Robert J. “Bob” Miles of Otsego, MI passed away Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo. He was born February 12, 1938 in Paw Paw, the son of Tony and Helen (Reits) Pionke. Bob graduated from State High School in 1956. During his high school career he proved to be a top athlete. Bob was on the varsity football team for 4 years, All-State 2 years and served as captain of the team; the varsity basketball team for 3 years and set a school scoring record during the State Quarter Final game; the varsity baseball team for 4 years, the top hitter in Kalamazoo for 2 years and received All Southwestern Michigan honors; the varsity track team for 4 years and was on the 2
place 880 relay team at the State Meet. He also played Legion Baseball for Kalamazoo during the summer and was recruited for a try-out with the Detroit Tigers. Bob earned 15 varsity letters and was on Kalamazoo All-City Teams in football, basketball and baseball. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Kalamazoo College where he continued to excel in sports, earning 8 varsity letters in baseball, golf and football and was a co-captain of the football team his senior year and his and Master’s Degree from Western Michigan University. Following his graduation Bob taught at Lincoln Jr. High in Kalamazoo then at Kalamazoo University High for a year before beginning his 34 year career at Otsego Public Schools. He taught Social Studies and Math in junior high and coached junior high and J.V. basketball, high school football and baseball. His coaching achievements included an undefeated baseball season with 22 consecutive wins and a football conference championship. He then served as Athletic Director and Assistant Principal of the High School and Middle School. Bob retired in 1995. He loved playing in golf leagues recording 2 holes-in-one and a double eagle. Bob and Roberta spent winters in Florida and loved to meet with their son, Jeff, and his family. Other favorite activities included watching birds, playing Bridge and Solitaire, computer video games, walking, going out to dinner, lunch or breakfast with friends. He and Roberta went on several cruises [Alaska, Hawaii, Bermuda, and Paris/Normandy] and he loved to travel, including a recent trek to Italy. He continued to follow sports on TV including professional and college football, March Madness, and cheering for U of M and the Tigers and Lions. Bob had been a member of the Otsego Elks Lodge #1711 and the Retired Teachers.
On June 29, 1969 at the First Methodist Church in Kalamazoo he married the love of his life, Roberta L. Baker, who survives. Also surviving are son, Jeff (Heather) Miles of CT; 3 grandchildren, Cameron, Andrew and Haley Miles; his sister Mary Ann Eaton of Portage; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Georgia Royce; and brothers-in-law, Jack Wooden, Bill Royce and Jay Eaton.
Friends may meet with Bob’s family on Wednesday, the 19
of May from 4 – 7 PM at Winkel Funeral Home in Otsego. Graveside services will be held on May 20
at Mount Ever-Rest Cemetery South in Kalamazoo at 11am.
Contributions in memory of Bob may be made to Otsego Public Schools (OPS) Foundation.
Messages of condolence may be posted at www.WinkelFuneralHome.com
Offer Condolence for the family of Robert J. Miles
Bruce and Sue Bendix
May 17, 2021 at 4:40 pm
Bob was one of the finest men I’ve ever known.
It was a great pleasure for me to work with-for him at Otsego High. I became a better coach because of my association with him.
Even after we left in 1984 he kept in touch by sending us a Christmas card every year. That was the kind of person he was.
Sue and I are so sorry to hear of his passing, and send our sincerest condolences to Roberta, Jeff, his extended family and friends.
We hope they will be comforted by knowing how many lives he touched in a positive way, including ours.
May 17, 2021 at 5:33 pm
Bob was always a smiling face as I entered Otsego High.
He was my Athletic Director 1981-1984. His love of sports was clearly evident. Even through college and my post collegiate career, Bob would drop me a line or two of congratulation.
He will be sorely missed. Condolences to his family.
May 17, 2021 at 6:21 pm
Praying for peace and comfort for your family, Bob. It was truly an honor to work with you at OPS.
May 17, 2021 at 6:22 pm
A true example of a life well lived. I am forever grateful to this Man and his family. Open arms and a listening ear.
Mike Rankin class of 69
May 17, 2021 at 6:37 pm
Bob would always take the time to stop you in the store to say hi. He had a very good memory. He would recognize me every time I would see him. He will truly be missed. Rest in Pease my friend.
