BALLANTINE, Mont. — Robert Allen Eldred Sr., 72, of Ballantine, Mont., passed away from lung cancer April 6, 2020, at his home, surrounded by immediate family.
He was born to Billie and Dorine (Falkenhan) Eldred, in Kankakee, on Feb. 10, 1948. He was the oldest of 11 children.
Robert met his wife of 48 years, Candace (Rios) Eldred, in Kankakee, in 1971. They were married Feb. 4, 1972, in Joliet, and moved to Billings, Mont., in 1979, where he became an avid outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman.
Family and friends meant everything to Robert. After talking to Robert for a couple of minutes, he considered you a friend. He never met a person he wasn’t willing to help. Robert was full of life, always making others smile and laugh. He took great pride in coaching his son’s football and baseball teams and his daughter’s softball teams. He continued to be their biggest fan watching them play sports through college.
Robert worked construction for various companies for more than 40 years.
If he wasn’t working or coaching, he was with his children, his brothers, or his friends hunting and fishing. In Rob’s younger years, he raced sportsmen class stock cars around the Kankakee area, much to the dismay of his wife. Once he no longer raced, he attended various races, with his favorite being sprint cars. Each year, Rob and Candy would meet good friends in Knoxville, Iowa, to watch sprint car races. Robert spent his recent days talking on the phone with his dearly loved sisters and birdwatching. He never left a bird feeder empty or a bird unidentified.
Preceding him in death were his parents; three brothers, Carl, Billie Jr. and Richard; infant sister, Jackie; and nephew, Justin Powell.
Surviving are his wife, Candace Eldred; son, Robert Eldred Jr. (Scarlet) and children, Trey and Sienna, of Saco, Maine; daughter, Rebecca (Eldred) Knapp and children, Kaleb and McKenna, of Navarre, Fla.; his five sisters and one brother-in-law, Sue Garrett, of Kankakee, Sharon Powell (Bruce), of Bradley, Shelly McIntosh, of Elberta, Ala., Shirley Dillon, of Geneva, Ala., and Sandy Hanna, of San Diego, Calif.; his two brothers and four sisters-in-law, Lynn Eldred, of Joliet, Pat Eldred, of Kankakee, Nick Eldred (Rosie), of Bourbonnais, Pete Eldred, of Bradley, and Cindi LaFountain, of Appleton, Wis.; his beloved cousin, Denise Triffo (Tom), of Rockdale, Texas; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
To those who knew him best, Robert will be remembered as a loyal friend and a loving husband, father and “papa.”
A celebration of life will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, at La Villetta at The Elks, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne.