Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

Robert E. Rundus

Robert E. Rundus (Bob), devoted husband, father, grandfather, mathematician, rundusteacher, photographer, pilot, and sailor, passed away on October 10, 2014, at Meadowbrook Health Center in Urbana Ill., in the company of his loving family. He was 86.

Robert was born June 22, 1928 near Blue Rapids, Kansas, a son of Joseph Rundus II and Alberta Zdenka Opocensky. Robert married Eleanor Pflug in June 1951 at the First Baptist Church in Ottawa, Kansas. Robert and Eleanor had two sons, Richard Rundus (wife Annette Stumpf), and David Mitropoulos-Rundus (wife Demetra Mitropoulos-Rundus). Robert is survived by Eleanor, his wife of 63 years; his sister, Ruth Weeks; his sons, Richard and David, and his grandchildren, Austin Rundus, Anastasia Mitropoulos-Rundus, David Alexander Mitropoulos-Rundus, and Christopher Mitropoulos-Rundus. He was preceded in death by his brother, Fred Rundus.

Robert grew up on a farm about five miles southwest of Blue Rapids, Kansas, and attended the same one-room elementary school as his father and grandfather. He went on to earn a BA in mathematics at Park College, Parkville, MO, and a M Ed. at U of Illinois, plus additional math courses.

Robert served in the U.S. Army from December 1950 to December 1952. He was stationed at the Signal Corps Photo Center, Long Island City, N.Y., as a sound recording specialist. His jobs included documentary footage of presidents, diplomatic meetings, atomic tests, and rocket launchings. When covering the parade in New York City for Gen. MacArthur’s return from Korea, he interviewed “Bronco” Charlie Miller, the last living pony express rider, who was 100 at the time.  
After leaving the service in 1952, Robert worked as a civilian at Fort Monmouth, N.J., teaching motion picture sound recording and then went on to teach math and science at a number of schools (Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School, Park College, University Jr. High at Northern Illinois University).

In 1962, the family moved to Champaign. Robert was a Research Associate with Dr. Max Beberman at the University of Illinois Committee on School Mathematics (UICSM). He then went on to teach math at Urbana High School for twenty years.

Robert retired from teaching in 1983 to devote himself to his sailboat business with a shop on Green Street in Champaign. He and Eleanor ran this business until they retired in 2005.
Whatever craft, skill, or hobby Robert chose to pursue in his lifetime, he turned into something useful or artistic. This included photography, where he put himself through college using his skills as a professional photographer; sailing, which he turned into a business; woodworking, where he made many things for his home and family; flying, which he turned into vacation transportation for his family; and a sense of curiosity and perfection, which he passed on to his children.

Robert never stopped learning and teaching throughout his life, and even this year you could find him taking classes with his wife, conducting research and providing guidance to his son’s technology presentations.

The family will be planning a celebration of life at a future date.

Please share your thoughts and remembrances with the family at the Heath and Vaughn website: www.HeathandVaughn.com.


Dear Family of Mr. Rundus,

My heartfelt sympathies to you as you go on in life without Mr. Rundus, and heartfelt joy as you celebrate his life! He was my Algebra II /Pre-Calculus teacher at Urbana High School in the late 70s, and what a great teacher he was! I’ll never forget the extra credit question on one test, where he provided dimensions and possible formulas for figuring out all the particulars of dirt in a certain hole…and of course, the answer was “There is no dirt, because it is a hole!” What a fantastic legacy he leaves as a lifelong learner and thinker and do-er! My life was forever touched by just that one class with him.

Thoughts and prayers to you all,


Dear Eleanor, Richard, David, Ruth and family:

On behalf of part of the former Cuba clan, we send our heartfelt condolences on your great loss. Bob will be dearly missed.

We loved his sense of humor, awaiting a few chuckles when he sent his frank holiday letters and the updates on the loud college neighbors. For any family genealogical question, it was Bob we turned to first. The extended family photographer, camera in hand, making us smile. The CDs he shared with keys to our families’ arrival in America including photos of ourselves in this long family tree.

I recall a stop in Champaign when I was 10, and my family was taking a long car trip to the big city of Chicago. We took a peek into the boat shop with the beautiful white masts of hobby ships, it seemed so majestic and grand, for nobody sails in Kansas. We stayed for dinner and I think both Richard and David were home and the conversation at the table impressed me so. I don’t recall the topics, but
it was so erudite, a real family discussion about something other than weather and activities. It made me wish I was more grown up to participate in a lively dinner conversation. I appreciated that willingness to debate and ponder real questions.

