Obituaries » Robert Nagler
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On Sunday, September 29, 2019, Robert Carlton Nagler relinquished his energy to the universe that loaned it to him for over 96 years.
Robert (Bob) was born July 4, 1923 in Iowa City, Iowa to Floyd and Marion (Truax) Nagler. He earned degrees from William Penn College, University of Missouri, and University of Iowa. With his doctorate degree in Chemistry, he began teaching chemistry at the college level, first for Purdue, and then —for over 30 years— at Western Michigan University. During his tenure at WMU, he brought his young (and still growing) family to Ibadan, Nigeria, for two years to assist in the development of the Technical College of Ibadan. Bob went on to serve as the Chair of the Chemistry Department at WMU, developing personal lasting bonds with many of his students, going out of his way to facilitate their studies and visiting with them in his retirement. He could be counted on to walk to his office on any day that the weather was too inclement for cars to drive, and he would be there before anyone else. Bob received spiritual nourishment (and imparted his own wisdom in turn) at the Kalamazoo Friends Meeting for many years. He was a Conscientious Objector (CO) during World War 2, choosing to offer his body up to critical hepatitis research at the University of Pennsylvania and engineering projects in the frigid cold winter of North Dakota rather than participate in the killing of other humans. He worked on service projects in Mexico and the US for the American Friends Service Committee. He also counseled those who sought CO status during the Vietnam War. He was an untiring activist for peace, social justice and the environment, serving on the Environmental Concerns Committee (ECC), and the Asylum Lake Preservation Association in Kalamazoo. Bob enjoyed photography, travel, classical music and the continuing pursuit of historical and cultural knowledge. His garden was his passion, as was providing invaluable worldwide experiences for his children. Bob is preceded in death by his mother and father, and his sister, Phyllis. Surviving are his brother Don (Nancy) Nagler, his wife Emanuele (Mayr), and children Floyd (Jan) Nagler of Minneapolis, MN, Barbara Irene Nagler of Ann Arbor, MI, Lisa (John Urbance) Nagler of Battle Creek, MI, Tanya (Jonathan) Cunningham of Pleasantville, New York, Fred (Elizabeth) Nagler of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Monika (Tom) Allen of Holland, MI. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Gina (Tim) Smith of Montrose, MN, Danielle Nagler of Duluth, MN, Brendan Nagler of Lansing, MI, Katharine Kes Nagler of Detroit, MI, Eliot Nagler of Salt Lake City, UT, Tess Cunningham and Claire Cunningham of Pleasantville, NY, Anna (Austin Ottinger) Urbance of Battle Creek, MI, James Allen and Erika Allen of Holland, MI.