1935 Robert 2023

Robert Bebensee

August 5, 1935 — June 22, 2023

Robert Duane Bebensee…or as he preferred, Bob with one O… was born the second son to William Hans Bebensee and Pearl Marie (Christensen) Bebensee on August 5, 1935. He grew up in the Avoca area and graduated from Avoca High School. After graduation, he met Delores Johnson when he was invited by friends to go and watch Walter Johnson’s daughter race his Oldsmobile. He wasn’t as impressed as his friends were. They ran into each other again when they each began to attend dances in Neola and Avoca, where, again, it wasn’t exactly “love at first sight.” But…they could dance! And they made quite the impressive couple on the dance floor. From there, they found more common ground and eventually married.

Carol Jean was born to this union in 1957, and Jeffrey Blaine in 1959. The family settled into life in Atlantic where Bob eventually found his calling selling radio advertising for KJAN. In that position, he met and became friends with many business owners and managers. During his time at KJAN Bob also became involved in the area’s youth as he announced the county fairs in at least 3 counties, and he would take Carol and Jeff with him to each fair on the day when they had discounted carnival tickets. Other venues in which he was involved with youth included the Boy Scouts, the Explorers, and later the Y Indian Guides when Jeff was old enough to participate.

After Carol got past the age of begging her dad for a horse…or at least gave up, Bob decided he would have a horse; and not just an “ordinary” quarter horse, but a Tennessee Walker…one with a huge head! Bummer was a pretty animal (questionable), a nice size, but to Bob’s dismay, one who wouldn’t step out into the Walker’s running walk gait. So when he introduced Bummer to Carol and her husband, Ryan (a life-long horseman) Ryan and Bummer had a “chat” behind the transmitter building at KJAN…after which Bob had no further problems. Guess Bob showed him who was boss!

Bob and Bummer became a familiar and popular sight on North Olive Street and in area parades; this is probably where Bob acquired the moniker “Cowboy Bob.” Cowboy Bob took Bummer to the library during summer reading programs for the kids to see a real live horse up close and personal. Later Bob became involved with the local 4-H and FFA Horse clubs and helped announce the horse show at the Cass County Fair. He loved it, and the kids loved him. Bob was also a member of the Rawhiders Saddle Club, which allowed him to ride in the parade routes twice!

After Bummer came Sir Winston and then Reddy. Bob and his Walkers were annual participants in River City Round-up, where Bob used his radio voice and his love of poetry to entertain fellow riders around the evening campfires as the cowboy poet. Some of his poetry even found its way into encounters with children at restaurants when Bob and Dee traveled.

Cowboy Bob and his Walking Horses became famous when Sue Fischer invited him to be her model for some incredible, nationally recognized, cowboy portraits. From the Campfire Cowboy, to the fox hunting cowboy, to Cowboy Santa, Bob and his horses have adorned the walls of libraries and homes around SW Iowa.

Bob enjoyed reading, music (especially the Neil Diamond and the Symphony), gardening, hunting, coffee with friends at McDonalds, playing a years-long game of Quiddler with Dee, decorating his cowboy hat for Christmas and handing out candy canes in downtown Atlantic, and at the Mall in Council Bluffs, making up fantastic poems, songs, or spoofs for his answering machine messages and anything and everything with his wife, kids, grandkids and great grandkids.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Bill, and Pearl Bebensee. He leaves behind to cherish the memories his wife, Dee, his brother, Bill (Marj) Bebensee of Gridley, California, his children, Carol (Ryan) South, Jeff (Michelle) Bebensee, and Jeff’s son, Clayton; Grandchildren Tiffany South and her children, Gavin, Aidan, Lilliana and Nadia; Christopher and Garrett (Annie) South; as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.

Memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Friday, June 30, 2023, at the Schmidt Family Funeral Home in Atlantic, IA. A luncheon will be held following the service in the reception hall of the Schmidt Family Funeral Home. Private interment will be at Atlantic Cemetery.

Visitation with the family will be held from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, 2023, at Schmidt Family Funeral Home in Atlantic.

Memorials may be directed to the Bob Bebensee Family, and they will be designated to many of his favorite organizations and charities. Memorials may be mailed to the Schmidt Family Funeral Home P.O. Box 523 50022.

Arrangements are handled with the Schmidt Family Funeral Home of Atlantic, IA.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Bebensee, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Public Visitation

Thursday, June 29, 2023

5:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)

Schmidt Family Funeral Home - Atlantic

1804 E 7th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Friday, June 30, 2023

Starts at 11:00am (Central time)

Schmidt Family Funeral Home - Atlantic

1804 E 7th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Reception

Friday, June 30, 2023

Starts at 11:45am (Central time)

Schmidt Family Funeral Home - Atlantic

1804 E 7th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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