Robert (Bob) Shanak, 68, passed away suddenly doing what he like to do best, working at his hydro plant in Waupaca, WI.
He was the owner of Shanak Foundry & Machine Company and Shanak Hydro Facilities for past 43 years in Waupaca. Bob was born March 13, 1946 in Wausau, WI, son of Mike (Jr.) and Virginia (Beck) Shanak. He graduated from Wausau Senior High School in 1964. Bob served in the First Infantry Division during Viet Nam War from 1966-7 and was honorably discharged. In 1971, he received a degree in Engineering Technology, Mechanical Design. Bob was a Master Machinist and Fabricator. He had a wide range of skills and could fix virtually anything. He could repair, refurbish, and rebuild equipment from a variety of industries including but not limited to farming, construction, paper mills, hydro-electrical and everything in between. Bob’s passion was in restoring and operating hydro electrical plants. He was always building or experimenting on his hydro plants for improve efficiency and performance.
To Bob, every time it rained, it was pennies from heaven, and every time it snowed it was money in the snow bank. Often he could be found salvaging equipment from power plants slated for destruction by the WDNR. He disliked seeing the destruction of this green energy source and our national heritage. Bob’s idea of a vacation was visiting hydro plants—it didn’t matter if it was old, abandoned or currently in operation. His mechanical expertise and knowledge of hydro electrical equipment was well known. He and his brother, in their Waupaca machine shop, manufactured custom hydro electrical turbine units which are running throughout the United States. Bob put his skills and craft to work when obsolete equipment was unavailable. Bob could and would make it. Bob’s attitude was that if the original manufacturers in late 1800s and early 1900s could design and manufacture these water turbines with less advanced tools and knowledge available to them, there was no reason why he could not do the same.
Bob was avid student of history and voracious reader. He always had a book stashed where ever he was, he never missed an opportunity to read. He could converse on wide of range of subjects and often did so with his friends. When one of Bob’s friend learned of his passing, he summed it up best, “What a tremendous loss of useful knowledge”. Bob was well known for his friendly teasing of his many friends and family. When confronted with being teased by one of his friends Bob stated, “If I didn’t like you I would not be teasing you”. Bob will be greatly missed by his family and many friends both local and around the country.
Bob is survived by four brothers, George (Betty) Shanak of Wausau, WI, Edward Shanak of Waupaca, WI, Dwight (June) Shanak of Waupaca, WI, Douglas Shanak of Waupaca, WI, and three special like brothers, Nick Blohm of Waupaca, WI, Steve Blohm of Kiel, WI, Mark Blohm of North Dakota, three sisters, Nathalie Miller of Norfolk, VA, Janet Shanak of Waupaca, WI, Joyce (John) Flies of Dallas Center, IA, and sisters-in-law, Mary Shanak of Waupaca, WI, and Susan Abbott of Stevens Point, WI. He is, also, survived by several nieces and nephews. Bob will also be greatly missed by his beloved Springer Spaniel Bella. Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Mike and Virginia Shanak Jr., brothers Duane Shanak and Michael Shanak III and a niece, Andrea Abbott.
Funeral Services are planned at the Holly Funeral Home in Waupaca at 10:30 AM Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Interment will be at Restlawn Memorial Park in Wausau. Visitation was held on Monday, July 7th, from 4 until 8 PM and on Tuesday, from 9 AM until the time of the service at the funeral home.