Born on 10 September 1909 in St. Louis, Robert “Bob” William Percy Fennell was the son of Floyd Alonzo Fennell and Kate Evelyn Carpenter. Bob grew up in Maplewood with his family at 2400 Laclede Station Road. Bob married Dorothy “Dot” Edith Lane on 10 September 1931 in University City, and they spent their entire married life at their Maplewood home at 2605 Valley Avenue, which they purchased from Fred and Ruth Wolf. Bob and Dot had four children: Robert Floyd, Nancy Louise, Diane Carol, and Sandra Lee.

In the summer of 1930, Bob and his friend, Dick Ruck, decided to head to California to seek their fortune. Bob and Dick kept a diary of their trip; they got as far as Oklahoma City before returning home. The diary is so much fun to read. One of Bob’s first jobs was delivering groceries for Kopman Grocery and for Kramer Foods. He drove a horse-drawn truck and delivered ice for the St. Louis Dairy. He also worked for Emerson Electric as a guard, and then he became a policeman for the Maplewood police force. Many times he could be seen directing traffic at Manchester and Big Bend. Being a policeman was his favorite job. Fellow officers, as well as friends, were Les Meyers, Greg Bittner, Harry Blackford, Emil Flores, Frank Florence, and Leo Zinn. He also provided security at Goldie’s Department Store during the holidays.

His last job was as an inspector with Cupples Aluminum Products on Hanley Road. During his off time at Cupples, he did landscaping work for folks in Maplewood. He walked to and from work at Cupples because by using a short-cut across a railroad trestle it was an easy and quick walk from home. One evening, while walking home, he was on the trestle when all of a sudden he heard the train’s whistle. Looking back, he saw the train was close, so he jumped. He hit planks on the fall down and broke several ribs as well as having many cuts and bruises. Even though he recovered from the fall, he decided not to return to Cupples, so he retired.

Bob loved living in Maplewood and enjoyed participating in “Maple Days.” One year, he and a neighbor, Leo Edwards, were clowns at the event. He was most proud of winning the beard contest that year. He even appeared on the Charlotte Peters television show to let everyone see his beard.

Bob died on 21 October 1986 at Incarnate Word Hospital after a short illness. We had a ceremony at J. B. Smith Funeral Home for friends and family; however, several years prior to his death, he had arranged to donate his body to the St. Louis University Medical Center for science. His wife, Dorothy, died on 1 March 2007 at the Brook View Home in St. Louis, while under SSM Hospice care. Her service was held at J. B. Smith Funeral Home in Maplewood and she is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

(Sources are family records.)

Written by Nancy Louise Fennell Hawkins, Topeka, Kansas
February 2017

© 2017, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Robert William Percy Fennell
Robert William Percy Fennell
Photo in the collection of Nancy (Fennell) Hawkins
Used with permission

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 19:26