is with great regret and sorrow that we must notify you of the death of our
Classmate, Bob Janoska, on 25 January in Highland, MI, in the care of his
family. Bob is survived by Hazel, his beloved wife of over 19 years; loving
children Michael (Holly) Janoska, Jeff (Linda) Janoska, Kathy Mienkwic, and
Linda Schenk; grandchildren Allison, Ian, Nicholas, Elisabeth, Sean, Travis, and
Emily; brother Al (Dottie); and extended family and dear friends.
The family will
receive friends from 3 to 9 PM on Sunday, 30 January, at the Lynch & Sons
Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty St., Milford, MI 48381. A Masonic Service will be
held at 7:30 PM on Sunday.
A Funeral Service
will be held at 10 AM on Monday, 31 January, at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home. The
Rev. Dr. R. John Harris will officiate. Bob will be buried with military honors
at Great Lakes National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers,
contributions may be sent to American Legion Post 216 Youth Fund, 510 W.
Commerce Road, Milford, MI 48381.
Condolences may be
sent to Hazel at 19468 Hickory Ridge Road #6, Fenton, MI 48430.
Well done, Bob. Be thou at peace.
passed away 25 January 2011 at home in the care of his family after suffering a
heart attack. He had been in declining health for several years while battling
a number of heart attacks, colon cancer, diabetes and failing eyesight.
received friends on Sunday, 30 January, at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home in Milford,
MI. The American Legion conducted a ceremony at 7:00 PM. Fifty or so
Legionnaires attended. Since joining the Legion in Michigan in the 1970’s, Bob
had served as the local Post Commander six times and the District Commander
once. He had also chaired and served on several State Committees of the Legion,
led the Legion’s Boy Scout troop when his son Jeff made Eagle Scout in that
troop, and was famous as the caller of Friday night Bingo at the Legion Hall.
It was mentioned that no one ever had to worry about the right procedure when
Bob was present at a Legion function because Bob was an expert on all the
procedures. It was also mentioned that Bob’s dream was to have 1,000
Legionnaires marching in the annual parade and while he didn’t quite make it,
they did get to 900 which is amazing and a tribute to Bob’s hard work, energy,
dedication and magnetic personality.
the American Legion ceremony, the Holly, MI Lodge of the Free and Accepted
Masons conducted a service for Bob. About forty Masons participated. Despite
his health problems, Bob joined the Masons in 1998 and was very active, serving
twice as the Worshipful Master of his Lodge. Not content to stop there, Bob
also went further in Masonry as a member of the York Rite. In this Rite he
achieved the titles of Thrice Illustrious Master of the Council of Royal and
Select Masons, High Priest of the Royal Arch, Commander of the Knights Templar
and Governor of the York Rite College.
31 January, at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, a funeral service was conducted by Dr.
R. John Harris. In his remarks Dr. Harris chronicled Bob’s remarkable life of
service to his country, his family and his community. Following his graduation
from high school in Philadelphia, Bob matriculated to Penn State where he
enrolled in ROTC with the intent of obtaining an appointment to West Point. He
accomplished this and entered West Point in 1957 as a member of the class of
1961. While at West Point, Bob was a member of the Glee Club, the “Spirits,”
and the cast of the “100th Night Show.” His classmates remembered
Bob for his unfailing upbeat attitude, his infectious sense of humor, his guitar
music and his maverick nature. Dr. Harris remarked that Bob never lost any of
that as his family and his community remembered him the same way.
graduation from West Point in 1961, Bob served three plus years in Germany and
returned to the States to attend the Career course at Ft. Knox. While in
Germany, Bob was married and his two sons, Michael and Jeff were born. Following
the Career Course, Bob went to Vietnam where he served as a Ranger and an
advisor to a RVN unit. Upon his return from Vietnam, Bob resigned from the Army
to spend more time with his family. He began his career with General Motors,
first with the tank plant in Cleveland and then with the GM Safety Research and
Development Lab (SRDL) at the GM Proving Ground in Milford, MI. When Bob
retired in 1989 he was the Operations Manager for the SRDL. He retired after a
heart attack and quadruple by-pass surgery. Throughout this period, Bob was very
active in the American Legion and with the Boy Scouts. Both his sons became
Eagle Scouts. After his divorce in 1979, Bob raised his two boys as a single
parent until they reached maturity.
