In Memory of




Obituary for Robert Austin McBride

Robert Austin McBride, 82, died Sunday, February 9, 2020 while in hospice care at the Isabella County Medical Care Facility in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. He is survived by Betty, his beloved wife of 57 years, daughters Laura, Susan, and Karin, and his cherished grandson Elliott McBride. Bob lived a life of purpose, love, and devotion to his family.

Bob’s career working with troubled and adjudicated teens spanned six decades. His own boyhood experiences of “borrowing” rowboats to explore islands along the Mississippi River with his dog Duchess, selling rabbit poo as candy to neighborhood children, sticking the car horns of his high school teachers to continuously blare, and dropping blueberries into open convertibles as they sped below the elevated railways on which he perched, provided Bob with insight into the delinquent mind. Thankfully, Bob was never nabbed by law enforcement so he was able to tap into his own boyhood experiences to inform his professional and parenting choices. Many family friendships were built during his various jobs across the Midwest, especially in Michigan.

In addition to a career in human services, Bob also served his community on a local hospital board and as a member of Rotary International. He was a proud founding member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan and, in his 70s, volunteered at a middle school where he mentored challenging teens and their families.

Bob was born to Henry Verle and Ellen Marie McBride in Burlington, Iowa on August 2, 1937. The younger of two sons, Bob was devoted to his mother, who was widowed when he was 14 years old. Over the years, Bob shared many amusing and poignant stories of his childhood, family, and friends with his family.

On August 4, 1962, Bob married Betty Canady and together they raised three daughters, who never wanted to get caught breaking the law! While he tried hard to take advantage of their gullibility or gross them out with behaviors that only boys can fully appreciate, Bob was eventually broken and tamed by his wife and daughters. In later years, Bob would agree that he was a better person because of them. The birth of his only grandson revealed Bob’s sweetest devotion. Hours of gun safety lessons, target practice, rides in his pickup truck, and hanging out together forged a deep and satisfying bond for Bob and Elliott, who he adored above all else. Bob also delighted in family vacations West to see relatives and the sights, was a voracious reader of espionage books, relished hearing secrets but couldn’t keep them, and loved many pets over his lifetime, with notable favorites including his faithful dogs Duchess, Guy, Max, and Sidney.

While a funeral service doesn’t matter to Bob, it does to his family, who want to celebrate his life. Please join his family for a visitation and a memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan, in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, February 15, 2020 with visitation at 1 pm and a memorial service at 2 pm. The family also wants to express its deepest gratitude to the medical specialists and caring staff members at ICMCF and Green Acres Assisted Living Center for the fine, committed care to Bob over the past 2.5 years.