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Obituary: Robert Whitesell

Robert “Bob” Whitesell, former COO of Norwood Promotional Products, now Norwood US (asi/74400), died on March 8 at his home in Sun City West, AZ. He was 72.

Born in Chicago, Bob attended the University of Illinois and was a member of the Illini football team that won the 1963 Rose Bowl.

Bob started in the industry in 1972 with Gillette Papermate, and relocated to New Jersey in 1979, where he was named president of New York-based Scripto/Everglide. In 1988, he became president of Radio Cap Corp. in San Antonio, and eventually became COO of the company when it became Norwood Promotional Products.

In 2004, Bob retired from the industry, but returned in 2005 to establish Windy City Products, Inc. alongside his son Scott. In 2012, Bob made his retirement official.

“Bob was the epitome of a man that ‘walked softly yet carried a big stick’,” says Fran Ford, president of Castelli North America (asi/44305). “I was so fortunate to be involved with him in many projects over the past 25 years. He was always so kind in helping young people, including myself, to make the path for growth much easier and clearer. He will be missed dearly, but his legacy will live on for many years to come!”

Bob is survived by Dorothy Whitesell, his wife of 48 years, as well as three children, Scott, Debbie and Michael; three grandchildren, Michaela, Bella and Mason; and sisters Pat Hairrell and Betty Jane Knauth.

A memorial service will be held on Friday June 3 at St. Mary’s Church in Huntley, IL, with a viewing starting at 9:00 a.m. and a ceremony at 10:00 a.m. A celebration of life will immediately follow the ceremony, at a location still to be determined.