William Robenalt Obituary (2021) – Ann Arbor, MI
ANN ARBOR, MI – William “Bill” Alton Robenalt, 66, died Tuesday, October 5, 2021. He suffered a heart event at home and died quickly and painlessly.
He leaves behind his three sons – “the boys” – John “Jack” (Mrs. Lauren Dillon), Sean and Franklin, and his beloved Mrs. Dr. Kathleen “Kathy” Snow Robenalt precedes in death. Kathy died in 2019 after a long battle with cancer, and Bill missed her deeply.
He is survived on the Robenalt side of the family by all six of his siblings – John (Vancene), James (Joanna), Mary (Sam), Robert (Theresa), Margaret (Matt) and Tom (Grace), 18 nieces and nephews , his Childers cousins, and their ever-growing families. Bill is survived on the snow side of the family by Kathy’s parents Bill and Marge, their five siblings and their partners, and seven nieces and nephews.
He is also preceded in death by his parents, John Alton and Margaret Durbin Robenalt of Lima, Ohio.
He graduated from Miami (Ohio) University in 1977. He and Kathy were married on December 17, 1983 in Lima at St. Charles Catholic Church. Prior to retiring in 2017, Bill was with General Motors for 33 years, starting with Motors Holding in 1984 after serving as general manager of a Toyota dealership in Lima.
Bill held a variety of field sales positions with GM at Motors Holding and Dealer Network in Denver, Kansas City, Dallas and Atlanta before moving to Ann Arbor in 2001. Bill went on as Area Manager in the North Central Region for the states of Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa. He used his wealth of retail and wholesale knowledge to negotiate dealer transactions, improve their operations, and find new candidates to strengthen GM’s dealer network.
Bill’s first priority in life was his family. He was an avid supporter of his three sons, coached their soccer and basketball teams, attended all of their games and events, and cheered them on in everything they did. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family and friends – known from a young age as a “cool brother” or “cool uncle”, finding ways to bring joy into other people’s lives and always making it a priority go back to Lima at least twice a year. In Lima, he loved meeting his father for a drink at the Elks’ and spending time with the whole Robenalt clan by the pool.
Kathy and Bill enjoyed taking the boys and their friends into their home and only had two rules. The first rule was that there was no ringing when the garage door was open; go in soon! The second rule was that everything was up for grabs unless there was a label on the refrigerator or pantry. Bill loved having the boys and their friends around and was often known for falling asleep in his chair watching movies while the boys were talking downstairs – a practice he loved to laugh about.
A visitation will take place on Thursday, October 14, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Nie Funeral Home at 3767 W Liberty Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 on Friday, October 15, 2021, followed by a funeral on St. Thomas Catholic Cemetery at 300 Sunset Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. A reception will follow at the Polo Fields Golf and Country Club in Ann Arbor. Please visit niefuneralhomes.com for more information about the funeral and surrounding events.
In Bill’s honor, donations can be made to the boys’ lacrosse teams at Ann Arbor Pioneer and Ann Arbor Skyline High Schools. You can get information about donations from the sports department of the respective school. Pioneer can be reached at (734) 994-2120 and Skyline at (734) 994-7075.
Published by The Lima News October 12-13, 2021.