May 17, 2021 at 7:19 pm
Bob was one of the first people to believe in me. Prayers!!
Dana and Nancy LeRoy
May 17, 2021 at 7:26 pm
Sorry to hear about Bob. I was always happy to see you all. We wish you well.
May 17, 2021 at 7:26 pm
Roberta and family:
I’m so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. He was such a wonderful man. He and my former boss (Don Kilgore)
were classmates and football mates and Don always spoke so fondly of him. Every time I saw Bob out and
about or at the golf course he was always friendly and kind and so pleasant to talk to. He gave me several
good tips about golfing too. You have been so blessed to have this man as your husband, father and grand-
father and I’m sure you know that. Be kind to yourselves, take time to get used to the new normal and always
remember he will be very close in your hearts and watching over you.
Tammy PFAU Klinger Leonard
May 17, 2021 at 7:27 pm
Thank you Roberta and Jeff and family for sharing this Great man/ coach with us all❤️❤️
“Mr. Miles” BoB….. it’s impossible to forget someone who gave so much of himself. Your students at OHS are so grateful that you were there for us ALL!
You are such an inspiration and important part of my life! GOD Blessed so many of us with your presence!❤️❤️❤️
Janet Keith Kivell
May 17, 2021 at 7:28 pm
Bob taught me how to understand math when he was my math teacher in Jr High. He was a great teacher. Rest In Peace Mr. Miles.
Tom Wright Class of1970
May 17, 2021 at 7:29 pm
Bob always had a smile when he saw me! He helped form me into the person I am today! Thank you Bob!
Mrs. Jim Hewitt. (Patti)
May 17, 2021 at 7:32 pm
Dear Roberta & Family,
My heart goes out to you in your loss. Grief is a rocky road and is more than missing someone. It is an unrelenting ache for reality to be different and for the impossible to come true. Be kind and gentle with yourselves.
May 17, 2021 at 7:35 pm
Bob was a wonderful grateful caring man. I was honored to be a teachers aide, hall supervisor for 4yrs. When I I would run into him, he always had a smile happy to see me. PRAYING for his family.
May 17, 2021 at 8:09 pm
Was really sorry to hear about Bob, so many great memories of Bob over at Dads on game day. Wishing you well during this difficult time
May 17, 2021 at 9:44 pm
So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to th he family. I had Mr. Miles for a math teacher and I just loved him. He was so kind and caring. I will always remember him , he was one of my favorite teachers. My Deeoest Sympathy to all.
Tracie Stapert ( Ruge)
May 17, 2021 at 10:09 pm
Such a wonderful man – caring and thoughtful. Always with a smile and good morning. So sorry to hear of his passing – thoughts and prayers to his family.
May 18, 2021 at 6:12 am
R I P BOB You worked hard for us thank you
John & Diane Glessner
May 18, 2021 at 8:49 am
Dear Roberta and family, Our hearts ache for you. You’ve always been such a sweet couple and the respect and love you had for each other was a joy for others to see! We are praying God’s comfort and peace upon you as you go forward. We are in Gatlinberg presently and aren’t able to be at visitation. We feel so sorry about that and will be with you in spirit. Sending our love. John and Diane
Kelly A. Bohl
May 18, 2021 at 8:57 am
Mrs. Miles and family – I will always remember Mr. Miles with a BIG SMILE. He was KIND to everyone and treated us all the same. He had a great work ethic and was always willing to help with anything. So sorry for your loss. I am very grateful to have had him as role model in my high school years. Kelly Bohl- OHS Class of 1986
May 18, 2021 at 9:23 am
Bob is my first cousin and 11 years older but I always looked up to his athletic abilities and he became both a hero and mentor for me. Fifteen letters at State High is unbelievable. I actually played against both his football and baseball teams at Otsego and found that to be a real challenge. We have been getting together in Florida for lunch for the past five or six years and have really enjoyed that time. Bob loved talking about Michigan football and really any like of sport. And he loved spending time with Jeff and his family in Florida. He was a guy I cherished his friendship will miss him dearly.
May 18, 2021 at 11:48 am
Dear Mikes Family,
Bob was a great listener and very helpful to everyone around him. I met Mr. / Coach Miles when attending Otsego High School. I also came to know him through Basil Ash (RIP).
