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Robert D. Lile

March 7, 1935 December 25, 2017
Robert D. Lile
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Obituary for Robert D. Lile

Robert Davis Lile, passed away peacefully around 6:30 pm December 25, 2017 at the Heights Nursing Home in Peoria Heights, IL. He was born March 7, 1935 in Peoria, to V. Deacon and Katherine Davis Lile.

He married Marianne M. McQuellon on November 28th 1959. He is survived by their 3 loving sons; Robert Christopher (Carolyn) of St. Louis, Gregory Davis (Lauren) of Cleveland, OH, and Paul Nicholas, Naples, FL. His beautiful wife, Marianne, passed away at the age of 48 in 1985. Bob has 6 grandchildren; Ryan, Rachel, Marlo, Eric, Cooper and Marianne. He is survived by his brother Paul (and sister in law, Meg) of Philadelphia, PA, and numerous nieces, nephews, in-laws, and dear friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, by Marianne and his younger brother Charles, a former schoolteacher. Also by a cousin, John Davis, a former U.S. Marine and prominent Attorney in Texas.

He was a 1953 graduate of Central High School and was a member of the popular “FTs” Club. He later graduated from Bradley University with a degree in Accounting. Throughout his adult life he remained an enthusiastic attendee at Central High School class reunions. He remained lifelong friends with many of his classmates.

His father, V. Deacon Lile, grew up on a farm near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He used to delight his grandchildren with colorful stories of day to day farm life prior to the advent of electricity. As a young man he had ploughed behind a mule, raised and cured tobacco, slaughtered hogs, broke horses and a myriad of other chores. Around 1930 Deacon, who had been an avid football player, moved to Peoria and worked his way through Bradley University during the early years of the Great Depression.

There he met the love of his life, Kathrine Davis, the adopted daughter of prominent Peoria physician Dr. Franklin Davis, and Maude Davis. After they married Deacon became a schoolteacher and later a Principal at Loucks Elementary school in the Peoria School District. Later, he worked for Field Enterprises in St. Louis (as did Katherine) before retiring to Naples, Florida in 1970.

After marrying Marianne McQuellon (daughter of “Ed” and Mildred) at St. Mary’s cathedral in Peoria, Bob worked at accounting jobs in the Peoria area. The couple’s three sons were born during this time. In 1970 Bob purchased “Availability” a Peoria employment agency and temporary help service. This would become the family enterprise for 15 years.
As the business grew Bob started a couple other businesses in the 1970s including a travel agency.

Bob had a lifelong love of boats and boating. His sons literally grew up on boats on the Illinois River.

At an early age they learned how to sand and paint boat bottoms, drive boats, navigate on the river, and to waterski. The family made a total of 4 boat trips to the Great Lakes from Peoria, ultimately reaching Little Current, Canada in the Summer of 1978. These trips with their sometimes harrowing mishaps became part of family folklore.

The biggest boating adventure occurred in 1971 when Bob and family refurbished a 1927 Matthews cabin cruiser named “the African Queen” (from the Humphrey Bogart film of the same name).

On December 1st 1971 Bob and Don Coleman left Peoria to take the vessel down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. After a two week odyssey filled with mishaps they made it to New Orleans where Marianne and the boys replaced Don as the crew. They eventually arrived in Naples, Florida (the intended destination) 3 days late for Christmas and were featured in write ups in local newspapers there.

Later the family sailed the boat to Key West where they spent New Year’s Eve. Because the boat was too slow to navigate back up the Mississippi River, it was eventually sold to an Air Force officer in Miami.

During the 1960s, 70s and 80s the families boats were docked at various Peoria area Marinas including “Seaway Marina” and “Wharf Harbor Marina.” Boats were so much a part of the family fabric that the youngest son, Nick, has made boats a lifelong career and manages a marina and marine services company in Naples.

In addition to boating Bob had an affinity for hunting and firearms. In the 1970s he and his sons made numerous excursions across frozen cornfields and woodlots in Central Illinois in search of rabbits, quail and deer. At one point he had a sizeable gun collection with over 40 firearms.
Another great love of Bob’s was automobiles. He seemed forever fascinated by them. He estimated that he had personally owned around 100 vehicles in his lifetime. When Detroit quit making convertibles in the 1970s – he began buying them and for a time owned four.
In 1985 due to the sluggish economy in Peoria and to prepare for retirement Bob and Marianne decided to relocate the family business to Naples, Florida. Several months later the sudden loss of Marianne delt a traumatic blow to Bob that he never fully recovered from. The business was closed and for the remainder of his life he worked intermittently at retail jobs before retiring.
Bob remained in Naples until 1994. In that year he purchased a small 22 acre farm in rural Missouri, 60 miles from St. Louis. He remained in that scenic , isolated area for 4 years until moving back to Peoria.

After a few years in Peoria he moved again to Florida, this time to the Sebring area. In the wake of several active hurricane seasons (Hurricane Rita, Ivan, etc.) he decided to return once again to Peoria in 2007. For the past three years due to health issues he had been a resident of the Heights Nursing Home in Peoria Heights. There he was a favorite among the dedicated and hardworking staff.

In his life he battled and survived severe polio in 1947 (Which forever paralyzed his right arm) and stage three colon cancer in the late 1990s. He had suffered from other ailments as well in recent years.

He will be greatly missed by his sons, daughter in laws, grandchildren, nieces(Kathy, Jane, Jean Marie, Maggie) nephews(Chip, Will, Andrew, Stewart, Deacon), in laws, and many dear friends.

Funeral Services will be 2:00 PM, Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at Wright & Salmon Mortuary, with a two hour prior visitation. Burial will follow at Springdale Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude’s Hospital or Jefferson College Foundation, Hillsboro, MO.

Friends and family may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences to

Previous Events





12:00 PM 1/3/2018 12:00:00 PM - 2:00 PM 1/3/2018 2:00:00 PM
Wright & Salmon Mortuary

2416 N. North Street
Peoria, IL 61604

Wright & Salmon Mortuary
2416 N. North Street Peoria 61604 IL
United States

Funeral Service




2:00 PM 1/3/2018 2:00:00 PM
Wright & Salmon Mortuary

2416 N. North Street
Peoria, IL 61604

Wright & Salmon Mortuary
2416 N. North Street Peoria 61604 IL
United States

Cemetery Details


Springdale Cemetery Final Resting Place

3014 N Prospect Rd
Peoria, IL 61603

3014 N Prospect Rd Peoria 61603 IL
United States

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