Passing of an Icon: Robert Reese June 27, 1931 – June 22, 2019

    robert reese

    Robert Reese, one of the well-known founders of Springfield Armory, has peacefully passed away in Bettendorf, Iowa at the age of 87. He undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the firearms industry through his 45+ years of restoring the Springfield name, growing new lines of popular firearms, and bringing honor back to ones of old like the iconic M1A. The Quad-City Times, a hometown newspaper local to him, issued this obituary for his passing:

    GENESEO – Robert R. Reese, 87, of Geneseo, Illinois, well-known founder of Springfield Armory, passed peacefully Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf, Iowa.

    A hospitality visitation will be held on Friday, June 28th, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Trimble Funeral Home, 701 12th Street, Moline, Illinois.

    The Rev. Craig Jan-McMahon will officiate services on Saturday, June 29th, at 11 a.m. at First Congregational Church, 2201 7th Avenue, Moline, Illinois. The Moline American Legion Post #246 will present military honors at the church following the service. Friends are invited to join the family for a funeral luncheon celebration at CityView Celebrations at Trimble Pointe at 12 p.m. on Saturday following the funeral.

    Cremation will take place at Trimble Crematory and private burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Geneseo on an undetermined date. Memorials may be made to the following:

    First Congregational Church

    VFW –

    Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) –

    Robert Rost Reese was born June 27, 1931, in Moline to Thomas William and Ruby Rose (Rost) Reese. Bob married Carol Schillinger on June 25, 1952, in Geneseo.

    After his marriage Bob served in the U.S. Army National Guard at Camp Cooke in Santa Barbara County, California. After his discharge from the Army, Bob and Carol returned to the Midwest where he began farming in Henry County, Illinois with his father. In addition to farming, Bob had several other occupations. He was an agriculture equipment salesman in Tipton, Iowa. He was a real estate developer in Hanna Township. He became a dealer of Army surplus, and had a surplus store in Geneseo. In 1974, Bob seized the opportunity to trademark the name “Springfield Armory” and in doing so, resurrect some of the most historically significant firearm designs, such as the M1Garand, the US M14, and the 1911 pistol. Bob, his wife, Carol, and their son, Dennis were the first employees of the new Springfield Armory. They were joined by sons Dave and Tom, and together the Reese family grew the business to be a global force in the firearms industry.

    Bob was a man of many interests and talents. He was a hunter and fisherman who pursued both interests together with Carol all over the world. Bob enjoyed boating, water skiing, snow skiing, and racing dirt bikes. Bob’s greatest interest was in all things related to firearms and shooting. At the age of 17, he became junior champion of trap shooting of North America.

    Bob is survived by his wife, Carol; three sons and daughters-in-law, Dennis J. and Jane Reese of Geneseo, David R, and Colleen Reese of Colona, and Thomas William and Jane Reese of Geneseo; seven grandchildren and their spouses, Stefany and Chris Toomer, Nicholas Reese, Robert and Bethany Reese, Jon Reese, Kelly and Houston Holt, Carolyn and John Kozlik, and Thomas William Reese; and two great-grandchildren, Ruby Grace Holt and Eli Joseph Reese. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Carol Kleeman.

    Bob’s family invites friends to share stories and condolences at

    I know I speak for everyone at TFB, as well as innumerable firearm owners across the United States, that Robert Reese is a man who helped shape and change the landscape of firearms and we thank him for that. We also wish the Reese family the best throughout this time of loss and mourning.

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