Cover photo for Robert "Tilly" W. DeLaura's Obituary
Robert "Tilly" W. DeLaura Profile Photo
1934 Robert "Tilly" 2023

Robert "Tilly" W. DeLaura

October 12, 1934 — September 1, 2023



Robert “Tilly” W. DeLaura, age 88, longtime Wautoma businessman, passed away Friday morning, September 1, 2023, at Meriter Hospital in Madison.

He was born October 12, 1934, in The Village of Lohrville, WI, son of Ottilio “Tilly” and Ella (Passarell) DeLaura. He married the former Joyce R. Daye on September 6, 1966. She preceded him in death on November 15, 2020.

Robert graduated Wautoma High School at the age of 16, attended UW Stevens Point briefly, and was drafted in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was selected to serve in the Army’s Nuclear Weapons Program and was stationed in New Mexico. After his honorable discharge from the military, he returned to Wautoma to assist his father in operating Tilly’s Modern Bar which had already been a fixture on Main Street of Wautoma since 1936. From 1965, “Tilly” operated the bar business along with two liquor stores for many years until his retirement where he spent the winter months in Pharr, Texas.

“Tilly” loved the outdoors and enjoyed trapshooting, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, growing shitake mushrooms and classic cars. He was a charter member of the Wautoma Rod & Gun Club and helped found the Dakota Pheasant Club.  In 1989 he was inducted into the Wisconsin American Softball Association (WASA) Hall of Fame for his involvement, contribution and sponsorship of local men’s softball teams.  He was also a chairman of the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited for many years. On June 20, 2022, he was recognized by the Wautoma Common Council which designated the road leading to the Wautoma Rod & Gun Club as “Bobby DeLaura Way” in his honor.

“Tilly” was well loved in the Community and will be deeply missed by his family and many friends. He was a faithful member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wautoma. He will be fondly remembered for always having a pocket full of smarties candies to hand out to children.

He is survived by one daughter, Kelly (Kenneth) Hicks, Claremore, Oklahoma; one son, Jeffrey (Susan) DeLaura, Madison, Wisconsin; three grandchildren, Catlin (Valerie) Knaack, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Alexander and Elle DeLaura, Madison, Wisconsin; two great grandchildren, Caden and Skyla Knaack. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; four sisters, Olga (Edward) Wrysinski, Norma (Arnie) Jorgenson, Lorraine (Leonard) Hudziak and Virginia (Bruce) Prehn.

Private family services will be held at a later date. The burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Wautoma. If desired, memorials may be made in his memory to St. Joseph Catholic Church, 364 South Cambridge St., Wautoma, WI 54982.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert "Tilly" W. DeLaura, please visit our flower store.


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