Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
October 11, 2023, Bobby Gene Serl, Sr.’s life on earth ended. He now spends eternal life with the Lord after suffering more than nine years with dementia. Those of us left behind will deeply miss his wittiness, sarcasm, brilliant mind, laugh, big hugs and even bigger love. Bobby, “Bob” was born August 21, 1935 to Wray Delmer Serl and Mabel Martha (Weiher) Serl in Macon, Missouri. Bob was the 2nd born of eight children. Bobby was preceded in death by his father and mother; brothers, Leo, Leland and Glen.
As a young child, the family moved to Onalaska, WA, then onto other places such as Yuma, CO and White Swan, WA where Bobby graduated from high school in 1953. While visiting aunts, uncles and cousins in Onalaska, Bob met the young Iris Elizabeth Snodgrass and confidently told his cousin, “I’m going to marry her.” Iris was in the eighth grade at that time, and Bobby was just a sophomore in high school. As he predicted, on June 4, 1955, just a week after Iris graduated from high school, they were married. They would spend more than 73 years together and were married 68 years. They raised four children who gave them 11 grandchildren and now boast 37 great-grandchildren. Their legacy still continues to grow.
Bob was known for being an extremely hard worker who took great pride in providing well for his family, always working multiple jobs including splitting cedar with Bill and Bob Jr. A large part of providing for his family included being a passionate outdoorsman, who enjoyed deer, elk and moose hunting, along with salmon fishing. Bob even had “his own spot” at the Cowlitz Barrier Dam for many years! He passed his love of the outdoors and his deep dedication to his many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As a young man, he wanted to become an Ag teacher and high school coach. While attending Junior College in Yakima, his father had a heart attack and Bobby abruptly returned home to assist where he was needed with his five younger siblings still at home.
As a young husband and father, Bob worked his small farm in Onalaska along with his daily job at Howard’s Mill in Mossyrock, then a short stint in Portland, Oregon when the Mossyrock mill suddenly shut down. He then found a job in Chehalis working as a sanitary engineer for Bill and Bessie Bucanan. After several years, LeMay purchased Bucanan’s “garbage truck” business and he continued with them for a short time before going to work for the City of Chehalis, eventually becoming Superintendent of the Chehalis Waste Water Treatment Plant where he worked until he retired; he received several accommodations and awards for his dedicated work throughout this time. While working for the city, Bob also served as a City of Chehalis reserve police officer for many years, providing security for most W.F. West home games and dances. During this time, Bobby took an adjunct teaching position at Centralia College teaching courses and creating his own lesson plans for a new generation to successfully attain waste water and water treatment plant operator certifications. These courses were comprised heavily of chemistry and higher-level math skills. Bob deeply enjoyed realizing his dream of teaching for several years.
Throughout his life, Bobby was an avid athlete, playing baseball and slow pitch until he was well over fifty and fulfilling some of his coaching dreams as he coached his own sons and many talented Twin Cities youth in Babe Ruth baseball where he also served as President. Bob enjoyed attending local youth sporting events for most of his life. He was also a very dedicated and talented bowler. “Uncle Bob,” as he was known by many, bowled in multiple leagues in every Lewis County bowling alley until 2020. He enjoyed traveling to numerous tournaments in and out of state. Bob was lucky to bowl on leagues with his sons and nephew, Rick Lyons of Onalaska as well as “bowling buddies”, Fred Hamilton, Isaac “Ike” Pope and many others.
Bobby loved to volunteer and was an active member of Kiwanis for decades. He enjoyed working the See’s Candy sales each year, working with youth volunteers through local Key Clubs, judging local youth talent shows and Little Miss Friendly, as well as selling fireworks every 4th of July. Over his years in Kiwanis, Bob worked his way up to become Lieutenant Governor, a position he held with great pride and dedication.
Bobby is survived by the love of his life, Iris Elizabeth Snodgrass-Serl, their four children: Deanna Borseth and her husband, Mike of Chehalis; Bobby Gene Serl, Jr. and his wife, Teresa of Onalaska; William (Bill) Serl and his wife, Dawn of Centralia; and Danielle Miller and her husband Eugene (Butch) of Winlock; 11 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren; his siblings John, Wray (Jr.), Lawrence (Larry) and Linda Hebert-Serl; and numerous nieces and nephews, as well as many great and twice-great nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend a special thank you, love and appreciation to Dad’s caregivers, Lottie Talliaferro-Davis, Eva Stewart and great-grandson, Kenton Borseth, for walking alongside us and providing care above and beyond expectations in his final years, months and days.
Please join the family in a celebration of life, Sunday, October 22 from 12-3pm, at the Veteran’s Memorial Museum at 100 SW Veterans Way, in Chehalis, WA.