Robert "Bob" Ray Morefield, 80 of Carbondale, passed away Thursday, April 11, 2019 at home. A terribly aggressive brain tumor, found only a month ago, took him from us. At every step on the path it moved faster than predicted. His family was at his side and we believe he waited until the last of his children arrived to depart.
He was born Oct. 10, 1938 to Dennis and Laura (Thornsberry) Morefield in Du Quoin.
Bob married Betty Benson on June 27, 1959. They shared 59 years of making memories.
After supporting his family in the early 1960s selling shoes at the Bootery in Carbondale, he walked around the corner and got a job at General Telephone (GTE). He worked for 30 years at GTE until his retirement, and remained close with his co-workers throughout his retirement.
The first thoughts that come to mind when considering our father was that he was just generally a nice guy. We never knew of a single person that didn't like our Dad.
He was not just a nice guy but also a leader. After graduating from Boy Scout to Scout Master, he led the Du Quoin troop for years. During his son's time in Scouting he served as Assistant Scout Master of the Murphysboro troop. He was recognized in Scouting with the Order of the Arrow.
His love of history brought key roles in both the Perry and Jackson County historical societies. In addition to producing numerous books on the local area, he served as treasurer. He was awarded the Outstanding Community Citizen award by the Du Quoin school district in 2009 recognizing his work on the history of the city.
His passion for genealogy pushed him to travel as far away as Virginia, meeting with long-lost relatives, searching graveyards and government records to document our family. We have one of the most complete family histories, with photographs, that we've seen.
In his research he discovered that one of our ancestors had a role in the Revolutionary War. This meant he was able to join the Sons of the American Revolution. So naturally he became the Illinois state treasurer for the SAR and was responsible for validating all applications to join. He was to receive an award for his work later this year from the DAR to recognize his contributions.
His strongest interest was his lifelong fascination with astronomy. In high school he built his own telescope and took second place at the state science fair. He was endlessly proud of that scope. He was also the longtime treasurer of the Astronomical Association of Southern Illinois.
"C-Q, C-Q, this is Whiskey Alpha Niner Hotel Alpha Bravo." This was the regular Saturday morning chatter we heard as kids in the 70's while Dad exercised his HAM radio outfit.
Then there was photography. To further his genealogical work he began copying and restoring old photographs. This led to a part-time business helping others preserve their family history in photos. He wound up with a collection of cameras that ranged from an old Brownie to an 8 x 10 sheet film camera. A large portion of the basement was used as a darkroom for years.
Another group Dad was president of: The Jackson County Anti-Horse and Mule Thief Association. Members built their own flintlock rifles and muskets and used them to re-enact Revolutionary War battles and activities. This meant as kids we got to melt lead to make bullets, throw hatches and knives, and hang out with guys dressed in buckskins.
We are so glad he was our husband/father/grandfather.
Bob is survived by his loving wife, Betty Morefield of Carbondale; children, Kimberly (Dennis) Goforth of Carbondale, Kevin (Denise) Morefield of Portland, Oregon and Kristal (Rodney) Bell of Crystal Lake; grandchildren, Dustin (Breanna Trexler) Goforth of Denver, Colorado, Melissa (Brad) Minks of Farmington, Missouri, Mitchell Goforth of Champaign and Alex and Samantha Morefield of Portland, OR; great-grandchildren Cranston, Dylan, Serene and Ethan Minks all of Farmington, MO; sister-in-law, Jane Morefield of Agoura Hills, CA; other relatives and a host of friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Dennis Edward Morefield.
A memorial service hosted by the family will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at the Murphysboro United Methodist Church, with Pastor Larry Gilbert officiating. Inurnment will take place at a later date in IOOF Cemetery in Du Quoin.
Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. Saturday until the hour of service at the church.
Memorials can be made to the Jackson County Historical Society, Du Quoin Preservation Committee or the Murphysboro United Methodist Church.
Crain Pleasant Grove-Murdale Funeral Home is in charge of cremation arrangements. To view the obituary or leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.crainsonline.com.