Bob Consigny dies after decades of serving Janesville community

Comments Comments Print Print
Andrea Anderson
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

JANESVILLE—Robert “Bob” Consigny was a man with a big heart who had a passion for helping others, his friends and family said.

Before Consigny died Friday at age 83, he spent the majority of his years immersed  in community service.

The committees, boards and organizations he served include Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center Board of Directors, Rock County Board and Janesville Plan Commission. He was president of the Rock County Bar Association and First Lutheran Church Foundation.

“His heart was as big as all our outdoors,” said Rollie McClellan, a close friend and former neighbor. “He just wanted to help people.”

Steve Consigny, one of Bob's four children, said his dad lived by three pillars: church, hospital and law firm.

Bob Consigny played a key role in creating the church's foundation that raises money for organizations in the city. He pushed for the creation of First Senior Apartments at 1720 E. Memorial Drive and 1801 E. Milwaukee St.

Besides being an active community member, Consigny was a proud lawyer.

Consigny graduated from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1955 then spent two years in the U.S. Army. In 1957, he moved to Janesville to practice law with John Wickhem. The firm later became Consigny, Andrews, Hemming and Grant.

He practiced law until the week before he died, his daughter Jennifer McMullen said.

Barbara Klukas, his long-time legal secretary, said he was a focused and fair lawyer.

“He would think things through,” Klukas said. “He was not one to shoot from the hip. He would think about both sides, the pros and the cons, before he would make a decision or advise a client.”

Friends, family and co-workers said Consigny was a genuine man with firm beliefs.

“He just had a kind, sweet personality,” McClellan said. “But there was never anything shy about him expressing an opinion. He held his opinions very strongly and was not afraid to share them but never shared them in an offensive way.”

McClellan and Consigny lived next door to each other on Campus Lane.

Each summer, McClellan, Consigny and a group of guys went camping for a week in Wisconsin.

The group jokingly called Consigny “the bear.”

“I would get up and get the coffee going and start cooking breakfast,” McClellan said. “Pretty soon, he'd come staggering out of the tent looking like a bear coming out of hibernation.”

Steve remembers family trips around the United States His father wanted to make sure the children were well traveled and educated about the nation. Consigny also wanted his children to learn to be fair.

“He made sure we treated everybody the way we like to be treated,” Steve said.

Mitch Bliss, a fried of more than 50 years, said Consigny was sharp.

“I know he was a hard worker and considered a very good lawyer,” Bliss said. “He had a trigger of a mind. He was smart.”

Consigny was known for being in tune with the community, but he also was known for what many described as his “booming” voice.

“He was an enthusiastic guy with a booming voice that you couldn't mistake,” Bliss said. “When he called, you could hold the phone six feet away. That was his nature.”

Consigny served on the hospital board for about 40 years and played an instrumental role in acquiring properties for the hospital.

“He was an exceptional board member, family man and business leader. Bob will be sorely missed,” Javon Bea, Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center President and CEO, wrote in an email.

He was good to the nuns who ran the hospital, Klukas said.

“They would call here before they would do anything,” Klukas said. “He was next to God. Seriously.”

Comments Comments Print Print