Robert Lee StanekCorporal
B CO, 1ST BN, 5TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
06 July 1946 - 04 February 1968
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The database page for Robert Lee Stanek
Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago; sometimes it seems like yesterday - it's been thirty years since Bob was killed.
You would have liked him. He had a rapport with young and old alike. He was from a close-knit family and learned, by example, to be an honest and caring person. He loved to ride his motorcycle, play his guitar and was an amazing artist. The little kids in the neighborhood followed him like the Pied Piper. He enjoyed teaching them to play baseball and fly model planes. Of course, that also gave him an excuse to be a kid.
He was my first love. He would have made a good life-partner, but we only had six months of married life before he left for Vietnam. He would have made a terrific dad, but there wasn't time for that either. He didn't want to go to Vietnam, but he believed in serving his country. His letters never spoke of what he was going through, only about our future. I am so proud of him and his sacrifice. He has been my Guardian Angel all these years. His presence helped me through the darkest of times. I thank him for being there for me when I really needed him.
I would also like to thank Ed, my wonderful husband of twenty-eight years for being so understanding and supportive of this special part of my life. It is with his encouragement that I am writing these thoughts.
The following letter was sent to me by someone I have never met - which somehow makes it even more special. I hope Tim doesn't mind that I'm sharing it, but I have no way of asking his permission after all these years. His heart-felt tribute to my former husband means more to me than I can ever express.
I would love to get in contact with Tim again or anyone else who knew Bob.
I would love to hear from anyone else who knew Bob.
Robert L. Stanek lived in Mokena, Illinois, for eleven years in the late 1950s and early 1960s. An effort is underway in Mokena to co-name a major, four lane street in the Village of Mokena, Will County, Illinois, in memory of Cpl Robert L. Stanek. A proposal has been submitted to the Will County government to implement the co-naming. Local support and endorsement for the effort is growing. The Village of Mokena and local veterans' organizations have endorsed the proposal and it is expected to pass Will County government in the future. Following is the proposal for the conaning of 191st Street "Robert Stanek Memorial Drive":
Corporal Robert Lee Stanek, USMC
Purple Heart Medal
Placed by a friend and comrade,
I would be Bobby's stepmother, and I am writing for his dad, Jim. Bob was killed on 2-4-68. His mother passed away 10 years later. She died of cancer, and probably a broken heart. We were married a year later and have been married for 26 years. Bobby, and his mother, have never been forgotten. He was a very good son. He loved little children and was an outstanding artist. We look at some of his drawings and just can hardly believe that he was so good at it. When we watch war movies on TV there are always tears, but we are proud that he served his country.
He was an honor to our family.
From his father,
The co-naming of 191st Street in Mokena, Illinois, as "Robert L. Stanek Memorial Drive" is now a reality. Street signs have been installed and a formal dedication ceremony took place on Memorial Day, 2004. The dedication ceremony was a grand event. An estimated 500+ people, including many local government dignitaries, Stanek and Gurr family members, VFW, American Legion, US Marine Corps, Lincoln-Way Central High School Band, and numerous local and regional citizens attended the ceremony. The dedication master of ceremony was Mr. Vince DiFiore, Frankfort Township Trustee. Dedication speakers included Robert's brother Mr. James Stanek Jr.; Mayor of Mokena Mr. Robert Chiszar; Frankfort Township Supervisor Mr. James Moustis; Will County Executive Mr. Joseph Mikan; and Will County Sheriff Mr. Paul Kaupas. The VFW, American Legion and US Marine Corps provided color guards. A 21 Gun Salute, by the American Legion and Taps by the US Marine Corps also took place. Most honored participants were Robert's father, Mr. James Stanek Sr from Milan, Tennessee, and his widow Mrs. Judy Gurr from West Palm Beach, Florida. A dedication reception at a local banquet hall for dedication participants, dignitaries and family members followed the dedication ceremony. The entire event was a great success and truly memorialized and celebrated Robert L. Stanek's heroism and sacrifice, for freedom and the United States of America.
From a comrade and friend,
Robert L. Stanek Memorial Drive -
I am Bobby's sister Cindy. Since the day my brother was recognized for his bravery at the memorial service, I have been so overwhelmed with all of it. I loved him so much and there is not a day goes by that I don't think of him.
In the town that my father was transferred to when Bobby was a junior in high school, Bobby was also honored with a memorial head stone to be placed at a basketball court behind the junior high school. Instead of flowers my mother asked for donations to help build this, because of the love he had for children. Since then a new school has been built. Since the school has moved I felt like my brother's memorial should go with it.
So I proceeded on a mission to have it moved. I called the man he was with in basic training, Charles Vlink, and asked him if something could be done. I got a call today, 7-30-04, telling me they had moved it to the Milan City Memorial Park where there is a monument for all the fallen soldiers who lost their lives in different wars. This took me by surprise how quick this took place and I'm grateful for all the things that have been done for him in his memory. He will never be forgotten.
I love you Bob,
Your sister, Cindy
Cindy Stanek Johnson
A Note from The Virtual WallBravo 1/5 Marines lost three men on 4 Feb 1968; two were killed in action and one, Cpl Roderick, died of wounds. The Virtual Wall is uncertain if Cpl Roderick was wounded earlier or in the same action.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Jan 1999
Last updated 08/10/2009