Robert C. Rawley passed away on April 21, 2019, in Omaha at the age of 89, in the arms of his three daughters.
Bob was born in the family home in Falls City, on September 11, 1929. While growing up in Falls City, he attended K-12 at Sacred Heart Catholic School which was, and is, associated with Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Parish.
He achieved a modicum of success as an athlete while attending high school: playing QB for the six-man football team; playing on the Irish 1947 Class D State Championship basketball team, and being voted onto the Class D All-State basketball team. While pitching for the Knights of Columbus fastpitch softball team, he pitched all the games and won the tournament championship. In a Falls City Journal article on this subject the writer referred to him as the “Falls City Flash,” a moniker he claimed to know nothing about. Later he was named the Richardson County Athlete of the decade for the 1940s. These were things he never talked about; he only said he played on the team. We learned these facts only after we found a scrapbook in his mother’s attic that she kept of his career.
After graduating, he headed to Omaha to attend Creighton University. It was at this time he met his wife-to-be, Beverly J. Anderson. They married in January of 1951 before his last semester of college. Upon graduation, he was promptly drafted into service in the U.S. Army. Because he held a college degree in accounting, they offered him a position in Officers Training School where, upon graduation, he would teach auditing to Army officers. He turned down this offer because it would have meant signing up for a longer enlistment. Even so, the Army still had Pvt. Rawley teach army officers auditing!
After leaving the Army in 1953, private citizen Rawley had a wife and two kids and needed a job. He put on a suit and walked unannounced into the office of the first CPA firm he ran into, Gilchrist CPA. He was hired on the spot. He developed a specialty in auditing investment firms and was eventually hired away by one of the companies he was auditing, Chiles, and Shultz. He took over their accounting and entire back office operation, eventually bringing them into the computer age. With the passage of time the company became Chiles and Co. When Warren Chiles wanted to retire, he sold the company to Bob and several of his co-workers. They, in turn, convinced Charles Heider to become a shareholder and CEO of Chiles Heider Investment Co. Bob was the CFO and member of the Board of Directors. Subsequently, with the growing success of the firm, they purchased Travel and Transport and Lincoln Tour and Travel. Bob was a director of both of those firms. Chiles Heider sold out to Shearson, and Bob sold his position in Travel and Transport to the company ESOP.
His success in business, while impressive, was not the true measure of Bob’s life. Bob was a gentle and humble man and a privately devout Catholic. He understood that being a role model was a full-time lifestyle choice. We never saw him intoxicated, never heard him brag, cuss, swear, take the Lord’s name in vain, tell an off-color joke, or make a slur of any kind. He badmouthed another person, and he shunned drama. He always honored his parents, sister, wife, and children. Generous with his time and thoughts, he was the personification of largess.
He believed in working hard to obtain one’s goals and that there was satisfaction in earning one’s way. In today’s world, it is becoming less popular to believe in heaven—however, Bob believed in heaven, and our family believes he earned it.
He is preceded in death by wife of 64 years Beverly Rawley.
He is survived by sons: Neal (Ruth), Tom (Bobbie), Gerard “Jack,” and Patrick (Jan); daughters: Ann Kastrup (Doug), Kate Negus, and Sue Branigan (Joe); 24 grandchildren; 43 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren.
VIGIL SERVICE: Thursday, April 25th at 7 pm at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, 8200 No. 30th St. in Omaha, with family receiving friends from 5 pm to 7 pm at the church. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, April 26th at 10:30 am at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church. Interment: Calvary Cemetery with military honors by American Legion Post #1.
Memorials are suggested to St. Philip Neri Catholic Church or St. Croix Hospice.