Robert Harper Rector, of Casper, Wyoming passed away at the age of 92 on August 5, 2019 at Shepherd of the Valley Care Center, Casper, WY. He was born to parents Theodore and Edith Rector, on December 13, 1926 at his rural home in Smithfield, Illinois. Robert, "Bob", was a 1944 graduate of Canton High School in Canton, Illinois. Enlisting in the U.S. Army at 17 ½ , he served until 1946 in the Army Corps of Engineers. Bob received his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois in 1950. Over a career and life span of over 70 years, Bob met and married Shirley "Bette" Wilson of Urbana, Illinois. They made a life together for 69 years in 7 states (OK, LA, KS, IL, CA, CO, WY) as well as three foreign countries (Iran, Egypt, England) allowing them to travel the world as a result of Bob's career as a petroleum engineer, primarily with AMOCO International. Retiring in California in the late 1980's eventually led to a move to Casper, WY to be near family in 2001.
From Bob's youth in Fulton County, Illinois he learned to love the outdoors sports of camping, fishing, and hunting. His fondest dream was to someday "bag" an elk. That dream never materialized, but he never gave up and always enjoyed the hunt. Always ready to try something new he learned to square dance, took up golf, learned to ski in Iran, rode camels in Egypt, parachuted once, and rafted the white waters of Colorado and Wyoming. Bob was musical too, playing his clarinet and saxophone in school and dance bands. He was also a great vocal harmonizer singing Barbershop for several years. Where ever there was a hoop or table he was ready to shoot a basketball or pick up a cue stick. Bob was proud to be a Shriner and a member of the Masonic Lodge in Springfield, Illinois. An amateur and avid photographer, Bob was almost never without his camera. He passed on his love and talents as an adventurer, musician, and photographer to his children, Susan and Phill. With his great smile and sense of humor Bob was never afraid to don the clown or jester suit, play the Santa, or wear that formal penguin get-up for special occasions. He was a generous man and wonderful provider for his family.
Bob is survived by his wife of 69 years, Shirley Elizabeth (Wilson) Rector and his two children, Susan (Rector) Handy of Lewistown, Illinois and Dr. Phillip K. Rector of Lander, Wyoming. He is also survived by two grandchildren, Eva (Handy) Moring of Salisbury, MD and Gabriel Handy of Orlando, FL.; as well as six great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his brother, Gilbert Rector, of Brookfield, Illinois and his sister, Virginia (Rector) Doll of rural Bushnell, Illinois.
Interment will take place in Fulton County, Illinois with a graveside service on Monday, August 12, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in Baughman Cemetery, Smithfield, Illinois. A memorial service will be held thereafter at Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church in Casper in mid-August.
Arrangements have been made through Newcomer Funeral Home in Casper and Henry Lange Funeral Home in Lewistown, Illinois.
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