His resume speaks for itself…. We could use more Bob Miles in this world…. Rest In Peace Mr. Miles.
James Kirk van Blaricom
May 18, 2021 at 1:48 pm
Would be nice to be closer to give Roberta a hug but we will try to remember that if we see you on July 31 at the UHigh reunion. Love from Kirk & Judy
May 18, 2021 at 4:12 pm
Very sorry to hear about Bob. He was my freshman football coach at U-High and played ball with my older brother (Vern Wade) who were close friends. RIP coach.
Janis E. Nichols
May 18, 2021 at 4:21 pm
Mr. Miles provided me with examples of honor, integrity, and dedication in the professional world. He showed me that humor, too, could be implemented within a business setting while still remaining professional. These attributes of his, I implemented into my own professional career.
I never knew that you taught math or was such an accomplished athlete, I never heard you brag about yourself-instead you taught, coached, and administered-trying to bring out the best in each of us. Your dedication and willingness inspired the youth. You coached with pride and humility.
I remember one Halloween night, you met the masses of teenagers outside your home. You told us to think about what we were going to do, to have fun and be safe, and whatever we did-don’t use wax!! LOL. What a sport!
The fist time I babysat for your family, I could tell that this child was loved and protected. I was given a list of do’s and don’ts, It surprised me that you and your wife were so in-tuned with your child, since he was just a baby. I will always remember that big, proud Pappa smile!
I remember thinking; this couple was definitely made in Heaven since God had included “Robert” in both of their names.
May 18, 2021 at 5:00 pm
My heartfelt sympathy Mrs. Miles, Jeff & family,
Some of my fondest memories of my time at OHS often included Bob. His quick wit and that big grin is something I’ll never forget.
It was awesome to have him at both JV & Varsity softball games cheering us on.
He was a wonderful A.D.
A wonderful man.
My life is fuller for having known him.
OHS Class of 1985
May 18, 2021 at 5:32 pm
So sorry to read of your loss, Roberta. I had the privilege to witness many of his exploits as the Gazette-declared greatest athlete in U-High history and at K College. But what I’ll most remember is his infectious smile and kind words, from the sideline or on the street.
Tom DeCair U-High ’63
St. Pete Beach FL
May 18, 2021 at 6:26 pm
So sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts. I remember Bob as the big sports star at State High.
May 18, 2021 at 7:29 pm
My deepest condolences. His smile and caring heart is what I recall most about Mr. Miles. He cared for all students and made me feel like I mattered. May God’s loving arms hold his family close and comfort them all.
May 18, 2021 at 9:27 pm
My deepest condolences, Roberta. I hope all the wonderful memories shared help you and your family through this difficult time.
May 18, 2021 at 9:57 pm
Very sorry Roberta, Bob was one of the best. My prayers are with you.
May 18, 2021 at 10:39 pm
It’s amazing how one person can have such a lasting impact on so many people’s lives. You were that person Uncle Bob. See you on the other side someday.
Go Blue forever.
Marilyn( Brink) Leighty
May 19, 2021 at 7:16 am
Dearest Roberta, I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Remember Bob well from our years at State High .What an awesome all around athlete and person he was then and throughout his life. Our husbands played football together on the K College football team and even followed the same path of teaching and coaching later. And, I have known you as the baby sister of Patti my dear friend from State High.You will certainly be in my thoughts and my prayers in the days ahead. After the initial shock of your loss,give yourself time to slowly move through the stages of grief . A strong faith along with family and friends will sustain you. “If GOD brings you to it HE WILL bring you through it”. With much love, Marilyn
Jim & Jean Cronkhite
May 19, 2021 at 9:59 am
We knew Bob as a teacher during our years of high school at Otsego. We spent time with him playing golf over the years at Prairiewood Golf Course. We would see him at the casino. Always smiling and happy to see us when we met. Great guy. Surprised and sorry to see his passing. Condolences to all his family.
May 19, 2021 at 10:24 am
My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of Bob Miles. Mr. Miles was a well respected teacher who always had a smile on his face every day and never seemed to have a bad day. Mr. Miles was a role model for students and faculty alike. What a great teacher.
