Robert Trepanier

PATERSON, N.J. – Robert George Trepanier, 60, formerly of Iron Mountain, died Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at his home in Paterson.

Rob was born on Sept. 17, 1953, in Iron Mountain, the third of the five children of George and Marcie Trepanier. The family was active in the First Covenant Church in Iron Mountain, where Rob later taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. He began his personal relationship with Jesus as a young boy, and this was the continuous driving force for the rest of his life.

Having learned a love of gardening from his father, Rob went on to complete a course of study in floral arranging at Michigan State University, and carried through his life a love of nature and all growing things.

Rob’s second great passion was language and communication. This was expressed in a life of avid reading. He studied radio-television broadcasting at Brown Institute, and speech/communication and biblical studies at North Park College (now University). While at NPC, Rob formed a drama troupe named “Jericho Road,” which yielded many strong, lifelong friendships. Although unpublished commercially, Rob wrote many stories, poems and essays.

Rob met Linda Jean Saunders in Chicago. They married three years later at his home church in Iron Mountain, on Nov. 2, 1996. While their union produced no children, in leading a youth group at their Chicago church for several years, Rob was a ready father figure for several teens who lacked a father at home.

Rob struggled with physical problems associated with a rare hereditary nerve disease, leading to multiple amputations of toes, parts of his feet, and finally his left leg below the knee. In addition to the surgeries, he had numerous infections and hospital stays. Throughout these difficulties, Rob’s faith helped him through times of loneliness and isolation, and strengthened him to be an encouragement to those around him.

Two other factors helped Rob deal with the physical limitations he faced: crocheting and humor. His sister Beverly, who died in 1979, taught him to crochet as a way to pass the time. He crafted more than 100 afghans, most of which were given away as gifts, as well as numerous smaller items such as scarves and furniture coverings. Rob could find humor in any situation, often to the befuddlement of those around him. As one young visitor to his hospital room noted, “He’s the happiest sick guy I’ve ever seen!”

Rob ended his brief earthly sojourn at his home in Paterson, N.J.

He is survived by wife Linda; sister Kris (Tom) Haglund; and brothers Tim (Jackie) and Randy.

Memorial service will be held at First Covenant Church, 125 East H St. in Iron Mountain on Saturday, June 21, at noon.

Interment will be at a later date.