Robert (Bob) Vilt, 74

Published 6:15 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

Robert (Bob) Vilt, 74, of Austin, Minnesota, died Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Robert Vilt

He was born June 15, 1943, in Austin, the youngest child of Frank and Margaret (Thompson) Vilt. A 1961 graduate of Austin High School, he remained lifelong friends with many of his peers. After graduation, he went “upstairs” and continued his education at Austin Junior College before transferring to Mankato State University, completing his bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Later in life, he earned another bachelor’s degree in sociology and a masters degree in counseling. Bob’s professional life included working as a teacher, counselor, and social worker.

Bob enjoyed a bohemian lifestyle in California and Hawaii, returning to Austin after his mother’s death to live with his dad along Turtle Creek. It was in Austin where he met his future wife, Jeanne Poppe. Love struck quickly and a year later they were married on June 16, 1984, on the Poppe family farm in Houston, Minnesota. From this marriage, Bob found his true calling, that of being a dad, unconditionally loving his three children: Lydia, Casey, and Skyler.

Email newsletter signup

Bob’s experience as a soldier marked a profound turning point in his life. Drafted to serve in the U.S. Army from Nov. 22, 1966 – Aug. 26, 1968, he would carry emotional trauma for the rest of his life — it would inform his politics of anti-war, anti-violence protests and rallying in support of peace and justice.

Bob enjoyed reading, drawing, creating works of art from rust and sticks, and writing. He is the author of one published book (“You Much Crazy: One soldier’s story of Vietnam and its personal aftermath”). He taught drawing and poetry, held weekly writing group gatherings, and substitute taught when asked. His innate warmth helped him connect with those on the margins or troubled by life.

Bob is survived by his wife, Jeanne Poppe; and their children, Lydia Vilt, Casey Vilt, and Skyler Vilt; he is also survived by his brother, Darryl; Darryl’s sons, Chris (Kim) Vilt, and Greg (Stacy) Vilt; and his late sister Carol’s children, Eric (Cathy) Peterson, and Jana (Brady Slater) Peterson. Additional survivors include his brothers-in-law, Lloyd Peterson Jr, and Chuck (Diana) Poppe; his sisters-in-law, Sharon (Joel) Schulze, and Sandra (Kevin) Dixon; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Margaret Vilt; his sister, Carol (Vilt) Peterson; his parents-in-law, Vincent and Marjorie Poppe; and his sisters-in-law, Darla Vilt and Dianne Poppe.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 22, 2017, at Christ Episcopal Church, 301 Third Ave. NW, Austin. Visitation will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at Worlein Funeral Home and for one hour before the service at Christ Church. Burial will not follow the service. Bob will be interred at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Preston, Minnesota. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Minnesota Alzheimer’s Association (with a memo line of “You Much Crazy,” a team for the Sept. 9 Minnesota Walk to End Alzheimer’s) or the Austin Public Library.

Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at