Selected portions of the memorial service for Robert T. Fiegl, held at
Houghton Wesleyan Church on May 9, 1996:
Monday, May 6th, our Savior stood at the right hand of our
Father, opened wide His arms and welcomed home His dear son, Bob Fiegl.
We are here with sorrowful hearts of the passing of a friend, the
passing of a dear father and grandfather, but we are also here to
worship our Lord, for the hope and the knowledge that our dear friend,
our brother in the Lord is with Him.
These are selected Old Testament
scriptures that Pastor Hartman gleaned from many that brother Fiegl had
marked in his Bible as being his favorites: Proverbs 3:1-10, Psalms 91:
1-2, Isaiah 41:9-10, Isaiah 43:10-14
Scripture message: Exodus 31:1-6. Other scriptures: I Thessalonians
1:1-3, Matthew 11:28-30, Luke 9: 23-26, I Peter 1: 3-9, I Corinthians
15:51-58 and Revelation 21:3-7
had left behind a handwritten note to his children and I would to read
that note and their response to that note before we go to prayer: “To
my children: I don’t know what worldly possessions I will leave. This
does not concern me so much as the fact that my desire is to leave each
of you a good name and a Christian memory of your mother and myself. My
desire for each of you is that you love and serve the Lord all the days
of your lives. I have loved each of you. I will look forward to seeing
each of you and my grandchildren in my Father’s house. Don’t feel badly
because I leave you. I have lived for this moment. Many of my friends
are with Jesus and we will have a great reunion.
Isaiah 41:10 (Fear thou
not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will
strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the
right hand of my righteousness.).
response: “Dear Dad, we are proud to be this diverse, interdependent
but strong family, grateful to have you and mother for parents. As we
reflect upon our childhood, it was very happy, free and safe. Whatever
you had, you freely shared. We have lived in love together, shared each
other’s gladness and wept each other’s tears. You and mother loved our
children and our spouses as you loved us. We loved you more for loving
them so much. You have left us far more that worldly possessions. By
your example, your sacrifices, the opportunities you gave us, the values
you set for us, the punishment when we were disobedient. You provided
us with the means to achieve, the will to work, a sense of
responsibility, the value of learning, satisfaction with work well done,
a dependence on God. We do indeed cherish the Christian memories of you
and our mother, your dedication and service to God and our church, your
faithfulness in following God’s guidance, purveyed our memories of you
both and though imperfectly we do love and serve God. You have passed
onto us a Christian heritage. The love of God has poured through your
lives and encircled us. Thank you for endlessly protecting and guiding
us with your prayers. Your vision of reunion with us in heaven is
reflected in our joy, even in the sorrow, that you are safe with mother,
Sandy and with God. Until we see you again, our memories will be vivid
with your unending assistance in so many ways, in acquiring our homes,
piano lessens, stories you read to us when we were little, working with
you and mother side by side. We will remember your frequent expression
of love. “What would I do without my kids? Your old dad loves you.”
Love, your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren.”
left this note behind, written in trembling hand of an aged saint:
“Grace is God’s answer to my hurts, pain and disappointments. In
whatsoever straights I find myself, I will turn to God and still trust
in Him. This has been my relationship with God for 53 years and He has
kept me through my joys and through all my hurts. Praise God for His
grace manifested in the life of Bob Fiegl.”
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour
is not in vain in the Lord. – I Corinthians 15:58
note left by Bob:
Dec. 20 1993
To my children:
I sit here at my desk looking out the window
watching people come to the Post Office across the St. to get their
mail. So many with cane to steady them up the steps. They
have a job getting out of their cars. I think these are of my
generation, soon I will be along with them for another world. You
may find some day I have passed away. People will say Bob Fiegl
has died. Don't you believe it. I have just left to go to my
father's house to be with my wife Clydice who is waiting for me.
No more being all alone, no more hurts, no more tears. God will
wipe them all away.
God bless each of you. I will look for
each of you.
following is an article written about Bob at the time of his retirement
from Houghton College in 1976:
"ROBERT T. FIEGL became Superintendent of
Buildings and Grounds in January of 1950. On December 31 he'll
retire. In between he's supervised construction of eight campus
buildings, been responsible for a $20 million plant and its equipment,
landscaping improvements and routine details including helping students
build parade floats. He's also helped many college families secure
houses. He's spent vacations in construction on mission fields -
Sierra Leone, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Brainerd Indian School in
South Dakota. Bob is people and service oriented, frequently
reminding, "we're only here because of the students." He chaired the
local school board for 10 of 20 years' service, also chaired Houghton
Academy Board. He's a bank director, and on the District Board of
the Wesleyan Church. He's a Town Councilman and Chairman of the
Town Fire Commissioners. Even summarizing his contributions to
students and community would fill this page. What motivates him?
