Bob's life changed when he was chasing a criminal suspect in the rain on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, slipped on wet pavement and struck his head. He suffered a brain injury and was forced to endure years of health complications.
Despite his medical issues, Bob was determined to be a good father and friend.
"He was always positive and encouraging," said his daughter, Cheryl Hahn. "I felt so loved. He would tell me I'm great and beautiful and smart. He encouraged all his children. He brought joy to many people."
One of Bob's favorite activities was helping his brother, Bernard "Buzzy" Rehl, one of the last milkmen in the city, on his delivery truck.
In addition to breakfast, Bob could whip up a mean dinner. His wife, Margaret, ran her own business, Peggy's Hairdressers, on the first floor of their home, and when she and the children were ready for dinner, Bob would have it waiting for them, complete with a salad made with cucumbers and tomatoes from the hucksters' wagon.
Bob was born in Philadelphia to William Rehl Sr. and the former Anna Miller. He grew up in North Philadelphia and attended Edison High School. He worked factory jobs before joining the Police Department.
As a young man, Bob excelled in sports, including baseball, swimming, golf and bowling. He was a crack amateur mathematician who liked solving tricky math problems.
He enjoyed fishing, camping and growing tomato plants in his garden. He liked to take his family on picnics near the Valley Green Inn in Fairmount Park.
"He was a colorful storyteller who enjoyed making silly faces and telling jokes," his family said.
"He was a loving husband who adored his wife, and a caring father who praised his children on their potential. Despite his disabilities, he was very charismatic and appreciated the company of friends and family, whom he cherished with all his heart.
"He loved watching the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers with a cold beer and good friends."
His wife died in 1999. Besides his daughter and brother, he is survived by a son, David Rehl; three sisters, Josephine Biggs, Shirley Morrow and Delores Clopp; two other brothers, Carl Rehl Sr. and Thomas Rehl; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He also was predeceased by a son, Robert J. Rehl Jr.
Services: Will be private.
Contact John F. Morrison at email@example.com or 215-854-5573.