Bob Coil, previous owner of Dartron Industries, remembered

By | May 3, 2012

Bob Coil, 69 years old, of Bend, Ore., and previous owner of Dartron Industries, Salem, Ore., died April 19 while in Orvieto, Italy, on a three-week vacation with his wife, Wanda.

“Bob and Wanda were very dear friends of mine and my wife, Melissa,” said Joe Burum, executive director, Showmen’s League of America. “They were at our wedding. I am just heart broken for Wanda, because they were truly still in love.”

Burum recalled an incident from years ago that took place during one of the Showmen’s League’s annual conferences in Las Vegas. The League’s event includes a tabletop trade show, with dates coinciding with the International Association of Fairs and Expositions annual convention and trade show.

“It was when the Showmen’s League’s tabletop trade show would go into the evening,” Burum said. “Bob and Wanda were there with a table for Dartron Industries. Wanda decided she wanted to go dancing. So, they left and went out onto the dance floor. They left a sign that said something like they had decided to go dancing. They left a clipboard and piggy bank on the table. The sign said if anyone wanted to buy a ride, to write what they wanted on the clipboard and put a deposit it the piggy bank.

“I’m not sure they really sold any rides that evening, but it just demonstrates what type of person he was,” he said. “He was good at business and serious about business, but, at the end of the day, his family was what was important to him.”

According to the obituary that ran in the local newspaper in Oregon, Bob was born in Miami, Arizona, on August 3, 1942. He grew up in an Arizona mining town where his father, Benjamin R. Coil, was general manager of the Miami Copper Company. His mother, Margaret, was a nurse. In high school, he was captain of the baseball and football teams and won all-conference honors. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Arizona, where he majored in economics and was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He earned a masters degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In Vietnam, he was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving with distinction.

That obituary also stated: “During his business career, he and his family lived in many places, including Mexico City, Ohio, and Texas, before moving to Bend, Oregon, where he lived for 24 years. Until recently he owned Dartron Industries, a manufacturing company in Salem, Oregon, which designed and manufactured amusement park rides.

In addition, he contracted with Bechtel Corporation to design and manufacture specialized tools for waste management project going on at the Hanford Site, Wash., nuclear waste site.

“An avid sportsman, Bob enjoyed skiing, racquetball, hiking, kayaking, golf, and bicycling. The upcoming Masters Road National Championship in cycling inspired his latest training regimen. He followed all Pac-12 sports with enthusiasm. Bob and Wanda traveled throughout the world on hiking, kayaking and snorkeling adventures.

“He will be greatly missed by his wife, Wanda, to whom he was married for 37 years; son, Darren of Berkeley, CA, and two grandchildren, Hailey and Kaleb; and daughter, Alison and her husband, Jacob Bruce of San Diego.”

A memorial gathering for close friends and family is set for 4 p.m., Sat., May 5, at the Bend (Ore.) Golf & Country Club. After the memorial, the family has asked those attending to walk to the home Bob and Wanda Coil shared, just 5 minutes away, to enjoy some of the wine the two had enjoyed while in Italy.

Another celebration of his life will be held later in Phoenix, Ariz.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, the High Desert Museum, or a charity of choice.


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