In 1991 Bob
married the love of his life, Hazel, whom he had met while working at the GM
Proving Grounds. Hazel had two children by a previous marriage. At the time of
his death, Bob had seven grandchildren, three on his side of the family and four
on Hazel’s side. Dr. Harris remarked at the service that Bob was a loving and
caring Grandfather for all seven of his grandchildren. He also remarked that
you never saw Bob in Klancey’s, the local restaurant, without seeing Hazel with
him. After her retirement from GM, Hazel went back to school to become an RN
and is still working as a geriatric nurse. In their twenty years of marriage,
Bob and Hazel developed a wonderful family that helped sustain Bob through his
many medical difficulties. Bob’s two sons, Michael and Jeff, both gave moving
eulogies at the service. They spoke of Bob’s tremendous influence on them
growing up and what a wonderful Grandfather he was to all seven of his
grandchildren. Jeff mentioned a story he had heard about Bob during his cadet
days when he risked being out after Lights Out to walk his “turned out” roommate
over to Grant Hall, wish him well and give him a hug before he left. As Jeff
said, that was Bob his entire life – bit of a maverick, but loving and caring
for those closest to him.
the service in the funeral home, Bob was transported to his final resting place,
the Great Lakes National Cemetery near Holly, MI. The burial service was
conducted by Dr. Harris. Military honors were provided by the American Legion.
Bob’s final post was a tribute to a full and rich life. It was reflective a
life full of service to his country, dedication to his family and the high
esteem in which he was held by the members of his community.
Bob. Rest in peace.
Prepared by company-mate Bruce Cowan, USMA '61
Class Memorial Pages\H-1 Bob Janoska.pdf
Bob Janoska was my best friend at West Point.
We made music together
for four wonderful years at the Academy. He was for three years, a member of
the Cadet Glee Club Quartet where, with his guitar, bass fiddle, and clear tenor
voice, he was not only the lead singer but the essence of our group. We wrote
songs together for the Quartet which too often got attributed to me, but clearly
his was the genius that sparked our sound.
Bob was involved in
practically every facet of the 100th Night Shows and Buckner Color Line Shows.
Plebe year he was a member of the 100th Night Show Chorus; in subsequent years
he was either starring or participating in the writing of lyrics or the script
book for these shows.
And through it all, his
stage presence was of such a professional nature that when he stepped across the
footlights, clearly he was home!.
That treasure of his
sharing with me his theatrical enthusiasm was the
greatest gift one could receive for which I will be eternally grateful. Bob
will always live in my memory as one who gave life to our mutual musical
I know that West Point
is not a school for music and theatrical composition. But my relationship with
Bob transcended well beyond those time worn associated attributes, and my
respect for him and the friendship he extended to me will always reign supreme.
Last week, as
a personal way of paying tribute upon hearing of his death, I sat down at
my piano, and found myself reminiscing about Bob by playing every song I could
think of from our repetoire.
For me, that was a first. I believe it
will always be the last.
Being around Bob in our cadet company
always uplifted your spirit. He was somewhat of a maverick that you just had to
love. I am saddened by the loss of an old friend.
Russell Cornelius '61
Always ready to lend a helping hand.
Always there with a grin and a smile to lift your spirits, Bob was loved and
respected by all his classmates. We will all miss him. Well done Bob - Rest in
Bruce Cowan '61
I last saw Bob while
we were serving in neighboring units in Vietnam. As Russ Cornelius pointed out,
Bob was a loveable maverick, and '61 will miss him and his infectious sense of
West Point roommate and best man at my wedding. Bob and I were roommates during
cow and firstie years. As I look at Bruce’s tribute along with Bob’s recent
photo and the photo of the “Spirits” above in this Last Roll Call,
recollections of our cadet life and Bob’s unique contributions to the class of
’61 flood my memory.
you get when you mix a Philadelphia street-wise guy (Bob) with a young kid out
of the Appalachian mountains for the first time (yours truly), and throw in a
southern gentleman (George Cherry) or a hard-nosed Army football player (Don
Bonko)? You have the makings of humor and mischief that get you through the
gloom period of winter at West Point and the challenges of Academy life.
a bright and talented free spirit in the confining walls of West Point as the
Academy sought to mold us from teenagers to disciplined adults. He resisted more
than many. His releases from the confines of Academy structure were his music,
his dry wit, and a propensity for antics that kept room and company mates
perpetually entertained. A typical evening in our room would find his roommates
struggling with the next day’s math, engineering, juice lesson, or writing
assignment; while Bob was at Glee Club practice, in the sinks harmonizing with
the “Spirits,” or rehearsing for the 100th Night Show. There was
always a guitar, a mandolin, a banjo, or a dobro laying around the room – plus
the bass fiddle stored in the sinks. Bob played them all.
