Robert Bruce Mandelkow, 70, of Vasa, passed away January 4 at his home surrounded by his loving wife, children, and grandchildren after a brief but valiant battle with cancer. Robert “Bob” was born on November 19, 1952, to Vernon Sr. and Luella (Wohlers) Mandelkow. He was raised on the family farm and attended school in Red Wing where he graduated in 1971. Growing up, he and his brother worked on the farm with his parents and grandparents, and he continued this work after graduation. In 1972, he met his wife, Delores “Laurie” Schmitz at a polka dance and they were later married on April 27, 1974, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Currie, Minn. Bob and Laurie remained on the family farm in rural Vasa where they farmed crops and raised cattle. It has now entered its fourth generation in the Mandelkow Family.
In addition to being a devoted farmer, Bob found joy in the service and care of others. He loved his life on the road, driving bus for Lee Lines, hauling gas for Wilson Oil, milk for Peters Milk Transfer, feed for AgPartners, and grain with Eckblad Trucking and Don Harlow. He loved visiting his friends and customers. He knew and loved so many people; there was not a place he would travel where he didn’t see a good friend.
The only thing Bob loved more than farming and trucking was being a husband, dad, and grandpa. He loved with a love beyond telling and was honored to dance through life with his wife by his side. He was also a fan favorite of his adoring grandchildren. From teaching them how to make gopher gravy - and tricking them to believe it was a real thing - to driving tractor and feeding the kitties, he was deeply proud of the family he and his wife built. He committed his life to the values of working hard, loving your neighbor, enjoying fresh-baked cookies, and caring for your family — and he lived that every day. He died knowing his family would continue to live his legacy in his honor.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Vernon, Jr. He is survived by his loving wife Laurie, children Jason (Venessa) of Red Wing, Kim of Milwaukee, Wis., Justin (Kristin) of Hager City, Wis., and Stacy (Brenton) of Golden Valley; grandchildren Nolan, Clara, Max, Reese, Colette, Theo, and William, sister-in-law Jane (Ron) Gerken of Red Wing, as well as his dog Rocky, kitties Tony, Shadow, and Scooter, and many in-laws, nieces, and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Monday, January 9, 2023, at Church of St. Joseph in Red Wing, with Father James Notebaart presiding. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 8, 2023, at the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel and at the church one hour prior to the service on Monday. Private burial will be at a later date at Burnside Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to the Church of St. Joseph.