Robert B. Phelps

Friday, January 6, 2023

Robert B. Phelps, 88, of Kingsley, died Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022.

Robert Brooks Phelps was born on Jan. 1, 1934, in Kingsley, to Floyd and Helen (Wylie) Phelps. He was Siouxland’s First New Year’s Baby. Robert joked that January 1st was the worst day for a birthday as everybody has a party that day but it’s not for you.

He grew up in Kingsley where he graduated from high school in 1952. Following high school, Robert attended Grinnell College. He was a standout football player. As a nationally ranked javelin thrower, he broke both school and conference records in the process. Many stories were told of this time. His best javelin mark seemed to grow as he aged.

After graduation, he attended one year of law school and graduated from Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking. Next, he took a banking job with Banker’s Trust in Des Moines. After hours, he helped manage a gym. His focus was on resistance training at a time before it was generally accepted. It became a lifelong hobby.

In 1963, Robert came back to Kingsley to reorganize, along with his brother George, the Private Oltmann and Phelps Bank into a State Chartered Bank that later became Kingsley State Bank in 1965. As a boy, he was the bank’s janitor, eventually working his way up to president. He retired in 2019 as Chairman of the Board.

He was very committed to the bank, often boasting that his bank had the best possible employees because he hired them. Additionally, he would say the second a customer walks in the door, you truly have to want to help any way you can, or you shouldn’t be working there. Another of his favorite pastimes was preaching to anybody who would listen to why Kingsley is the best place to live. Kingsley State Bank and its branches were rated 5 stars by various Rating Agencies under his watch.

Robert served on the Board of Directors of the Plymouth County Work Activity Center and represented Kingsley-Pierson and Hinton Community School Districts on the Plymouth County Board of Education before it was merged into Area Education Agency XII.

Other community service included both Lion’s Club president/treasurer and Kingsley’s United Methodist Church treasurer for 17 years. But most importantly, Robert’s faith was in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.

On June 10, 1961, Robert was united in marriage to Carol Edith Jensen, his college love interest, in Loyal, Wisconsin.

Every morning Robert would wake up with his kids and grandkids on his mind as his priority. His activities were scheduled around their activities. He fostered these relationships in many ways, but mostly through countless notes and letters.

Robert rarely travelled for leisure except for an occasional ski trip. Eventually, he and his cronies built a makeshift “Westside Ski Slope” west of Kingsley with telephone poles and tow rope powered by an old Ford truck on top of the hill on blocks with incision attachments on the tire for the rope.

He also enjoyed spending time at Okoboji with family and observing nature in his timber. As an advocate of staying active for health, he was still biking an hour plus per day close to his passing. Outdoors, he used a 3-wheel recumbent bike and a stationary bike for indoors.

Grateful to have shared his life are his wife, Carol E. Phelps of Kingsley; daughter, Alison A. Hoogeveen and her husband Donley of Kingsley; son, Robert W. Phelps of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; son, Scott C. Phelps and his wife Laura of Okoboji; grandsons, Colton Phelps of Ankeny, Nick Phelps of Iowa City; granddaughter, Kiana Phelps of Tucson, Arizona; sister, Sally Wells of Troy, Michigan; sister-in-law, Linda Phelps of Kingsley; brother-in-law, Bob Kratz of Eden Prairie, Minnesota; nieces and nephews, Alex Wells of Park City, Utah, David Phelps of Sioux City, Jenny (Kratz) and Dave Autio of Minnetonka, Minnesota, Katy (Kratz) and John Zimmerman of Bloomington, Minnesota and Greg Kratz of Portland, Oregon.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Janet Kratz; a brother, George Phelps; a granddaughter, Krista Phelps; a nephew, Campbell Wells and a cousin, John Phelps.

Private family services were held. Burial was at the Kingsley Cemetery.

The Johnson – Earnest Funeral Home in Kingsley assisted Bob’s family with arrangements.

Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family through mauerjohnsonfh.com.