Cover photo for Robert Mayer's Obituary
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Robert Mayer

August 27, 1939 — April 14, 2017

Robert Mayer


Jesus, Mary and Joseph took Bob home on April 14, 2017.  Bob began his journey, August 27, 1939, being born at home to Eleanor and Lenard Mayer. He was always full of life, playfulness and caring. He attended St. Joe's until 8th grade and then Winona public school system and graduated in 1957.  He went to work with the only dad he knew (Dan) at Peerless Chain and was selected in 1970 to go to Germany to represent Peerless Chain. He began a life with Joan Gierok September 17, 1960.  Love blossomed, and as a result a family of five children came to be. He worked long and hard hours to provide a good life for himself and his family. He always put his family first, providing everything so they
wanted for nothing.

Although he lived his whole life in his beloved Winona, he managed to travel the United States and Europe. Taking his family on vacation was a yearly-event, but anxious to get home. And don't forget there always was a project at the house. Adding on, remodeling or tinkering with something. He worked hard and long hours but never forgot to have some fun and making sure everything and everyone was taken care of. Nothing kept him down. That was the kind of husband and father he was.

A life-long hunter and fisherman, he enjoyed the outdoors and passed on the love to his children and grandchildren. All year long he fished and Fall brought deer hunting. When he no longer fished he renewed his love of golf. Watch out when it was Golf tournament time, he was unstoppable. Winning awards in tournaments he entered. In later years when hunting became a challenge, he still managed to go with the "boys", waiting in the car and talking by walkie talkie. Being outside definitely was a passion anyone passing the house could see him on his John Deere cutting the grass, hauling plants, plowing snow or putting out his holiday decorations. Whenever anyone thought he was doing too much, he would just say, “If I die out on my John Deere, I will die a happy man".

Besides his family and being outdoors, he also supported the Vikings, Twins and the Cardinals. He laved cooking and in his retirement took on a lot of the meal preparations. Holidays with the Mayer's is always quite the banquet of food. Always with the Polish flair and everyone's favorites are represented. We always had regular intervals of Dad's
homemade chicken noodle soup or Grandma Mankato's ground meat.

Bob always had a love for God. He was an altar boy as a young man at the Cathedral, even serving at mass with the Bishop. He prayed in his own way, he followed Jesus' golden rule, I know at times he even had his difficulties with God. He really began to pray when Joanie had her stroke. He always had a prayer book and was always asking for God to give her strength. He prayed for us children so we would have the strength to deal with all we had to. Always thinking of others.

Bob had a good life and told everyone regardless if they wanted to hear or not. But he didn't have the easiest. Throughout his life he suffered the loss of his dad as a toddler and his brother and friend Jack in his teens. In later years he lost his step-father and mentor, his mother and favorite sister-in-law Doris. He had back problems and disk surgery in his thirties. A heart attack at 45, with open heart surgery and triple by-pass. Breathing became a challenge due to complications from the by-pass but he managed to work at Peerless Chain for fifty years. In his seventies, life brought new challenges, a bad heart valve with a side of gout. While getting ready to deal with the heart valve, lung cancer was found. Not too surprising having smoked for 30 years, however since the heart attack, smoke free for 30. But before any treatments began, his wife of 55 years suffered a debilitating stroke. Christmas 2015 saw him getting a new heart valve and 2016 cancer treatment began.

You've never seen a man so happy to see his wife as the day he could finally see her after not being able to for six weeks. It was like Christmas, your wedding day, the day your baby is born all rolled into to one. Love at its finest and deepest. Every day since then has been spent together and was cherished by both. Truly a love for the ages. Most dayssince has seen him going to St. Anne's to spend time with his love Joannie, watching TV, going for walks or riding in the wheelchair accessible van he bought just for her. In many ways he was like a kid again, just to be with her and her with him. A true joy to witness for all especially those who knew all that had and was happening.

2017 brought a final set of challenges. The cancer treatments, 4 different ones including radiation, refused to abate the cancer, it had spread to his liver. Always the fighter he refused to give in to the cancer and hit it head on with a new treatment. This treatment of all the treatments riddled his body. Making him physically change. It stunted his hair growth, made him weak and he lost his appetite. In April his breathing became difficult once again. He drove himself to the ER in La Crosse on Friday Not because he didn't have anyone to take him. But because that's how he was ... TOUGH, maybe a little too stubborn. Finding out he had Pneumonia, Sepsis and a mild heart attack, was a blow, but not one to keep him there. He told the doctor, "I will stay until 5 or 6 on Saturday, then I'm going home." And that's just what he did. Sunday we had to take him back to the hospital. His breathing was increasingly worse and he needed more oxygen. After doing all they could to fix the problem they returned him to Winona to be with his love of 57 years. She, ever the devoted wife, stay by his side until bed time. Once the kids had left and she had gone to bed, Jesus Mary and Joseph came to escort him to his father in heaven. He passed the way he lived ever considerate of others, not wanting to be a burden, not wanting to cause hardship. He died in peace and quiet in his sleep. It took a lot to bring the big bear down. Anyone of these things would have killed an ordinary man, but not our Dad.

Bob will be greatly missed by his ever loving wife and friend Joan Mayer. Four sons of Winona: Beaver (Robert, Jr.) (Charlotte), Charlie (Bonnie), Dan (Cindy), Joe (Becky) and one daughter Mary Jo (Darrell) of Winona. Twelve grandchildren: Chris Mayer (Ali Peterson), C.J. Mayer, Kaylee (Brandon) Gustafson, Joanna Mayer (Josh De Leon), Chase Mayer, Isaac Mayer, Mitchell Mayer, Shawna Mayer, Michael Mayer, Cody Conley, Alicia Conley. Nine great-grandchildren: Eric, Noah, Wesley, Oliver, Clark Gustafson, Alistair Mayer, Rosemary De Leon, Kalise Conley and Kaiya Hill. Sisters: Jean Hixson of Winona and Shirley Austin, of Dorris, CA. Brothers Len (Joan) Mayer of Lewiston, MN, Dan (Butch) (Rose) Janikowski, Fall City, WA and many nephews and nieces. Bob was greeted by his parents Eleanor (Kukowski) Lenard Mayer, Step-father Dan Janikowski and In-Laws Charlie and Lizzy (Urbik) Gierok. Brothers Jack Prenot and Alan Janikowski. Brother-in-laws Sonny Buck, Louis Hixson, Wally Austin. Special sister-in-law Doris Gierok.

Dad said he was going golfing with Arnie Palmer and he finally got there. Watch out Arnie he's a tough guy to beat. Afterwards he's got to go ride the range with John Wayne and teach him a couple new tricks. Everyone that knew him loved him. His passing leaves us with and unfillable hole. A vast emptiness. An unbelievable void and a horrendous ache-pain-hurt in our lives. We have been truly blessed to have had him. He was the best Husband and Dad anyone could ever hope to have.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 AM on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka.  The Reverend Monsignor Thomas J. Hargesheimer will officiate.

Bob will be laid to rest in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Visitation will be held at the Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, from 5 PM until 7 PM, where Deacon Justin Green will lead a Christian Wake Service at 6:45 PM.  Visitation will also be held at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, from 10:30 AM until the time of the Mass.

Pallbearers will be Bob’s grandchildren.

Online condolences or memories may be left for Bob’s family at

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