Carney, Robert Lee 79, of Pekin, IL passed away at 9:30 am Thursday, November 10, 2011 at Sugar Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center in Normal, IL. Bob was born on August 3, 1932 in Aurora, IL to John and Clara (Stonitch) Carney. He married Gloria Grandia on August 20, 1954 in Houston, TX. Preceding in death are his parents, two brothers, Jack and Gene Carney and daughter in law, Mary Ellen Carney. Surviving are: his wife, Gloria of Pekin; one son, Randy Carney of Pekin; three daughters, Penny (Peter) Watzka of Orlando, FL, Mary (Chuck) Shepardson of La Quinta, CA and Patty (David) Knight of Orlando, FL; eleven grandchildren, Justin (Amy) Watzka of Philadelphia, PA, Kirby (Jesse) Filar of Orlando, FL, Kylie Watzka of Houston, TX, Garrett Watzka of Orlando, FL, Corey Shepardson of Los Angeles, CA, Kyle and Sarah Shepardson both of La Quinta, CA, Erin, Taylor, Katie and Robbie Knight all of Orlando, FL; one great granddaughter, Rylee Filar of Orlando, FL. Bob graduated from West Aurora High School in 1950 and from Bradley University in 1954. He has been inducted to the West Aurora High School Hall of Fame, Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame, Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame, Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and was a two time Helms Foundation Basketball All American. He was elected to the Bradley University Basketball Team of the Decade 1950's and Team of the Century elected in 2002. His Bradley Basketball Jersey #33 has been retired at the Peoria Civic Center. He was on the Bradley Basketball team that was NCAA Final Four Runner Up in 1954. Bob was drafted by the NBA Milwaukee Hawks in 1954 and traded to the Minneapolis Lakers in the same year. He still holds the NCAA record for the most free throws made in an NCAA tournament game 23 free throws. Bob served in the United States Air Force from 1955 1957. After flight school he was stationed at Pinecastle Air Force Base in Orlando, FL. He was a member of the Strategic Air Command and flew B-47's. He was a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Pekin, Pekin Country Club, Chicago District Golf Association and U.S. Golf Association. He served as Pekin Park Board President in 1982. Bob started his business career at Pekin Insurance and then later joined Unland Insurance as a partner. He then purchased the Lohmann Insurance Agency and later purchased Getz and Swisher Agency and Dooley Insurance Agency which has become Carney's Insurance Store located in Pekin which is now operated by his son, Randy. He was also a partner in Space Age Travel. Bob enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren, playing golf, attending Bradley basketball games and traveling. Memorial services will be at 11:00 am Monday, November 14, 2011 at the Michel Student Center at Bradley University. OSF Hospice Chaplin, Stephanie Soon will officiate. A lunch reception will be held after the service in the Student Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Henderson Funeral Home in Pekin. Memorial contributions may be made to the Bob Carney Scholarship Fund at Bradley University. Online condolences may be made at www.hendersonfuneralcare.com.
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Published in Beacon News on Nov. 13, 2011