(his roommates) had labored through the afternoon and evening preparing for the
next day’s classes, Bob would appear about 30 minutes before lights out, flip
through the pages of the next day’s assignment – or start the paper that was due
the next day – and often receive a higher grade than his struggling roommates.
example of his many talents comes from the heart of cow year gloom period. It
was laundry day. George (Cherry) and I returned to the room just before
dinner. Tacked on the wall of our room was the brown wrapping paper from the
laundry the plebes had delivered earlier in the afternoon. With red, blue,
yellow and white chalk “borrowed” from the classroom, Bob had drawn a
gargoyle-like figure capturing the essence of gloom period emotions on the
laundry paper. George and I surreptitiously entered the “chalk on laundry
paper” drawing in the upcoming annual art show in the Weapons Room. The drawing
won a 2nd place ribbon.
there was the Sunday afternoon in the spring of firstie year when I returned to
my room to find that my bed, desk, and most of my personal possessions were
missing. All were eventually located in the basement sinks with the note, “If
you want to live a secret life, live it elsewhere.” My transgression was that
I had failed to consult my roommates before presenting the “A” pin to my future
wife. Bob had formed and orchestrated the plebe detail that evacuated me from
spirited antics continued as the Best Man in my wedding. As my new wife and I
sought to exit the wedding festivities, we could not locate our suitcases, nor
Bob who was to retrieve them from the car. We found Bob with the suitcases
dancing and singing robustly in the parking lot, “This is the way we marry
Counts, marry Counts …” His explanation was that he drank “tii many martoonis”
during the festivities.
roommate, you added spice and spirit to our life as a cadets, as a roommate, and
company mate; as well as music of the “Spirits” to all of the Corps. As fate
would have it, our paths crossed infrequently for the next forty-five years.
However, just last fall we became reacquainted as we shared the long overdue
task of drafting a Last Roll Call remembrance for our fellow roommate,
Don Bonko, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. Little we knew, it would
be our last venture together. But I knew then, and I see in Bob’s eyes in his
recent Last Roll Call photo, that the free spirit that made him a unique
and beloved classmate remained to the end.
done, roomie, rest in peace.
Todd Counts, roommate, USMA ‘61
shocked to learn of Bob’s death. Bob replied to an H-1 email just a couple of
days ago. We kept in contact via email for years, and it was just a month ago
that we communicated. I know that he mentioned a long-ago heart attack. Bob
(and Mike Xenos) were my roommates during plebe year at USMA.
Bob as a great guy who seemed gratefully in awe of the fact that he made it into
West Point - at least that was his feeling in Plebe Year. His time as a Plebe
was not easy, but I recall the upperclassmen recognizing some humor in his
personality that made them respect him. To me, he was one of those guys who
brought a bit of joy into my life.
the things that I remember about Bob was his penchant for ambushing me when he
saw that I was heading back to our room. He would lie in wait like that Asian
guy in the Peter Sellers "Pink Panther" Chief
Inspector Clouseau movies. When I opened the door to the darkened room,
Bob would come flying off the top bunk or out of the closet to wrestle me to the
floor. I never knew what to expect. He was a skinny, wiry guy, and it took me
some time to get him off of me. I guess that our metabolism was off the charts
with that Plebe wrestling and boxing that we had to do.
my brief time at USMA, he was upbeat (sometimes naively in the eyes of old vets
like Mike and me), talented, bright, and concerned with his classmates. Xenos
and I were 21 years old, and USMAPS files, and we took this skinny young kid
under our wings; however, we soon learned that he would be a great cadet.
everything to get me through Plebe math. In fact, the night that I left West
Point, he risked unauthorized room absence to walk me over to Grant Hall while I
awaited transportation home. We shook hands, hugged (in a manly way, of course),
and said good-bye. I know that there was a tear in both our eyes. I remember
that night as if it were last week.
Prepared by a roommate,
John F. Grisoni x'61
Captain Janoska was the finest
commanding officer I had during my ten years of military service. He was a
personal inspiration as well as a good friend. He WAS one of the finest men I
have ever known.
"BOB" L.; age 73; of Highland; died in the care of his family; January 25, 2011.
Longtime member of Holly Masonic Lodge #134 F&AM, the Knights Templar and the
Milford American Legion Post # 216 where he served as Commander for years and
was famous as the caller of Friday Night Bingo matches at the Legion Hall.
Survived by Hazel, his beloved wife of over 19 years; loving children, Michael
(Holly) Janoska, Jeff (Linda) Janoska, Kathy Mienkwic, and Linda; grandchildren
Allison, Ian, Nicholas, Elisabeth, Sean, Travis, Emily; brother Al (Dottie) and
also extended family and dear friends. Funeral Service will be held at Lynch &
Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty St., Milford Monday, January 31, 10 a.m. Rev.
Dr. R. John Harris to officiate. Military Honors and burial at Great Lakes
National Cemetery. Friends may visit Sunday 3 to 9 p.m. Memorials encouraged to
American Legion Post #216 Youth Fund. For further information, please call
248-684-6645 or visit
The Oakland Press on January 27, 2011