their early years in Kalispell moving around the area while he worked road construction. Bob gave up the construction work and then went to work at the Rainbow Texaco for many years, also worked for C&C Plywood, and was a heavy equipment mechanic for both the city of Kalispell and Flathead County, where he retired from, due to a back injury. Bob also helped MaryLou’s parents (Mark and Dorothy (Jacquette) Hodgson) on their farm in Columbia Falls and took over the farming as Mark aged.
Bob had little free time between farming and working a full-time job, but when he did have time off he loved to gold pan all around the valley. He even owned his own gold mine, “Lil Annie,” for several years. He enjoyed camping and fishing in his earlier years, and we all have fond memories of our camping vacations. Bob was a jack-of-all-trades and was always working on some project at the farm or around the house that needed doing.
Bob was active in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church as an usher, and both he and MaryLou enjoyed their time preparing the weekly service bulletins.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Bertina LaStofka, his mother and father-in-law, Mark and Dorothy Hodgson, his loving wife MaryLou, his grandson Jon Lee Swinehart, his brother Dave LaStofka, his brother-in-law Jack Halverson, his nephew Scott Halverson, and his brother-in-law Paul Hodgson.
Bob is survived by his four children, Connie LaStofka-Lakes (Roger) of Hamilton, Ohio, Robin Carson of Kalispell, Mark LaStofka (Tina) of White-Salmon, Washington, and Julie Hindahl of Kalispell; his granddaughter, Mindi Morhardt; his sister Ruth Halverson and sister-in-law Irene LaStofka, both in Iola; and sister-in-law, Corrine Adomian, of Athens, Georgia. Bob also leaves 12 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, 18 great-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. Bob lived a long, full life, but he will be leaving a very large hole in our lives.
The funeral service for Bob LaStofka will be held at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, in Kalispell with Pastor Scott Thompson officiating. Graveside rites will be held at C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery following the service.
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