Commitment to Christ and the practical observation, "someone's got to do
article written at the time of Bob's retirement:
"...Commenting at the retirement chapel on
his neighbor, ROBERT T. FIEGL, Professor F. R. Stockin said that the "T"
stood for "totally dedicated and towering faith." Houghton's
recent current fund campaign noted many of Mr. Fiegl's activities here
since 1950. A native Western New Yorker, he was a farmer and
contractor before coming to Houghton. He and his wife have six
children, five of whom attended college here...He was an enthusiastic
proponent of bowling lanes, spending many hours of his own time in
bitter weather to get the facility operational. His civic,
community and church services are endless."
article records the following:
"Alumni association past president
Priscilla Ries presented a Distinguished Alumnus Award to Robert T.
Fiegl, superintendent of buildings and grounds at the college from
1950-76, during the college's faculty/staff recognition banquet on
January 15. Sixteen Fiegl family members were present.
In part, the citation read: "As a child
he 'rode' one of his father's sawhorses and dreamed of someday being a
builder. At age 17 he was running his own crew. In retirement he
says, 'A man spends too much of his life working, to do something he
From the achievements cited, it was clear
Mr. Fiegl enjoys many things. Ms. Ries continued: "He has farmed,
contracted the construction of 51 houses, directed the construction of nine Houghton College
buildings and, since 1976, supervised construction, remodeling or
removal of as many buildings at Marion College. Eight times he's
headed volunteer construction crews on Wesleyan mission fields from
Haiti to Sierra Leone and thrice spent summer vacations building at the
Brainerd Indian School of the Wesleyen Church in South Dakota.
"But he is hardly a gadabout. He was one of the first to receive the denomination's
western New York District Layman of the Year Award. For 20 years he
served on the Fillmore Central School board, 10 of them as chairman.
He gave 17 years to the Houghton Academy Board of Trustees, several of
them as chairman. For 17 years he was a director of Citizens
Central Bank (Rushford). He was a Town of Caneadea councilman and
chairman of its fire commissioners. And he's attended the same church
for 45 years."
Associates of the gravel-voiced Fiegl
characterized him as: "an excellent judge of character," "practical,"
"has lots of common sense," "shows a love for people," "generous in
helping people without their ever knowing he did it," "efficient and
capable," "a friend to pastors," "determined", "able to stick with a
decision despite opposition," "always fair," "Christian enough to get
angry occasionally...to hammer on the table for things that matter."
Another concluded, "If I called him in the middle of the night with a
need, he'd be there, even now."
Ms. Ries said Fiegl would be quick to share any credit with "first, the
Lord he's served for almost half a century, then Clydice, his wife for
53 years." One friend called her "the silent partner who
plays a strong part in decision making."
The citation called Fiegl, "a man of faith,"
noting: "For months he resisted fellow school board member Willard
Smith's efforts to recruit him to work for the college. At the
time Bob owned his own farm and had a thriving contracting
business...Eventually their talk turned to compensation. 'We'll
pay you top salary, too,' the business manager had added, '$2,000' a
In retrospect Bob notes, "The Lord has
compensated us with everything we've needed, including good health.
On the farm I probably could never had afforded college for all the
children." (Five of six attended here).
Ms. Ries outlined several of what Fiegl
thought of as challenges during his Houghton career, among them:
"construction for the water system, installation of campus underground
electric service, layout of the tennis courts, alumni an Stebbins fields
and helping 45 faculty and staff members build homes at little above
She continued, "Bob has been strongly
motivated by Houghton's young people, both because of their potential
and for their enthusiasms. Creating an adequate recreational
facility for them is one reason he agreed to superintend construction of
the physical education center in 1979."
Now retired, Fiegl is still on the on the
church district camp board, of which he is a charter member. He's
built several houses in the last few years and he walks three miles a
day. "I don't feel much different than I did 40 years ago." Ms.
Ries concluded, "We could spend an evening recalling seeming miracles
which have attended Mr. Fiegl's efforts, ranging from material
acquisitions to tasks completed despite adversity. Certifiable
miracles there may have been, but behind each has been Bob's own
intercessory prayer, foresight, boldness and unstinting investment of
personal energy and money. Tonight Houghton College recognized Robert T. Fiegl as a
builder in the broadest sense, as a loyal friend, and as a Christian
example." (All faculty and staff are considered to be alumni.)
Fiegl Family Cemeteries