Robert “Bob” Dean Tornquist, 89, of Moline, IL, died peacefully at home, on October 6, 2020. Bob was born in New Windsor, IL, on February 21, 1931, the son of Glenn and Gertrude Tornquist. After high school, he proudly served in the United States Airforce. After returning home he met the love of his life, Donna Houston, and they married at Holy Cross Lutheran church, on March 10, 1956. Together, they lived a full and happy life. Left to honor his memory are his loving wife of 64 years, his six children, nine grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. Esterdahl’s Mortuary Moline is assisting the family with private services.
Sweetie, Dad, Grandpa, Papa Bob – to know this man was to love him and enjoy him and to never once feel like a stranger in his company. There were many important treasures in Bob’s life, his 80 acres of forested farmland, his barn full of things that may be useful, his shiny red Buick Skylark – but what he treasured most was his wife, and his FAMILY. And, you did not have to be family, to be FAMILY.
Bob was one of four children, and cherished his brothers and sisters dearly, and helped raise them. His relationship with them remained strong throughout their lives. He was preceded in death by his sister Lenore, his brother and best friend Don, and Cynthia Hampton, Don’s daughter, who was a special niece, Dick Griffin, and brother-in-law, Wayne Hamburg.
Bob was collector, and a keeper. Old John Deere wagons, useful things, ball caps from places he or we had been, but mostly he collected moments, memories, experiences and turned them into stories and celebrations of our life together as a FAMILY. Every gathering only got better when Bob caught our attention and asked someone “did I ever tell you the story about…”
Bob, cherished husband, kind daddy, amazing grandpa – our family leader. He was the steady in unsteady times, the person we relied upon for everything. The world has dimmed a bit now, but the sky is ever brighter. For those of us left grieving, please know, we are your legacy of love and we promise to keep your stories alive.
Bob was born to connect and convince. He gathered these talents over 32 years with Allstate Insurance. Bob earned more than a living, for in these years he was stacking up experiences and bonding with people who would become lifelong friends.
He was also creating a family, those of us who are left to remember. Together with Donna, the love of his life, Bob would welcome six children and their spouses – Kari and Alan Campbell, Vicki Tornquist and Kevin Holden, Tobin and Claudia Tornquist, Cami and Dan DeSmet, Kyle and Marti Tornquist, and Ami and Marshall Porter. His greatest joy in later years included spending time with his nine grandchildren, Blaine & Colleen, Courtney & Bob, Karl, Meghann & Mikey, Colin & Nicole, Jerid & Steve, Drew, Hayley and Sam and his nine great grandchildren, Zachary, Jackson, Silas and Scarlett, Emma, Macy and Ashton and Joseph and Olivia. Also, left to honor his memory are his loving sister Donna Jo Hamburg, his sister-in-law, Sue Swartz, his nieces, Julie Furin, Suzy VanVooren and Kelly Rodkey; his nephews, Luke & Cyndi Griffin and Chuck Tornquist; his cousin, Guy McFarlin, USMC and family "Semper Fi", and two men who held a special place in Bob’s life, Dan Jenkins and Joe Ryder.
Dad had a very competitive spirit. He was social, good natured and loved to play to win. He could run the table in a game of pool, win your pocket change in a rousing round of Left, Right, Center or challenge you to a friendly game of bags in the backyard. He enjoyed playing cards, especially gin and he particularly loved the game of Sequence when he and mom partnered for the win! Dad was a classic in the best sense of the word. He was a prankster, wise, funny, and entertaining. He was also practical, and always our voice of reason. Dad was a very handy man and a fixer of things and problems. He was our keeper. He was happiest when his family was happy and gave lovingly of his time, especially when it meant we could all be together.
Dad never doubted what he knew, and he knew what he liked. He liked a day at the farm, a good dog and worn out bib overalls. He liked listening to Johnny Horton on the radio and watching the Fighting IIllini, the Chicago Cubs and the Bears. Maybe what he liked most, was a call from us, whenever we got to where we were going. Dad liked life.
That is the gift he gave each of us every day, life and a love of it. And we are thankful, grateful and blessed. We will miss you until the end of time, in a good way, in the best way, with love.
Bob truly revered the years he spent in the United States Air Force, from 1951-1954, and he always considered his work there to be but a small part of the vast sacrifice of the Korean War. He carried the pride of country with him throughout his life and kept close the friends he made during those years, rarely missing the chance to attend reunions with his Air Force brothers. He was a proud member of the American Legion for many years after his return to the states, and so in lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the local American Legion unit, #227, in dad’s honor.
Please honor the family by leaving your favorite story or memory of Bob on the tribute wall. We know you have one!
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert "Bob" Dean Tornquist, please visit our floral store.