Bob Niles, 77, passed away on Jan. 10, 2018 in Whitefish.
Born Robert Allen Niles on April 12, 1940 in Blackduck, Minnesota, Bob was the youngest of three boys. Although the family moved away to Oregon sometime later Bob spent most of his summers in Minnesota helping his Grandpa Schonebaum run a small resort with cabins and aluminum boat rentals on one of the many lakes in the area. It was during this time that Bob learned to bass fish.
Bob graduated from Klamath Union High School, Klamath Falls Oregon, in 1958. During his senior year Bob was both Class Vice President and Team Captain of the basketball team. This famed basketball team won the State Championship against Grant High School in 1958. (In October of 2006, the team was inducted into the Klamath Union Hall of Fame.) Bob went on to play for Oregon State College in Corvallis, now Oregon State University, where at 6’6” he was one of their shortest players. Bob’s quickness and strong defensive play earned him a starting position and a letter his sophomore year. Unfortunately, his promising basketball career was cut short in a near fatal car crash on Nov. 6, 1960 that left him with multiple broken bones. Bob often referred to his having survived that crash as being his second birthday.
After his recovery Bob returned to Klamath Falls and went into business with his brother Bruce working as private investigators and insurance adjusters throughout the states of Oregon and Northern California for 16 years. (oh, the stories those two could tell!) In 1977 Bob relocated his family to Whitefish, Montana, after purchasing the View Mount Motel (now the Rocking Mountain Lodge Best Western) from the DePratu family. After selling the motel in the mid 80s Bob worked in real estate for Whitefish Land Office and Fonner Realty, until he eventually went into business for himself (Aspen Manufacturing, Inc.) working with nylon webbing, making dog collars and leashes in the beginning and now most recently Jeep Cargo Nets. This new line of products are the creation of Bob and his wife Shirley’s traveling the state, off-roading in their Jeep, and working out ways to hold down their luggage and keeping their dog in the vehicle. “Jeepin,” as they called it, became one of his favorite things to do!
Bob was preceded in death by both of his parents Edward and Helen Niles, both brothers Dick and Bruce Niles, his step-son Ron Raper and some close friends.
Bob is Survived by his wife Shirley Niles, step-children Jeff Raper and Kristin Voisin; grandchildren Coreyanne (Russell) Dosert, David and Carly Raper, Kelsey Koch, Michael, Tucker, and Maggie Voisin and one great-granddaughter Everley Journey Beck; three nieces, Susan Niles Redwine, Barbara (Niles) Kramer, and Nikki Niles; two nephews, Gregg Niles and Mark Niles; in addition to six grandnieces, two grandnephews, six great-grandnephews and three great-grandnieces and of course many friends who are sad to see him go. At Bob’s request there will be no services! The family asks that in lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Humane Society. “If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”-Kahlil Gibran
Austin Funeral Home in Whitefish is caring for the family.