May 19, 2021 at 10:40 am
Roberta, Jeff and family. Mr Miles was my favorite teacher and then I was happy that Bob and you became friends. I prayed that he would recovered and was so sad when he passed. Melissa had just talked to him when she was out for a run. Will miss seeing him busy in the yard when I drive by. Wish I had stopped to say Hi! Thoughts and prayers Pat Frank Quinn and Melissa Perry
Joan R Walters
May 19, 2021 at 11:55 am
So sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. I have many memories and stories of not only having him as a teacher, but as a co-worker when teaching at Otsego. Plus of course, the fun times at the Elks.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Bob’s big heart and big smile will be remembered by everyone that knew him.
Jeannie (White) Hayes
May 19, 2021 at 12:08 pm
Mr. Miles will always be in my heart,one of the best teachers I ever had,He picked me up so I could get my drivers license , because I did not have a way to get there.He made all the students fell special,not just the jocks and rich people.He always remembered my name. he will be deeply missed
May 19, 2021 at 1:43 pm
I’m so sorry I am not able to be with you today during visitation. My thoughts are with you and your family.
Winkel Funeral Home
May 19, 2021 at 1:56 pm
It was always a pleasure to be with Bob. He was knowledgeable,respectful, skilled, and had a great sense of humor. We shared similar values in our teaching and coaching career, and differences were settled with a hand shake.
Bob was small in stature, but a giant to those he touched. I have lost a good friend.
May 19, 2021 at 2:37 pm
Sad to hear this. Mrs. Miles and family, May Gods comfort guide you through this sad time.
The first thing that comes to mind in my memory of Mr. Miles is he always wore a smile and he was very kind. Otsego School and students were lucky to have him as an educator.
He will always be fondly remembered.
May 19, 2021 at 4:31 pm
My condolences for your loss, Bob was my football coach in 64 $ 65 , His coaching and teaching not just about football but life lessons that lead to his players to achieve leadership roles in there own communities and lives.
May 19, 2021 at 4:42 pm
While younger than Bob I remember him from State High and what a great person he was. He was a legend and so many looked up to him with great respect.I was so sorry when I heard of his passing. Berta and Miles family, you are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. The earth has lost a great man.
Gnna (Kent) Grayibill
U High Class of 1961
May 20, 2021 at 2:46 am
I didn’t know Bob for long but I sure felt like I had known him my entire life. During our short encounter Bob shared many wonderful stories with me and had me laughing almost constantly. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to share his stories with Roberta and Jeff. I feel fortunate to have met Bob and quickly get to know him, if even for a short time. I’ll be thinking of him and your family and keeping you all close to my heart.
May 20, 2021 at 9:33 am
I’ll always remember Mr. Miles as a great athletic director and caring educator. After his retirement I’d see him from time to time on the golf course and he would always say, “hello.” My condolences to his family.
May 20, 2021 at 7:00 pm
Sending hugs and prayers . Bob was such fun and friendly guy! Thank God for all the wonderful memories we have to remember! Love to you all ❤️❤️
Terri Long Class of 1985
May 20, 2021 at 11:04 pm
So sorry to hear of Mr. Miles passing. He always had a smiling face as you entered OHS and always took time to listen if you ever needed someone to talk to. I’m sure he was an amazing Father and Grandfather to have. I’m sure he will be terribly missed. I will be keeping all his friends and family in my prayers as well as all fellow classmates who looked up to him.
May 21, 2021 at 7:26 am
Gods work on earth..that’s you Mr. Bob Miles, a true godly man on earth blessing everyone he met.
Thank you for Bob, Bob thank you for being so obedient to God.
Your presence here on earth will be missed and memories of you in our hearts carry on until we meet again.
Thank you Roberta for sharing
Many admired fans R.I.P. Bob
May 21, 2021 at 11:46 am
Sending love and prayers to Mr. Miles family. He was a very kind sweet and wonderful teacher and person and will be missed by many
May 21, 2021 at 2:31 pm
I am so sad that Bob is no longer with us. He was the star of our high school! His decentness, his athletic ability, his intelligence, his kindness, and the twinkle in his eye will be missed by everyone.
