Robert V. Schledorn

September 30, 1925 ~ July 5, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old


Robert Vernon Schledorn, of Sycamore, Illinois, achieved life's final milestone on July 5, 2023. As a 97-year-old World War II veteran and well-liked former lumberyard manager, he died with unwavering love and respect from people in all corners of the United States. He was defined not only by his achievements, but by the exceptional quality of his character.

Robert was born September 30, 1925, in Cato Township, North Dakota. The son of Franz "Frank" and Marie (nee Vander Heiden) Schledorn, he and his brothers grew up working the farm and playing baseball. Robert already had the love of his high school sweetheart, Clarene Wavrin, when he came of age in 1943 and enlisted in the Army Air Force. Robert became a member of the Eighth Airforce and completed 30 successful missions as a B-17 bombardier. He and his brother, Frank, both survived the war, and were lucky enough to meet up in Europe for a taste of home while serving their country. Robert was the last surviving member of his flight crew upon his death in 2023.

After the war, Robert returned to North Dakota, where he and Clarene were married in 1947. The couple later moved to California, where they had 4 children between 1948 and 1958. As the family grew and spread across the country, his home continued to be a magnet for family and friends (complete with soft drinks on tap by the pool.) Robert worked his way up to become the manager at a Terry lumberyard and stayed there through retirement. After he retired, Robert and Clarene moved to Mesa, Arizona, and later to Center City, Minnesota, where they were frequent patrons of the restaurant, Tippy Canoes. When his wife passed away in 2014, Robert moved to Sycamore, Illinois, to live across the street from his daughter. He continued to travel, even into old age, most recently celebrating his 97th birthday with family in and around Thousand Oaks, California.

Robert had no trouble finding ways to keep himself busy, reading countless books and stoking a passion for art. He developed skills in drawing, painting, and stained glass through adult education classes and practice. Meanwhile, he managed to return to the skies, completing his first solo flight in 1974 out of Van Nuys Airport in a Cessna 150. Though he never called attention to himself, his presence added stability to every room. He was known to be circumspect and good at truly listening. Robert was a curious mind, but also a sharp mind. After nearly a century, he could still tell stories about his experience in the war, and about how life worked on the farm of his Dutch immigrant father. Many years later it still made him laugh to recall his father's first visit to California, where he was surprised weather could be so pleasant compared to North Dakota.

Robert was preceded in death by his treasured wife, Clarene, his parents, his brothers, Frank and Bernard, and his sons, Rand Schledorn and Robert Scot Schledorn. Robert is survived by his younger brother, Ted (Judy) Scheldorn, his son, Robin (Georgia) Schledorn, and his daughter, Jennifer (Kurt) Dallesasse, along with a multitude of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other family and friends.

A memorial service will be held later this year in Edmore, North Dakota. Please vist for details. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the VFW.

The family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb for their care during Robert's final days.

Arrangements handled by Malone Funeral Home in Geneva.  For information 630-232-8233 or

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