Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Bob attended Lane Technical High School. An outstanding performer on their track team, he was also an excellent musician.
Entering Lake Forest in 1931 on a music scholarship, Bob participated in track his first two years, leading the team in scoring as a sophomore. Turning his interests to football and baseball his final two years, he was elected captain of both teams his senior year. His involvement was not limited to athletics, as he was a member of the Stentor, the L.F. Club, and the Economics Club. A member of Kappa Sigma, he was also elected to Iron Key and was class treasurer.
Graduating in 1935 with a double major in economics and political science, he entered the banking business, remaining active until the outbreak of World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic Theater and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
After his discharge from military service, Bob entered the insurance business, eventually establishing his own agency. He twice served his community of Des Plaines, Illinois, as Commissioner of Economic Development 1971-75 and 1981-89.