Unfortunately, we cannot attend his funeral or the visitation as we are not living in Kalamazoo and I have health problems of my own, but my thoughts are with Roberta and all his family and many friends! RIP, Bob!
May 21, 2021 at 3:44 pm
Bob was a Great coach , neighbor , and someone who always made you feel like a friend . When Bob walked the neighborhood I could tell he was coming if the wind was in the right direction ( always could smell his cigar ) and he would always ask about my dad . I remember one night at the Elks I told Bob I thought Karen and I could beat you guys in doubles , well I think it was the beer talking because when we had the match Karen and I didn’t stand a chance. And when Bob and I took on Ron Bennett and Jack Vanderstreek in a triathlon and with Bob on your team you couldn’t lose. I will always miss the smile and the talks we had . We are praying for peace and comfort for all of you .
May 21, 2021 at 4:53 pm
Class of ’79
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Miles Family. Mr. Miles was a very respected man. Well loved by many students back in the late 70’s… He broke the news to me of my Grandfathers passing while we were on our senior trip in Washington. As sad as that was, he was very gracious, kind and helpful during that scenario. He always had a smile and encouragement to share. Some of us referred to him as Uncle Bob. As he made us feel like we could say anything we wanted to him and he’d chuckle along with. To late for me to say congrats on a successful career, as I didn’t know of your accomplishments until I read your bio here. You touched a lot of lives in a good way Mr. Miles and a friend for life for those who had the chance to know you. RIP my dear friend.
Maury Lyon Reed
May 21, 2021 at 5:33 pm
I wrote some thoughts a few days ago, but apparently I didn’t send them correctly. Thus, I am attempting another try.
Since I live in Arizona, a kind friend sent me the news of Bob’s death. As many of you when I was a young person, I first knew of Bob as an incredible athlete. Not only were his accomplishments highly significant, but he handled them with such grace. Later as a little older young person, I knew him as a very thoughtful brother-in-law when he married my sister. Later when he married wonderful Roberta Baker our family was thrilled for them. We knew it would be a lifetime marriage of joy and love. When I think of Bob and our contact over the years, his genuine caring for others and complete authenticity in all that he did or expressed, were paramount to his being. And sharing his smile, was magic to everyone.
With my deepest sympathy and heartfelt thoughts to Dear Roberta and their family, Maury Lyon Reed
Bart and Evelyn Ames Steele
May 23, 2021 at 11:31 am
Memories of the Class of 1969 are of a teacher and coach to all, he was such an inspiration. So sorry to hear of his passing it is a loss to all that passed through the halls of Otsego High School. Thoughts and prayers to all, your memories must continue the inspiration and love.
Roger Bloom (class of 68)
May 23, 2021 at 1:32 pm
What a lose for the Otsego community and Otsego School system. He was my eighth great math teach and one of my coach’s in high school. A genuine leader and great person. He will be dearly missed.
Gary & Barb Rhoades
May 23, 2021 at 7:55 pm
Barb and I have so many wonderful memories of our 53 year friendship with Bob Miles and his family. He has been a treasured friend, mentor, athlete, and educator. He and Roberta were neighbors for 30 years and we enjoyed spending vacation time together in Florida during the winter. Your influence in our lives will be forever cherished.
May 24, 2021 at 10:56 pm
To Bob’s family – I am devastated!! I’m Fred Stevens daughter – JoAnn – dad & Bobby had a long athletic bond & he kept in touch with me to keep up with dad’s medical issues (dementia) – I always told dad when Bobby called to check up on him & he always smiled & when he was able, they would chat Baseball — Roberta – I am so sorry for your loss – please accept my deepest condolences .. love to you all – joann stevens Gerrish
Larry Dean Wallace, Class of 66
June 2, 2021 at 8:48 pm
Just heard that Bob passed away. My memories of Bob were that of being a good mentor and also a person who really loved life. He was always helpful to others. I especially remember during baseball practice one day he rubbed his eye. When he pulled his hand back his contact blew away in the wind. The team spent about 30 minutes looking on the ground around Bob. If I remember right, I spotted it on the back of his hand or on his shoe, I did not have Bob as a teacher but benefited from having him as a coach for football and baseball. Fond memories. Our condolences to Mrs. Miles on her lose of a wonderful man.
Larry and Charyl Wallace
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