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May 27, 1922 - October 22, 2020

U.S. Veteran

Military service at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery on Friday, December 18, 2020 at 2:30 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Bob’s memory to the Veterans Memorial Center in Merritt Island, FL or Health First Hospice, c/o Health First Foundation, 1350 S. Hickory Street, Melbourne, FL 32901.

Robert (Bob) F. Jelen, 98, of Merritt Island, FL, passed away peacefully at home on October 22, 2020.

Bob was born in Cleveland, OH in 1922 to William F. and Rose (Volny) Jelen. As a youngster, Bob gained an early love of music as a member of the Drum and Bugle Corp. He served in the US Army Infantry in Belgium during WWII and was a P.O.W. for 116 days until being liberated by the British Army in April 1945. After WWII, Bob returned to Holly Hill, FL where he married Joan Chulak. They moved to Salem, OH to care for Joan’s mother and raised four children there. Bob and Joan were married for 32 years. He provided loving care to Joan during a 2-year illness that took her life in 1978. After a thirty-year career as a machinist at the E.W. Bliss Company, Bob retired and married Mary Procopio, moving to Koppel, PA in 1984. They were frequent ballroom dancers in Pennsylvania and West Palm Beach, FL where they spent most winters. During their 27 year marriage, Bob provided loving care to Mary during a seven year illness. After Mary’s passing, Bob moved to Uniontown, OH and then Merritt Island, FL where he enjoyed dancing at the Merritt Island Moose Lodge and Heidi’s Jazz Club in Cocoa Beach. Music was a constant companion. Bob would often be heard whistling a happy tune. His signature song was “Kansas City” and local bands at Murdock’s or Heidi’s would play it when they saw Bob in attendance. Bob danced with Sally Hart on his 97th birthday celebration.  He is a member of the Elks Lodge 2249 in Cranberry, PA, VFW Post 9904 in Greentown, OH, Moose Lodge 2073 in Merritt Island, FL, Knights of Columbus, the Blinded Veterans Association, and the American Ex-Prisoners of War Association.

Bob is survived by four children: Jeanette (Mario) Garcia of North Richland Hills, TX, Barbara Jelen of Merritt Island, FL. Robert K. Jelen of Crossville, TN, and William (Mary Ellen) Jelen of Merritt Island FL, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Bob’s only sibling, William J. Jelen died in 2008. Bob will be deeply missed by his family and friends.


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