Robert William Markham

ONNELA LOCATION – Robert William Markham Sr., 89, died Tuesday, April 19, 2016, after a brief illness.

He was born March 11, 1927, in Houghton, the son of Walter and Bertha (Collins) Markham and attended the Onnela School in Stanton Township and Houghton High School.

He joined the United States Navy in 1945 and served until the end of World War II.

Upon his return from the war, he finished high school at Houghton High School and attended Michigan Tech for two years as a student-athlete. He was a member of the undefeated 1948 football team, whose picture remains in the MTU Football Hall of Fame. He also played hockey and baseball locally.

He married the former Catherine Buckman on June 18, 1954. Together, they raised three sons and last year they celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

He was an avid gardener, hunter and fisherman and greatly enjoyed his time in the woods. Later, his love for athletics was reflected in time spent around the fields and rinks in the Copper Country with his sons and grandchildren.

He was a truck driver for most of his adult life, first for the Houghton County Road Commission for a brief time and then for 30 years as a tractor-trailer driver for Clairmont Transfer Company. He retired from Gross Common Carriers in 1985.

He is survived by his wife, Catherine; two sons, Ronald Markham, of L’Anse, Roger (Paula) Markham, of Gaylord; a daughter-in-law, Mary Markham, of Atlantic Mine; nine grandchildren, Andrew (Shannon) Markham, of Wasilla, Alaska, Jon Markham, of North Dakota, Lee and Rebecca Markham, of Atlantic Mine, Katherine Markham (Nathan Bowen) of Gaylord, Alice Markham, a student at Michigan Tech, Joseph and Emma Markham, of Gaylord and Samantha Markham; four great-grandchildren, Audrey, Vincent, and Amelia Markham, of Wasilla and Keagan Bowen, of Gaylord; one brother, Walter Markham, of Green Bay; two sisters, Nell Kerr (James) of Toivola and Alice Phillips, of Central Point, Oregon; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Robert Jr.; one grandson, Robert III; brothers, Harold and Charles; and a sister, Barbara Bissinger.

In accordance with Bob’s wishes, cremation has taken place and the family will honor him privately.

The family wishes to thank Andre Bonen and all the wonderful friends, neighbors and relatives, who were so helpful during Bob’s recent illness, as well as the staff at Portage Health and Portage Hospice.

To view Robert’s obituary or to send condolences to the family, please visit

The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes of Houghton have been assisting the family with the arrangements.