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Robert Charley “Basswood Bob” Oliva

Robert Charley "Basswood Bob" Oliva (62) was born on September 27, 1960 in Plainville, Kansas, to Ruth Lee (Price) and Charley Robert Oliva. Tragically, Bob lost his life in an automobile accident near his home in Ely, Minnesota, on August 24, 2023. 


Raised in Russell, Kansas, Bob was no stranger to adventures with his siblings. From a young age, you could find him making any excuse to visit Lake Wilson to fish or water ski. He continued his passion for the outdoors as a member of the local boy scout troop, where he made memories each year, becoming an Eagle Scout in 1979. 


Bob graduated from Russell High School in 1979, and from Pittsburgh State University in 1983. He gained the skills and knowledge of an experienced carpenter and was known for his attention to detail and love for the craft. 


Bob was a cherished member of the Ely community. His passion for the outdoors led him to create lasting memories for others through guided fishing tours, which started in the 1980’s when he was employed by Charles L Sommers Canoe Base, and dogsledding tours on the Boundary Waters. He was also a handyman and carpenter.  


Bob will be remembered for his warm-hearted nature, his sense of adventure, his sly sense of humor, and his commitment to sharing the beauty of the wilderness with others. He leaves behind a legacy of joy, exploration, and a deep connection to the natural world - having spent his final days with several of his siblings doing what he loved.


Proceeding in his death are his parents, and adoptive father, Boyd Knackstedt.  Bob leaves behind adoptive mother June Knackstedt, Russell, KS and eight siblings - Bud Knackstedt, Russell, KS; Nancy (Wayne) Woodyard, Hutchinson, KS; Dennis (Beth) Knackstedt, Golden, MO; James (Debra) Oliva, Topeka, KS; Barbara Volle, Axtell, KS; David Goza, Deborah (Don) Johnson, and Alvin Goza, Emporia, KS; and many other family members, friends, and neighbors. Although he had no children, Bob proudly cared for many huskies in his life, most recently Vera and Ima which have been re-homed in the community.


Services for Bob will be held at 10:00 AM, Friday, September 15, 2023, at Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary in Russell, Kansas. Burial will follow at the Russell City Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Thursday, September 14, 2023, at Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary, with the family present to greet friends from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  A Celebration of Life will be held later in Ely, MN. Memorials have been established with the Russell Boy Scout Troop #118 and the Charles L Sommers Alumni Association. Contributions and condolences may be sent to Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary, who is in charge of these arrangements.

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