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Robert “Bobby” Shawley

July 12, 2022 | 4 comments

Robert “Bobby” Shawley, 80, of French Island, passed away on Saturday, July 9th while doing what he loved – fishing in his not so “secret” fishing spot.  He was born in Hokah, MN to James and Maxine Shawley on July 6th, 1942.

He married Karen (Potter) on September 2nd, 1961. They shared a special and unique partnership with one another. Their banter was a constant entertainment for their family. Together they brought four children into the world, all of whom he was extremely proud of.

Bobby loved his family fiercely and was especially fond of his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He spent countless hours pushing them on swings, showing them how to filet fish, sitting on his lap at the kitchen table drinking coffee, watching Westerns and eating potato chips and vanilla ice cream cuddled up on the couch, spending summers using the garden hose to clean already clean cars, and sharing countless stories and “Bobby-isms” that will continue to live on in them.

He was an expert fisherman, constant supporter, helper, and handyman (just don’t touch his tools!), comically stubborn, and an extremely hard worker. He spent most of his career at The Rubber Mills and spent every day since his retirement completing projects and keeping his days busy.

Bobby was preceded in death by his son, Edward, his parents James and Maxine, and his siblings Judy, Jimmy, Larry, Carol, and Terri.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Karen, and his three daughters: Shannon Paludi (Pablo), Wendy Freitag (Chris), and Susan Shawley (Lisa Josvai); bonus daughter, Amy Sanwick (Jeff), his nine grandchildren: Miranda Bott (Ryan), Brandon Freitag (Carrie), Jory Stall, Eli Shawley, Kasey Miller (Jason), Sydney Engen (Joe), Kinsey Shepherd (Blake), Makayla and Addison Sanwick; and his twelve great-grandchildren:  Athena, Henry, Lillian, Maxwell, Theo, Keenan, Reese, Benson, Walker, Quinn, Otis, and Mae; his brother, Denny Shawley (Lorna); his sisters, Virginia Mutschler, Sandy Nerby (Loren), and Vicki Lindemoen, and countless other family members and close friends.

Everyone who met him enjoyed chatting with Bobby. He always had a unique perspective or story to share. He was easy to spot in a crowd with his love for all things denim, perfectly groomed silver hair and mustache, and easygoing smile. He is going to be dearly missed by all, but especially his family who loved him deeply and will miss his hugs forever.

In his will he wrote: “To my family, I wish them to know that I love them all. It was a joy to have them all in my life, especially my children and grandchildren. I want them to know they were my most precious possessions I ever had. Keep all the good memories in your heart. Love, Dad.”

An open house Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, July 23rd at the Robin’s Nest (formerly Sokolik’s) at 328 Goddard Street on French Island between 11am-5pm. All are welcome to come with a story and their favorite chambray/denim shirt in his honor. Condolences may be sent to Karen at 1710 Lakeshore Dr, La Crosse, WI 54603.




  1. Norman Aylsworth

    Sorry to hear of Bob,s passing !!! My condolences to all the Shawley Family. Bob was alway’s a great guy,great smile,great friend. Alway’s had a good fishing story. He will be truely missed. R.I.P. My Friend.

  2. David Wittenberg

    Karen my deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  3. Doug Huggett

    My condolences to you Karen, and to your whole family. It was always special to greet Bobby whenever there was a gathering that we attended. I admire how you and Bobby created and nurtured a loving family. Grieving is not easy but loving family eases the loss of loved ones. RIP Bobby.

  4. Beverly Robertson - Shawley

    So sorry to hear about Bob’s passing he will be greatly missed. He always talked to you and made sure you were never left out. He was one of the good guys. You and the family have my deepest sympathy.


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