Robert John “Bob” Pakulak passed away on May 4, 2022, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born in Portland, Oregon, on Jan. 14, 1938, and grew up there and in Newport, Oregon. He graduated from Newport High School in 1956, and from Southern Oregon College in 1960 with a degree in education. He then served in the U.S. Army as a recruiter in Butte, Montana, after which he moved to Roseburg to begin working as a teacher. It was there he met his beloved wife, Sally, and they were married in a gazebo in her parents’ backyard in Roseburg on June 11, 1967. For their honeymoon, they took a road trip across the United States in Bob’s new 1966 Mustang.
He was a jack of all trades, with the common thread of his working life serving and helping others. He was an elementary school teacher in Reedsport and Roseburg, and worked in retail at Bi-Mart and other stores. He also had a passion for helping people with developmental disabilities — he worked many years as a substitute special education teacher and direct care worker for adults with developmental disabilities. He developed lasting relationships with many of those he helped. In retirement, he volunteered as a fundraiser for the Friendly Kitchen and enjoyed regular trips to the YMCA between classic westerns.
Bob had many loves in life. He had a great curiosity about other people and cultures and loved to travel and explore the world. Bob led his family on many wonderful summer road trips across the western U.S. and Canada and two memorable tours of Europe; the second a train adventure to explore his family heritage in western Ukraine. He also enjoyed trips to New England, Mexico, Bulgaria and Panama, and represented Roseburg on a sister-city trip to Japan. He visited almost every state and 24 countries.
He also loved sports and was a regular supporter of local high school and college teams. He and Sally regularly traveled around the state to attend games, including an annual trip to support Bob’s beloved Newport Cubs.
Bob also had a passion for classic cars. He was a regular at classic car shows on the West Coast and over the years owned many classic cars, which he enjoyed taking to shows and to Graffiti Weekend in Roseburg. In his final years, he enjoyed taking care of his last two classic cars, which were featured with Sally in a News-Review story on their 50th anniversary in 2017: https://bit.ly/3yI5fMY
Another great love was animals and nature. He and Sally had many beloved dogs and cats through the years, and also took daily dog walks and fed local feral cats as well as adopted the occasional abandoned cat. He created a “backyard farm” at the longtime family home on Alameda Street with chickens, ducks, rabbits, and, briefly, two goats. He loved Wildlife Safari and enjoyed celebrating special events with up-close animal encounters there. He took care of numerous neighborhood friends, including birds, wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, and possums.
Bob was preceded in death by his brother, Jack “Babe” Pakulak, and their parents Jack and Stella Pakulak. Bob is survived by the love of his life, a 1953 DeSoto, and also his beloved wife, Sally. He is also survived by a 1947 Plymouth and his son, Eric. Bob is also survived by many nephews and nieces and their families. On the Pakulak side: James Pakulak, John Pakulak, Stella Renner, Joe Pakulak, Anne Vonder Kuhlen, and Theresa Baxter. On the Moreno side: Bob Moreno, Jeff Moreno, and Anita Marcelo. The family would like to thank Jeff and Anita for their support throughout Bob’s final battle, and Jeff for his ongoing daily support. Bob is also survived by his “Bulgarian family” of Portland, led by his “Bulgarian daughter” Petya Polschneider. He is also survived by his faithful dog Bentley and cats Trey, Beau, and Georgiana.
The family would like to thank the wonderful people at Bridgewood Rivers and Umpqua Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation for their loving and personal care.
Those lucky enough to know Bob laughed a lot thanks to his great sense of humor, and also learned a lot. Maybe the biggest lesson was the importance of everyday kindness. He was known for asking strangers, with genuine interest, “How are YOU today?” and listening to the answer. It was fun to see how this simple act, along with some gentle humor, could brighten someone’s day. He will live on through the many lives he has touched in ways big and small, and through the inspiration to show genuine curiosity, empathy, and kindness toward others. In his memory, the family suggests performing an act of kindness for a stranger.