Robert L. Sylvester, 91, passed away peacefully at home on October 12th. Preceded in death by the love of his life and wife of 59 years, Alice (Griebel), his parents, Frank M. Sylvester, M.D. and Adelaide Sylvester, and sister Dorothy Sylvester of Oak Park, Il. Devoted father of Robert L. Sylvester Jr. (Anita), Alice (Michael Stepanek) Sylvester, Anne (Robert Grego) Sylvester Grego, Jeanne (Peter Silverman) Sylvester and Mary (Claudine Moreno Lormé) Sylvester; proud grandfather of Max, Brian, Alice Amelia, Frank, Jim, Clarissa, Jack, Travis, Rebecca, Ally, Danny, Stacy, Michael, and great-grandfather of Alexander. Fond brother-in-law of Margaret (the late Gerald E.) Magnuson and loving uncle of Mary Bak, Jerry Magnuson, Laura Miller and Maggie Stewart.
Robert was a true renaissance man, a chemist, author, artist, gardener, inventor, engineer, builder, historian and world traveler. In his youth, he obtained his pilot’s license and enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II. As a 2nd lieutenant, he trained B17 and B24 pilots, and conducted submarine patrol in the Caribbean.
At the conclusion of the war, he was invited to join the Walt Disney Company as an illustrator. Instead, he attended Northwestern University, received his biochemistry degree at Loyola University and worked at the Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital as a chemist. Throughout his career, he oversaw cancer, lupus, and stroke research studies.
He met his wife Alice after college on a blind date and told her she was the woman he was going to marry. Together, they built their first home in Itasca and established their own Schaumburg-based business, Sylvester Clinical Laboratory, which operated until the late 1980s. Robert and Alice valued education and believed travel expanded horizons. Their fondest memories and greatest gifts to the family were numerous vacations that, in later years, included all 23 members of the family on trips to Italy and the British Isles.
As a devout Catholic, Robert was an active member of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Itasca, a founding member of St. Matthew’s Church in Schaumburg and a parishioner at Arlington Heights’ St. James parish. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus. He and his wife made many lifelong friends through pot luck parties and bridge. He contributed endless time and talent, designing inventive Memorial Day floats and large scale props for treasure hunts and church and school events. He engineered a model wind turbine boat that was included in a Bill Nye the Science Guy video.
Later in life, Robert and Alice sold the laboratory and became involved in the real estate business and renovated apartment buildings and homes throughout Chicagoland.
Hampered by macular degeneration, he nonetheless authored 13 novels, writing by long hand with the aid of a low-vision reading device. Every January, he looked forward to spring, by pouring over seed catalogues and starting his vegetable garden from seed.
Visitation Sunday, October 16, 2016 from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm at Glueckert Funeral Home Ltd., 1520 N. Arlington Heights Road (4 blocks south of Palatine Road), Arlington Heights, IL 60004. Prayers 11:15 AM, Monday, October 17, 2016 at the Funeral Home, proceeding to St. James Catholic Church, 831 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights for a 12:00 pm Funeral Mass. Interment is at Mount Carmel in Hillside.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy, 6042 West Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053 and condolences can be given at or (847) 253-0168.