Robert Augustus “Bob” Wesley, age 92, of Independence, died at his home on Sunday, April 11, 2021. Mass of the Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, April 20th, 2021, 10:00am at St. Andrew Catholic Church with Reverend Father Zachary Pinaire officiating. Burial is under the direction of Webb & Rodrick in Independence. Reciting of the Rosary will precede the Mass at 9:30am. Memorials can be left in Robert's name to Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice or St. Andrew's Catholic School.
Robert Augustus Wesley was born April 8, 1929 in Independence to Tessie Washington and Edward M. Wesley, the youngest of six (6) children, growing up in southeast Independence’s Agganippie Park. His fondest memories were the Wesley Family annual Basket Dinner, the equivalent of a family reunion, held at Wesley Chapel in Sandy Ridge, an area south of Independence.
Robert attended Elementary school at Longfellow then located in the area where he lived. Longfellow was joined with Washington Elementary School during his 5th grade year. He attended Jr. High through 12th grade graduating from High School in 1947. He remembered being the first Black student allowed in the Marching Band and permitted to eat in the cafeteria. This type of integration was not in existence then.
Robert worked at the Universal Atlas Cement Plant for 5 years along with other family members. While being drafted in the military (Army) and stationed in Los Angeles at Camp Roberts with his cousin, he later graduated from OCS Leadership School in Fort Benning, Georgia. He served at Okinawa during the Korean era and received an Honorable Discharge in 1953. He later tested and passed the US Postal Test but was passed over for employment. After correspondence with the US Government, the US Post Office was found guilty of discrimination he was hired but some others were dismissed. During his 35 plus years of employment there he was offered a position with the Kansas Human Rights Commission. He was instrumental in the opening of an Independence office. During his 15 years with the Commission, 6 years were spent as Chairman. This position and being a part of the opening of an Independence office were the highlights of his tenure.
Robert accepted a position with Four County Mental Health Center as originator of The Reflection Show running for 17 years. Persons from all cultures and life styles were featured and interviewed. Other positions/organizations were: President of Independence Housing Authority where Wesley Park was constructed as an honor, VP Independence Day Care Center, Independence Zoning Board, Midwest Crisis Pregnancy Center, member Independence School Board and VP (first African American to this position in Independence), King’s Men Club (African American Social Club), Independence Rotary, was awarded the Chamber Award for community efforts, Superintendent of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Sunday School, member of Knights Of Columbus: Owner/Operator of Wesley AG Store, also B&E Cab (catering to Sr. Citizens), shared ownership of BOOTH HOTEL with cousin Clarence Wesley, placing the building on the Historic Roster. An avid lifelong vocalist, Bob was known throughout the area for his striking voice in delivery of his solo work.
Robert shared his life with his wife Eloise of the home his son Edwin Scott, (Kathleen) of Cheltenham, MD: Daughters Rolanda (Bunny) Cunningham, Topeka KS; Angela Wesley Gaffney (David) of Wichita, KS; 7 grand children; 6 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Robert was guardian of nephew Richard Parks and grand-niece the late Gwendolyn Portley. To leave the family a special message of condolence, please visit, www.webbrodrickchapel.com.
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