Father who died in Keystone fire remembered - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Father who died in Keystone fire remembered

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A father and son who died in an early morning house fire in Benton County are remembered and missed by many. Robert Louis Michalec and Allen Lee Michalec died at their home in Keystone Tuesday morning. 

Robert and his son Allen were trapped inside their home during the fire. 

Robert Michalec, was known to many as Bob. He was a deacon, and a man with a big heart for always lending a helping hand. 

Bob attended Seventh-Day Adventist church in Cedar Rapids. 

Fellow church member and longtime friend Jeanette Rawson has known Bob ever since she taught his children in the 70's. 

"He was very helpful, always enjoyed working, hard-working," said Rawson.

Bob was a father, a neighbor, and most of all, a friend. 

"He loved his place out here in the country," said Rawson. "He loved the quiet, he loved listening to the birds sing. He maintained his grounds beautifully, he loved to have those mowed. He still worked hard, worked hard on his yard, up until the day he died."

At the age of 91, Bob was still working and still faithful to Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Cedar Rapids. Those who knew Bob well say he never missed a day of church, no matter the weather. 

"At church, he was always very generous in his giving, even though he didn't have much money," said Rawson. 

His generosity goes back all the way to when he served in World War II. 

"He used to carry, well he always carried, and he always showed me, a little picture of when he was a veteran," said Rawson. "It must have been at the end of the war. He had a picture of himself with these little Japanese kids, and they all seemed to love him very much because if somebody had given the vets at a meal lots of fruit and they didn't need it, he would collect it and put it in his pockets, and give it to the little kids. He would give them candy, so they always were glad to see him."

Bob's daughter was able to escape from the fire by jumping out the second-story window. She's currently in the hospital tonight.

The church says they plan on holding a memorial and collecting items for the daughter since she lost everything in the fire.

The State Fire Marshall's office is still investigating the cause of the fire, but do not believe there was any foul play. 

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