We smile when we think of Bob and his zest for life. He leaves a great legacy. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Margo Keller Posnanski of Charlotte, North Carolina, daughter of Cecil and Judy (Opocensky) Keller of Winfield, Kansas


To the Family of Robert Rundus,

I send my deepest sympathies. Mr. Rundus was my favorite teacher at Urbana High School. I am 61 years now. I have a brother, Rene, who would have said the same thing but he died about a year and a half ago. Mr. Rundus was my math teacher throughout high school. I have to say that if it weren’t for him, I might have not been so interested in math. I ended up liking it. I felt well-prepared to enter into the college of electrical engineering.

I tended to be a dreamy kid, but I was wide awake in his class. He told funny jokes, but he could be serious, too. He explained things well. I felt he really cared about us.

May his soul be at peace, and eternally happy,

with deepest sympathy,
Fe Cruz Langdon


We always had fun playing "hearts" with the 2 of you. So sorry for your loss.

Larry Jarosch and Karen Loudy


To Bob's family,

Many years ago, I was involved with sailing, with the opportunity to go to the “One of a Kind” regatta at Carlyle Lake. Bob loaned us a sailboat that he wanted to be promoted at the regatta. It was a “One of a Kind” experience, only made possible because of Bob. I have many kind memories of him.

I too have lost my husband and I know the sorrow. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Kathy Carlson


To the Bob Rundus family,

I discovered Bob's sailboat shop in the mid 90's while searching for a nautical apparatus to tighten the net at our sand volleyball court. Bob quickly assembled the perfect combination of pulleys and line along with a short course on the concept of purchase.

Our court is located on a small pond and over the next few years Bob supplied us with several small sailboats,kayaks, and windsurfing items which have been a source of great fun for our entire family.

I vividly remember the afternoon that Bob came out with his yellow kayak and provided on-site instruction and encouragement in the basics of windsurfing.

I was very impressed with Bob's intellect and wit. Stopping by the shop always resulted in a good conversation.

With sympathy and fond memories,
Hal Barnhart


To the family of Mr. Rundus,

Mr. Rundus was an amazing teacher and I remember him as my all-time
favorite from Urbana High. He was my math teacher my sophomore
year. Before and after, I had decent teachers but he was absolutely amazing
in his skill to impart a true understanding of algebra and mathematical
thinking in general. He was a true master at teaching patterns.

I still carry that pattern based thinking with me, 35 years later, as I do my best to teach my own students. I have many fond memories of his classes. One thing that I still recall was that he told us that he once wrote a (not so successful, in his words) book titled "Little Circles for Big Squares" — a classic piece of Rundus humor. Periodically I still hunt for that book, though so far to no avail.

He touched many students over his career as I am sure he touched all of you.
While I did not have any contact with him after I left Urbana, the news of
his passing certainly saddened me and I miss him.

My Deepest Condolences,

Sanjay Govindjee


To the family of Mr. Rundus,

My deepest condolences to Mr. Rundus’s family and friends. I had Mr. Rundus as my math teacher my sophomore year in high school. Prior to his class, math did not come easy for me. Once I took his class it all started to make sense. I was initially intimidated by his gruff demeanor, and terrified by the deck 3x5 cards he had, each with a students name on it. If he drew your card you had to stand up and work a problem in front of the class. With time I began to appreciate his unusual sense of humor and realize how deeply he cared about his students. He ended up being one of my favorite teachers in high school. To this day I still tell stories to my own students as well as my children about Mr. Rundus. He touched many peoples lives and made the world a better place.


Dan McCollum


Though words are never really adequate with such a loss, I would like to pass my condolences to the Rundus family (and friends). I met Bob in the fall of 1971, when I came to Urbana H.S. as a student teacher. I would describe that experience as intense, interesting, and fun. He introduced me to a different view of math than I got from my formal studies. He truly cared about his students and pushed them to excellence. He made you think and defend your ideas, always with a sense of wonder and fun in the air. He could cut to the essence of an idea in a way that was brilliant—not just smart, but a great Socratic teacher. During my teacher training, he and Eleanor were super generous in welcoming me into their home for dinner and good conversation.

As a “bonus,” Bob sold me my first two sailboats. Over the years I kept in touch and always looked forward to a visit to see what Bob “was up to.” There was always something interesting going on—whether it was math, sailing, woodworking, or one of his other hobbies and interests. He was such a force of nature, it's hard to believe he's gone. He was a good man.

Dane Tovey
San Diego, CA


Dear Eleanor:

Jeanette just learned today of Bob's passing. Although this is over two months late, we wanted to send you our condolences and let you know how much we valued Bob as a craftsman and friend. We both still have our small sailboats that we purchased from Bob Rundus Sailboats, and both are in fine repair thanks to what we learned from Bob, and even some of the fixes he provided for us when things broke down.

His obituary was very well done. Bob was a perfectionist, craftsman and artist at everything he did. It was a pleasure to know him (and you!) and we feel lucky to have had that opportunity.

All our best,

Jeanette Wyneken
Mike Salmon