Robert H. Enskat

Robert H. Enskat, 85, of Mansfield, Ohio, formerly of E. St. Louis, Illinois, born Monday, September 1, 1924, in East St. Louis, Illinois, died Tuesday, November 3, 2009, under Hospice care at Wedgewood Estates after a 20 year battle with cancer.

After graduating from East St. Louis High School, Robert attended one year at Southern Illinois University and then entered the United States Army during World War II, serving in England, France and Germany. Robert was honorably discharged after three years, having achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant in the 3187th Signal Service Battalion. He married his wife of 61 years, Doris Jean Baldwin Enskat at Signal Hill Lutheran Church in Belleville, Ill., on Nov. 28, 1946, and then continued his education at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in electrical engineering in 1949. General Motors recruited Bob upon graduation and the young couple moved to Michigan. Robert spent 40 years with General Motors, mostly working his way up the ranks of management at the "Tank Plant" in Grand Blanc, ultimately promoted to plant manager there in 1974. GM transferred him to Mansfield, Ohio in 1976 and he spent the remaining 13 years of his career as plant manager of the Ontario GM Plant, retiring in 1989. His greatest joy the last years of his career was spearheading the modernization and expansion of the Ontario plant, bringing in the largest press of its kind in the world. Bob's plan grew to include plant expansions of all the Fisher Body Plants, including Marion and Parma.

During his working and retirement years, Bob was passionately involved in the community. He was past Chairman of the Board of the Third Street Clinic, expanding the building and creating the dental clinic; member of the MedCentral Board of Trustees; member of the Board of Liaison between MedCentral and Third Street; past Chairman of the Board of Richland Academy, expanding the building and scope of programs; Richland County United Way Board of Directors and Chairman of the 1982 campaign; Board Member of Huntington Bank; Trustee of Mansfield-Richland Area Education Foundation; Treasurer for the Mansfield City Schools Levy. Bob led The Renaissance Theatre renovation campaign; was a driving force behind Carrousel Park, the old YMCA/YWCA building renovation and The Martin Luther King Memorial. Bob was past Chairman of Richland Economic Development Corporation and acting President in 1989; Chairman and Member of Mansfield-Richland Area Chamber of Commerce in 1981. While Chairman, Bob began the annual Chamber Chairman's Award, the most prestigious award given by the Chamber to a person demonstrating a long-standing commitment to community service in the Mansfield-Richland County region, Bob being selected as the recipient of the Chamber Chairman's Award in 1985. Board Member/Trustee of the Richland County Foundation from 1988-1991, being named a Richland County Foundation Fellow in 1998; member of the Johnny Appleseed Boy Scout Council and awarded the Silver Beaver in 1988 for distinguished service to youth; named a GM Safety Fellow in 1987 for his efforts in the field of Occupational Safety, this being the highest award that GM bestows on an individual and Bob being the first Plant Manager to receive it; the first recipient of an award for the joint GM/UAW Employee Assistance Program for his efforts in helping employees with drug addictions. Bob was involved in and major supporter of Junior Achievement, TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) and the Ontario Schools. Bob received the Overall Vision Award in 2006 from the Richland County Vision Board, this award presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life for the residents of Richland County in the areas of youth, education, safety and jobs over a substantial period of time. Bob was past President of the North Central State College Foundation and named as an Honorary Life Trustee at the college. The Robert H. Enskat Center, a collaboration of General Motors and North Central State College, was named after him when it opened in 1982. It now occupies two floors at the College's Kehoe Center in Shelby. Bob served on the finance committee at First English Lutheran Church, leading to his final project that took his focus away from his community to the needs of people in a foreign land. Bob was moved by the extreme poverty of the people of Malawi, Africa. He was a generous supporter of a 2009 mission trip to Malawi from First English Lutheran. In addition to supporting the mission team, he was the sole donor of funds to build a much-needed meeting hall for the Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministries in Malawi. As the orphans of Kanyenyeva use this building, they will long remember Bob's name and his generosity to those he never met, not unlike his generosity to those of the Greater Mansfield-Richland County area.

In his little spare time from community involvement, Bob enjoyed gardening and yard work, woodworking, golf, attending classical concerts at the Renaissance and traveling the world with his beloved wife, Doris. He also loved everything about airplanes, managing to include any passing aircraft in every home movie.

He is preceded in death by:

  • Wife: Doris Jean Enskat
  • Parents: Emil Otto and Hazael Oree, nee Bolejack, Enskat
  • Daughter: Stephanie Barry
  • Daughter: Cynthia Enskat
  • Brother: Richard Enskat
He is survived by:
  • Daughter: Jennifer Enskat (and her boyfriend, Andy Gardner)
  • Grandchildren
    • John Mingallon
    • Emilie Mingallon
    • Josh Barry (and his partner, Philip Matthys)
    • Jessica (Andy) Blair
  • Great Granddaughters
    • Sadie Blair
    • Heidi Blair
  • sisters-in-law
    • Alice Enskat
    • Jeanne Baldwin
  • numerous nephews and nieces
Memorials: Memorial contributions may be made to First English Lutheran Church or the Richland County Foundation. Please do not send live plants

Visitation: Friends may call from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16, 2009, at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL.

Funeral: Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 at Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery in Collinsville, Ill with Rev. Mark Wiesner officiating. Burial will be in Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery in Collinsville, Ill.

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