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Robert P. "Bob" Alley

Visitation Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Visitation Time: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Funeral Date: Thursday, July 18th, 2024
Funeral Time: 9:30 am
Place of Funeral: St. Isidore Church
Interment: St. Mary Cemetery

Robert P. Alley (1927-2024)
Robert “Bob” Philbrick Alley, 96, died peacefully in his home on June 28, 2024, surrounded by his children and care givers. He is survived by his children, Thomas Michael Alley (Lisa), Robert Peter Alley, and Susie Marie Palluti (Anthony); grandchildren Elizabeth Grace Palluti, Corrine Marie Palluti-Countermine (Justin), Kathryn Elaine Alley, William Robert Alley; and great-grandchild Giavonna Evangeline Palluti-Vibert. He was predeceased by his wife, Anneliese Alley (nee Fangmann) and great-grandson Anthony Frederick Palluti-Vibert. Bob was a communicant at St. Isadore Catholic Church in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

Bob was born near Elderon, Wisconsin, on October 18, 1927, to Burt Elmer Alley and Margaret (nee Philbrick) Alley on the family farm.

A few years later, the Great Depression made farming difficult, and his father relocated the family to Iron River in the upper peninsula of Michigan and started working in the local iron mines. Most of Bob’s childhood years were spent living near the Rogers Mine. He attended the local school through grade 10 and completed his high school education at the Iron River High School, graduating in 1945 with a scholarship to the University of Michigan. He graduated from the U of M in 1949 with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering. An excellent student, Bob never missed a day of school and was recognized with perfect attendance through primary and secondary school.

Upon graduation from the U of M, Bob started working at General Electric, participating in the firm’s rotating engineering program which consisted of three-month assignments at different plants to acquaint new engineers with the company. However, his training with GE was interrupted in late 1950 when Bob was drafted into the US Army.

After completing basic training, he was sent to the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. He was assigned to the 9393rd Technical Service unit that consisted of a group of mostly young college graduates who were engaged with building and firing RTG-V-4 Bumper rockets, an Americanized version of the German V-2. This was the largest rocket of the day and was thus an important scientific vehicle. During the next two years, the group, known as the “Broomstick Scientists”, constructed and fired four of these rockets to collect data and test components for the Saturn V rocket being developed by Dr. Werner von Braun and his team in Huntsville, Alabama. As a technical sergeant leading the engineering work, Bob was awarded the Commendation Medal from the Army upon the completion of his service.

In 1952 Bob returned to GE and resumed the rotating assignment program. In 1954 he started with the General Purpose Control Department. In the late 1950’s he enjoyed a 1-year assignment in Germany with AEG. This was followed by the Ballast Department, Solid State Applications Group, and finally a position at the GE Corporate Research & Development Laboratory in Schenectady, New York. During his career with GE, Bob was awarded over 40 patents, making him one of the top inventors and innovators in the company.

In 1960 Bob married Anneliese (nee Fangmann) after a brief courtship; a marriage that would last for 58 years. The couple had three children, Thomas, Robert, and Susie. Shortly after getting married, Bob obtained his Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and co-authored the book “Physical Laws and Effects” (John Wiley & Sons) with C. F. Hix.

Bob was also known as an accomplished woodworker and all-around handyman. Not only did he build his first house after getting married, but he also engaged in countless projects throughout his life that involved furniture and cabinetry for himself and others. Many of his creations adorn the homes of his surviving family and friends.

In 1991, after 42 years of service, Bob retired from General Electric after sustaining a back injury in a car accident. He and Anneliese followed friends to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he remained active in the GE Retirees Association, the Knights of Columbus, and other church, civic, and community groups. The couple also traveled extensively in the US, Egypt, Asia, Russia, Europe, South America, and even Antarctica, with Bob frequently stating that it was easier to list where they had NOT been rather than the places they had.

In 2012 Bob and Anneliese left South Carolina and joined their bachelor son, Rob, in Bloomingdale, IL. Although Bob was not particularly active in the Chicago area, he did maintain his membership in the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.


The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for the compassion and care shown by the dedicated staff of St. Croix Hospice and the caregivers of Senior Helpers of Naperville during the final months of Bob’s life.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, a charity in which Bob and Anneliese were very active.


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