Obituary: C. Robert Garrett, 91, of Ludington

August 8, 2023

Bob Garrett

Obituary: C. Robert Garrett, 91, of Ludington

C. Robert Garrett, known to most as Bob, passed away on Monday, August 7, 2023 with his daughters at his side. 

Bob was born on January 16,1932 in Saginaw to Earl and Mary Ellen (Milne) Garrett.   His brother and best friend, Richard, soon followed.  The two boys grew up together in Saginaw and would spend their summers in Constantine with their paternal grandmother, Susie Putnam. They would often ride their bikes to the Indiana state line, cross the line, and then ride home. 

Bob graduated from Saginaw Arthur Hill High School with the class of 1950. Although he did not start running until the second semester of his junior year in high school, he found success in the sports of cross county and track. This talent led him to earning an athletic scholarship to Central Michigan College (now Central Michigan University) for track and cross country.  In 1953, Bob qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championship. He did well in both indoor and outdoor track running both the mile and half-mile.  He was named captain of the 1953 cross country team and tri-captain of the 1954 track team.  Bob graduated from Central in 1954 and went on to earn master’s degrees from there and the University of Michigan. 

Bob enlisted in the Army in 1955 and ran track with the Army team, doing well at the post level at Fort Devens. He and two others were sent to the first ever Army track meet at West Point, where he placed second in the steeple chase and third in another event.  Bob continued to run until he was 72 years old, even winning a few age group races in the Lakestride races. 

Always wanting to spend his life helping others, Bob started out as a teacher and coach in Ionia, Scottville, and finally settling in Ludington. He served Ludington Area Schools as a teacher, athletic director, and finally at the Central Business Office where he handled programs related to schools that evolved from the federal law enacted by President Johnson’s Great Society programs, along with the new Title IX responsibilities. Bob said that this part of his job was easy as the school board, superintendent, principals and the community all believed in the goals of Title IX.  His favorite position, however, was his last; that of the principal of Foster Elementary and Pere Marquette Elementary schools. He loved spending his days with the kids and helping teachers help their students. 

Bob served as the recreation director for the City of Ludington for 25 years. It was in this position that he spearheaded a number of projects that continue to impact the people of and visitors to the Ludington area. 

The first of these projects was sparked by his observations that the senior population of Ludington had no or limited access to recreation and socialization activities. He, the Ludington Area School District Board of Education and the city moved to acquire, renovate, staff, and program a place for seniors. With the help of the Michigan Commission on Aging, the first senior citizen center north of Grand Rapids was opened in 1972 and remains a vital part of the lives of many senior citizens today.

Bob was appointed by Governor George Romney and again by Governor William Milliken to The State Recreation Advisory Committee. He served on this committee for 13 years and was chairman for a part of that time. One of the major programs this committee was involved in was a $1 million bond issue that was placed on the ballot and passed. This significantly impacted Ludington in its efforts to provide quality recreation facilities for its citizens as this helped to fund the community swimming pool, new tennis courts, and a beach house. 

Bob’s vision for a municipal marina was the impetus for the current marina on Pere Marquette Lake.  He shared this vision with then-city manager Jim Cartier, who then shared it with the City Council and the chairman of the Michigan Waterways Commission. This was a collaborative project that involved the city of Ludington, the Waterways Commission, and the school system, as they owned some of the property needed for the project. This project continues to impact businesses and the tourism industry in Ludington. Bob was given the Key to the City for his role in this project. 

Bob also had a hand in the creation of a county parks commission that evolved out of a problem that arose with the licensing process for the Consumers/Detroit Edison pumped storage project. This project resulted in construction of the picnic pavilion and playground near the pumped storage project. 

One final award that Bob was proud of was from the Amateur Softball Association of America for the 25 years he worked with them to provide some of the best softball in Michigan. 

Bob was proud of his family and the accomplishments of his three daughters. He instilled in each of them a strong work ethic and the importance of helping others.  

He loved the outdoors, especially the time he spent in the Upper Peninsula at his cabin.  He liked to go fly fishing , photography, and playing golf. He won the handicap club championship at Lincoln Hills Golf Club and scored three holes in one; an accomplishment he was very proud of. 

He loved to travel, with, Scotland, Germany, and Estes Park, Colorado as some of his favorite places to visit.

He was a die-hard Central Michigan football fan, having season tickets for the Chippewas for many years. 

Bob’s passing was preceded by that of his parents, his beloved in-laws, Walter and Edna Chadwick; his daughter, Janet Schuller; his brother, Richard, and his best friend for life, Kim Wheelock. 

Bob’s memory will be forever cherished by his daughters Gayle (Rex) Robinson of Powder Springs, Georgia and Martha (Mike) Moore of Eakly, Oklahoma; son-in-law Aaron (Stacy) Schuller of Owasso, Oklahoma; his four grandchildren, Meghan (Terry) Barton, Geoffrey (Catherine) Brewer, Katie (Andy) Henson, and Capt. Robert Schuller, USMC. Additionally, he is survived by eight great-grandchildren; his special niece, Dawn Garrett; his sisters-in-law Tina Garrett and Karen Bradshaw; along with other nieces and nephews.  Special and dear friends, Patrick, Maria, and Kristin O’Hare and Mike Larsen will forever hold a place in Gayle and Martha’s hearts for their constant care and support for their dad over the years. Finally, a debt of gratitude is owed the caregivers from Village Services, the compassionate staff at Lake Michigan Senior Living, and the wonderful staff at Corewell Hospital. 

The family will greet friends on Thursday, August 10 from  5 to 7 p.m. at Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington. A private graveside service will be held at Lakeview Cemetery in Ludington, where Bob will be laid to rest next to his daughter, Janet. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Bob’s name to the Ludington Area Senior Citizen Center.

Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, www.OakGroveLudington.com. 

Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks

Area Churches