Herman Robert “Bobby” Riesterer
The community lost a free spirit who followed the beat of a different drum with the passing of 80-year-old Herman Robert “Bobby” Riesterer Thursday evening (Jan. 4, 2018) at the Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dunkirk.
Born Jan. 26, 1937 in Dunkirk, he was a lifelong resident of the city.
For many years, Bobby faithfully punched the True Temper time clock until the plant’s closing. His free time was his own, however, and he liked to fill it with high adventure and bouts of daring near and far.
Bobby’s passions in life included hunting, fishing and motorcycles, in that order. He was fond of goose hunting in his favorite nearby cornfields. He was known to embark on long distance treks to hunt grizzly bears in British Columbia or to fish for Arctic char with his Inuit (Eskimo Indian) friends.
But Bobby also looked forward to fishing on his beloved Lake Erie, followed by his popular fish frys at Bart’s Cove where he would cook and then give away his catches for the day. He enjoyed participating in benefit motorcycle runs to help community members in need.
A daredevil and risk-taker at heart, Bobby embraced a challenge and often tempted fate. Known for riding his motorcycle at a fast clip, Bobby once crested a hill only to find himself threading a needle between two tractor trailers side by side as one attempted to pass the other.
Shrugging off this close brush with death, he boasted of chasing the water spouts on Lake Erie until he was close enough to hear the roar and his boat began to fill with water. He once took his canoe out on a raging Canadaway Creek, resulting in the canoe being destroyed in front of the Chautauqua County Home.
Bobby was a kind, generous and caring man who was loved by most who knew him, but because of his exploits and demeanor, was misunderstood by a few. He stayed in charge of his own destiny right to the end, declining life-prolonging measures with the words, “Take care. It was a nice ride. See you on the other side.”
It was with this resolve that the last of the mountain men departed on the journey to the “Happy Hunting Ground.” Along the way, he will be reunited with his previously departed loving parents as well as his late great-nephew, Joshua Struzynski, and his beloved yellow labrador retriever “Sam.”
Survivors include his big sister Maryann (late Norm) Struzynski of East Aurora, who is proud to say “I love my baby brother”! his nephew, Normie Struzynski II of Fredonia; his close friend and confidant, Benjamin Smith of Forestville; and other nephews, nieces and friends.
Bobby was cared for in his last weeks by his newest friend, Karen Zobel of Fredonia and assisted throughout his illness by his wonderful neighbors, Kenny and Gina Drummond, who helped him to remain at home as long as possible. The staff at the Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center also provided compassionate quality care.
Private services will be held at the convenience of the family. There will be no calling hours. Arrangements are by the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home.