Robert Henry “Bob” Kyes, 95, passed away on December 14, 2020 at Memorial Medical Center. Bob was born in Rochester, Illinois on November 28, 1925 to Kent and Laverne (Hutchinson) Kyes. He attended Rochester Schools. After high school he played baseball for the St. Louis Cardinal farm team in Decatur, Illinois.
Bob served his country during World War II in the US Navy aboard the USS Marvin H. McIntyre.
Bob returned to Rochester, where he married Marilyn Irwin on December 23, 1950. He first returned to baseball, and then attended the University of Illinois. He became a teacher in the Springfield School District. He taught Pleasant Hill Elementary and then at Feitshans High School until 1967. When Southeast High School opened in 1968 Bob joined the faculty, where he taught history and coached baseball and basketball until his retirement in 1991.
His coaching technique was beyond traditional. His teaching was unorthodox, never by the book, but simple life lessons students could relate to. He was affectionately known as “King Kyes”.
Bob guided many young athletes through high school during his 27- year coaching career. His 1960 Feitshans baseball team won 23 straight before losing in the State Tournament. His accomplishments were recognized by his induction to the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers Buddy and Don Kyes. Bob and Marilyn have three children; Rik (Julie) Kyes, Kevin (Connie) Kyes, and Peggy (Frank) Lynch. Also surviving is his brother Larry (Barb) Kyes and niece Kathy (Dan) May and nephew Sean Keeley. Bob was beloved by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Bob seldom missed a grandchild’s game or school activity.
Bob had several lifelong friends. With Marilyn, he loved bridge, church friends, gardening, restaurants, good food, and road trips. Once asked how he would like to be remembered: “as a good teacher and a good coach, and – for those who didn’t care for me or those I made mistakes with- I’d like to hope that we’re still friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Bob Kyes Scholarship Fund/ Southeast High School and will be accepted at any Bank of Springfield location.
Wilson Park Funeral Home, 200 East Main Street, in Rochester is in charge of arrangements.
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