Robert F. Ingersoll, a lifelong Clear Lake resident, education leader and low-income housing activist, and long-time accountant for Woodford-Wheeler Lumber Yard, died Thursday, July 26, 2018, on his 97th birthday.
He spent the week before his death at his home on Clear Lake with much of his family at their annual reunion, including a day of fishing on the lake with his nephews. The day after everyone left, he suddenly fell ill with a blood clot on his lung and congestive heart failure.
In accordance with his wishes there will be no funeral. A private family interment of his ashes will be at Clear Lake Cemetery at a later date, when the ashes of his wife of 70 years, Virginia L. Ingersoll, also will be interred. Virginia died in 2013.
A fourth-generation Clear Lake resident, Bob was educated in the Clear Lake public schools and was a graduate of the University of Iowa. Before attending the university, Bob served in the U.S. Army during World War II. While training for the Signal Corps in Des Moines, he met Virginia Lane, and they were married in Des Moines in 1943. Later in the war, Bob joined the Army Air Corps. He was stationed in Guam, where he was a radio operator on a B-29 bomber.
Bob returned to school after the war, received his degree in 1947 and came back to Clear Lake to begin his career as a certified public accountant. He worked many years for Woodford-Wheeler Lumber Company and served on the board of directors of the Clear Lake Independent Telephone Company.
Bob also was active in many Clear Lake civic organizations, and he was named the Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year for 2011.
He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 17 as a boy, and later became its scoutmaster. He served as secretary of the Clear Lake Board of Education, was a member of the Clear Lake Schools Advisory Committee, and was chairman of the committee set up to promote passage of the bond issue that paid for construction of Clear Creek Elementary School. He also was a volunteer for the Clear Creek School Outdoor Classroom.
Bob was the first chairman of the Clear Lake Parks and Recreation Commission, and he had an abiding interest in low-income housing. He helped organize the North Iowa Regional Housing Authority, served as its president, and was Clear Lake’s representative to the housing authority for many years. In addition, he was an officer of Lakeland Park Inc., a not-for-profit organization that built housing for the elderly in Clear Lake.
Bob was a member of the Clear Lake Arts Council and was a long-time member of the Clear Lake Lions Club, the VFW and the American Legion.
Bob’s civic activities did not keep him from his avocations: He was an avid gardener and sailor, and was commodore of the Clear Lake Yacht Club. He sailed in many regattas, often with his nieces or nephews – or, later, local teenagers – as his crew.
Bob was a lifelong member of the First Congregational Church, where he was a Sunday school teacher, a member of the board of trustees, and moderator of the congregation.
Bob is survived by his sister-in-law, Shirley Ingersoll, of Clear Lake; two nieces, Lyn Ingersoll (Marc Rosenbaum), of Washington, D.C., and Kathy Arends (Brad Arends), of Fort Dodge; two nephews, Doug Ingersoll (Diane Ingersoll), of Clover, S.C., and Dave Ingersoll (Dawn Ingersoll), of Clear Lake; two grand nieces, Emily Kahn (Eric Kahn) and Katie Ingersoll (Julie Tozer); two grand nephews, Robert Rosenbaum (Asya Troychansky) and Drew Arends; a great-grandniece, Allison Kahn; and a great-grandnephew, Benjamin Rosen-Chansky.
In addition to his wife, Virginia, Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph C. and Freda Ingersoll; and his brother, R. Crosby Ingersoll.
Memorials may be directed to the History Room of the Clear Lake Public Library or Hospice of North Iowa.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.