'The Youngest 96 Year Old'

What’s your fondest childhood memory?

Without even a thought, Lindsay Patlewicz will tell you hers is the “legendary” Cedar Point trip she took every summer with her grandpa Bob Dykema (and her Grandma Ruth and her seven cousins all piled into his blue Oldsmobile).

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“You do the math on that one,” Lindsay told the room full of Bob’s family and friends at his funeral on Monday at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home. “It was the highlight of our year.”

Bob took the big kids to the big coasters while Ruth watched over the little ones.

“He looked forward to it as much as we did,” said Lindsay, adding that the cousins annoyed their parents all year long asking when it was time to go again.


Bob had a zeal for life that could not be matched. In even the darkest of days or circumstances, his family said he could always see a bright spot. Every morning he started his day off right with a bowl of oatmeal and a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. Why not?! Bob had quite the sweet tooth. He LOVED his cookies as well as apple pie and anything mint, like peppermint patties.

As soon as breakfast was over, Bob was on the go. He was like the Energizer bunny, always up and moving, always asking how he could help others or lend a hand. He was determined to live to 100.

“He was the youngest 96 year old I’ve ever seen,” said Richmond Reformed Pastor Christopher Westerbeek, who also said that Bob was one of his closest friends despite their significant age difference. “Anyone who hangs out with Bob becomes like family.”

Pastor Westerbeek shared some of Bob’s favorite Bible passages—Romans 6:23 and Psalm 103—and encouraged his friends and family to carry on Bob’s rich legacy of faith. He also invited those gathered to sing along to some of Bob’s favorite hymns recorded by Elvis.

Because Bob was a World War II veteran—he joined the Coast Guard in 1942, serving in the Eastern Pacific with the landing craft infantry and was awarded a Bronze Star for occupation in Okinawa—the Kent County Veteran's Honor Guard performed the three-volley salute, played “Taps” and presented the American flag to Bob’s son.

Since Bob had such a hankering for sweets, especially mint, it was only fitting at the end of the service, that we handed out York Peppermint Patties to all the guests.

We heard the family mention how much Bob liked these and we wanted to give everyone a chance to share in this special memory. Now every time they see this chocolate candy, they’ll think of him. It’s often the little things like this that can have the biggest impact.

Following the service, family and friends gathered for a luncheon to continue sharing stories about the great impact Bob had on the lives of all who knew him.

You can read more about Bob’s life and even share a memory of your own on his personal memory page.