Robert F. Beine, age 90, passed away on October 31, 2017 from old age.
Bob, as he was known to friends, and “Boy” to family, was one of the greatest of the greatest generation. He was raised in Topeka, Kansas, a typical skinny, resourceful kid of the Depression. As an only child he amused himself for hours learning magic tricks, which he mastered and then performed at various Women’s Clubs for spending money. Magic became a lifelong hobby, which delighted him and his friends up till the end – even producing ‘silks’ and coins for his caregivers in his dotage!
A keen student, he started in Pre-Med on the GI Bill, then realized he missed literature too much and switched to Journalism, graduating from the University of Kansas. He was a proud member of Sigma Chi fraternity, again entertaining his buddies with his magic tricks and his way with words. He was thrilled to receive a job offer from Look Magazine, a shining star of the American media scene back in the ’40s and ’50s. One of his duties was to cover their in-house women’s basketball team, traveling with the team from game to game throughout the state of Iowa.
It was in Des Moines that he met the love of his life, Nancy, who would become his wife of over 50 years. They met in the book department of Younkers department store where he immediately asked her out for a Coke date. After a brief courtship they were married and moved to Waukegan, Il, when he accepted an offer as copywriter for Abbott Labs. Abbott was to become his professional home for the rest of his career, where he rapidly ascended the ladder in their in-house advertising department, eventually holding the title of Vice President of Advertising.
As their youngest-ever Creative Director he supervised all the materials produced for advertising to and communicating with doctors; in those days prescription drugs were never advertised to the general public. He also created stunning musical revues to galvanize the sales force. His boss gave him full creative rein and unlimited budget to produce Broadway-caliber productions, the most famous of which celebrated the life of Dr. Abbott, Abbott’s founder.
His early tenure at Abbott was in an era when America’s economy was growing rapidly and companies welcomed the young men returning from the war with career paths and incentives to help participate in a company’s expansion. Bob won numerous awards for his own writing, his department’s creative materials and for Abbott’s industry leadership in making sure doctors were fully informed about the products they prescribed. Many men and women reported that Bob was the best boss they ever had because he treated people with dignity and respect, his good nature shining through in every encounter.
Bob was a father who actually played with his daughter, Kathryn, and later on, his only grandson William. He was a fixture at the Lake Bluff Beach in the summers, especially thrilled to body surf on big wave days there and in Michigan. His playing shark and chasing all the ‘minnows’ in the lake or pool was a blast because he looked like a big, brown shark.
Bob was gracious to all and generous whenever possible, ‘spoiling’ waiters, babysitters, hairdressers, contractors and others when he had the opportunity to do so. He once received a $5 tip from a guest at the dude ranch where he worked during college summers in Colorado, and it amazed him so much that he vowed he would always be the best tipper possible.
He had a deep and active understanding that giving to others provides great satisfaction to the giver as well as the recipient.
Bob’s affectionate nature, his respect for hard work and his love of his family and country made him an admirable, unconflicted human being. He was beloved by many and encouraging to all.
No Visitation, Burial Private; Funeral Mass was held at Church of St. Mary, 175 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest, IL.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Catholic Charities of Lake County, 671 S. Lewis Ave., Waukegan, IL 60085.
Info Wenban Funeral Home, Lake Forest, IL www.wenbanfh.com. 847.234.0022