Robert was born on November 3, 1922, in Cleveland, OH, and passed away on Friday, May 21, 2004, in Fresno, CA, at the age of 81.
In 1959, while bowling with Lou Gentile at Cedar Lanes, Louie introduced him to Betty Jane Bennett. Bob and Betty were married at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church on June 12, 1960. He was preceded in death by his wife Betty on November 8, 1978; brother, Richard Kilcoyne; and a sister who passed away as an infant.
He is survived by his brother James, daughters Mary of Madera and Kristy of Franklin, TN; and son Kelly of San Francisco. He is also survived by five grandchildren Emma, Dillon, Shanna, Jennifer, and Bethany.
Robert graduated from Holy Name High School in Cleveland, OH, in 1941, where he lettered in basketball. In October of 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, CA. He served in World War II and earned the rank of Platoon Sergeant. He served in the 6th Division, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Raider Battalion, (a well known elite group of the Marines) Company K under the command of Colonel Martin Jordan “Stormy” Sexton. He served in Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Guam, and Okinawa where he was severely wounded and received a Purple Heart Medal.
His hospital ship was nearly sunk returning from Okinawa to Hawaii to San Francisco where he received treatment of his abdominal wound at Mare Island Naval Hospital.
He received an Honorable Discharge from U.S.M.C. in 1946.
While living in San Francisco, CA, he was employed by Bank of America and was assigned to Kobe, Japan from 1953 – 1956.
While in Japan, he enjoyed playing many rounds of golf with several Major League Baseball players from the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees, including Yogi Berra and many others who played baseball in Japan in the off season. He also traveled to Hong Kong and China.
Upon returning to California he continued to work for Bank of America as an Assistant Cashier and eventually became Senior Loan Officer. He accepted agribusiness assignments from the bank throughout Central California, from Bakersfield to Redding.
He furthered his banking career in Fresno as Vice President and one of the founders of the Fresno Bank of Agriculture, which later became the First National Bank of Fresno. Years later, he became Senior Vice President at the Central Bank, which eventually became the Bank of Fresno. He retired from the Bank of Fresno in 1984, at the age of 62.
As a young man, he worked for the Catholic Archdiocese driving a delivery truck from Fresno to Bass Lake shipping supplies for the priests.
He was an active member of civic organizations such as the Fresno Rotary Club and Fresno Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Sunnyside Country Club, San Joaquin Country Club, Marine Corps League, Marine Raider Assn., D.A.V., and the American Legion, Post 4.
On weekends, when not spending time with his children, he enjoyed playing golf and working in the yard and around the house, and attending Sunday Mass Services at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.
Before the death of Betty on November 8, 1978, the Kilcoyne Family enjoyed leisure time on the California coast at Pismo Beach, Santa Cruz, and Morro Bay, as well as Shaver Lake and Dinkey Creek.
Bob is best known for his courage under pressure, his discipline in the face of adversity, his competitiveness (particularly on the golf course), his perseverance, his generosity toward his family and warm regard for his friends, and for his sharp wit and homespun sense of humor.
He was truly a self-made man, coming from poverty, he gave much more than he ever received. He loved God and was unwavering in the strength of his faith in God.
Recitation of the Rosary and Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Fresno Memorial Gardens.
Remembrances may be made in Robert’s honor to Marine Raider Association, 4711 Del Monte Ave., San Diego, CA 92107.
Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Chapel, 1525 E. Saginaw