Robert J. Picard, December 14, 1940 - April 4, 2021
Bob was born in Menominee, Mich., on Dec. 14, 1940, to Marie (Kuhnle) and Robert (Claude) Picard. His grandparents, Anna and John Kuhnle supported him through his childhood and teenage years while Marie worked at the Lloyd furniture company. He played Pop Warner football in Menominee, ran around the neighborhood playing kick the can, and grabbed his fishing pole to catch dinner with his buddies which he would bring home for his grandmother to fillet and cook. As a child and teenager, he was a dependable friend – never afraid to try a new sport and bring others along for the fun. Bob graduated from Menominee High School in 1959 where he excelled as an athlete playing football, basketball and running track. He earned a scholarship to play football at the University of Michigan. After a serious shoulder injury, he left Ann Arbor and entered Lawrence University in Appleton. There he injured his back playing football and had to leave school to pay his own way through college. He subsequently enrolled at Northern Michigan University where he earned his bachelor of science degree in education in 1965.
Fueled by his love of sports, connecting with people, and making a difference in his community, Bob entered the field of secondary education. He taught at Albion High School, Gladstone High School, and then made his way back home to Marinette/Menominee where he was an assistant football coach and teacher at Marinette High School. He was very proud of his years coaching there, especially the offense of the 1974 State Championship team. He went on to graduate school at NMU, getting his master’s degree in 1979 in school administration. He was principal at Marinette High, business manager, and middle school principal before retiring in 1996. After he finished his football coaching career, you could still find him at Higley Stadium on fall Friday nights cheering on the Marines. He provided the color commentary for WMAM radio and used the halftime show to highlight Marine athletes from the tennis courts, swimming pool or cross country courses. He also loved watching the Green Bay Packers offensive line from his perch at Lambeau. His office at home is filled with hundreds of black and white photos of former players, fellow coaches, University of Michigan and Green Bay Packer regalia, and football game memories. One of his happiest recent days was in 2019, when he entered the Marinette Athletic Hall of Fame with the 1974 Marine State Championship team. The offensive players visited him at home and presented him with a team jersey, recalled the Shawano game of 1974, the incredible blocking and passing plays, and practice drills where Bob pushed them to their physical limits. The afternoon they spent together was filled with much joy and laughter.
Bob shared his life with wife Terry (Delwiche) Picard whom he married just before the football season began on Aug. 12, 1971 in Menominee. Their daughter Sarah was born six years later. He loved treating them like gold, spending time on their boat in Door County in the summers, cooking his famous fish on the grill, and coaching Sarah most weekends on the golf course. Every year on Valentine’s Day, he bought Terry the biggest bouquet of roses and the glossiest, largest card he could find at the Hallmark store. Terry and Sarah celebrated his hole-in-one at Riverside, his time as an Oldsmobile Scramble National Finalist in 1986 and his years of NEWGA Seniors leadership as secretary/treasurer. His friends will remember him as a consummate storyteller – on the golf course, at the Elks Club, at one of his many coffee klatches, at dinner parties in Gulf Shores, Ala., and in the homes of friends in Marinette/Menominee. He was known to chase down lobsters that got loose in the kitchen with his buddies and never shied away from an elaborate menu at the “Gourmen” dinners he would host with fellow husbands for their adoring wives. It was the visits by these friends to his window at the Luther Home, combined with phone calls, cards, letters and videos that provided him with laughter and comfort. Day after day, Terry stood at the window to water the plants she put outside, catch him up on the town news, read him the sports section, and just share in one another’s company – through the glass. In a year where a devastating virus kept so many people apart, he could sense the love and care so many friends and family shared from afar. When Terry and Sarah were allowed in to visit, they were grateful for every moment spent together as a family. They are thankful to the entire Luther Home staff for their patience and care.
Bob is survived by his wife, Terry; daughter, Sarah Picard Taylor, her husband Tony and their daughter Maggie; Fred and Audrey Delwiche; John and Anne Delwiche; six wonderful nieces and nephews (who he loved to join at the “kids table” during holidays) and several cousins with whom he shared many happy memories. He was preceded in death by his parents Claude and Marie; his stepmother, Emily; as well as his in-laws John and Mary Jo Leaper.
A private family Mass will be held; a celebration of Bob’s life where all can gather will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the M&M Area Community Foundation. The family recommends two funds specifically: the Marine Way Fund or the Future Fund. Bob believed in the power of extracurricular activities in a school community, knowing that when a student is also seen as an athlete, musician, artist, actor or student leader they are more likely to succeed. Donations to the Marine Way Fund honors this belief and provides greater access to all kids in the Marinette community. Donations to the Future Fund provide financial support to children across Marinette and Menominee by funding savings accounts.
Thielen Funeral Home is assisting the family.
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