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Robert Paul Revenaugh, lawyer and financial planner, dies at at 82

Obit phoRobert Paul Revenaugh

Obit photo of Robert Paul Revenaugh

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Updated: October 11, 2012 6:21AM

Robert Paul Revenaugh led a life as American as apple pie, said his daughter, Barbara Revenaugh Garcia.

The long-time former Lake Bluff resident was trained as a lawyer and certified as a financial planner and worked many years to grow his father’s consulting firm into a successful company.

When it came time to retire, though, Mr. Revenaugh opted for a different lifestyle: He and his wife left their home in Barrington for a 350-acre farm in Elizabeth, Ill. For the last 20 years, Mr. Revenaugh reveled in farm life — the tractors, the hay, the horses. He loved it all, even the hard work it took to maintain.

“[Elizabeth is] such a far cry from Barrington or Lake Bluff. I’ve seen horses and wagons come to the local grocery store,” his daughter said. “He was just always a misplaced hobby farmer.”

“He was a very intelligent man but he really loved to work with his hands,” added his son-in-law, Art Garcia. “He was very active on the farm. Every day he was doing something, fixing a fence, whatever it took. That’s what kept him vibrant for all these years.”

His work slowed in May when he was diagnosed with stage four cancer. On Aug. 21, Mr. Revenaugh died at home of lymphoma. He was 82.

Mr. Revenaugh was born March 1, 1930, in Ohio and grew up in Lake Bluff, the middle son of three boys. He was a star boxer at both Lake Forest High School and the University of Wisconsin. He continued his education at Northwestern University and Wabash College, ultimately earning a law degree.

After graduating, Mr. Revenaugh served in the U.S. Army’s ski patrol in post-war Germany and took part in numerous avalanche rescues. (Later, Mr. Revenaugh volunteered for many years for the ski patrol at Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin.) In Germany, he met his future wife, Helga, a German woman who had been working for the Army as a translator. The couple wed in 1956 with ceremonies both in Germany and in America, and after settling in the Chicago area, they raised three children.

Mr. Revenaugh worked as a consultant for Professional Business Management, a company his father founded in 1932 that provides financial services to health-care professionals. Mr. Revenaugh later took over as president and helped build a client base that eventually become multi-generational.

He also served as president of a national organization, the Society of Professional Business Consultants and played an instrumental role in forming another group so that employees could get certified with special credentials.

“He was an innovator in the field,” said Tim Troha, a director and consultant at PBM, which is now based in Barrington. “Both to his clients and to us, he was a very professional and ethical counselor. The reason why we’ve been around for so long is because of the principles he laid down for us and his father before him.”

One of Mr. Revenaugh’s mantras was that “you can’t ever lose if you invest in people.” He often hired and trained people with little or no experience, giving many their first start in their career.

“He was very much a fellow for the underdog,” his daughter said. “He saw potential in people and wanted to help them grow.”

One of his former longtime employees, Betsy Allenan, learned how to use a computer at PBM. She recalled how Mr. Revenaugh would occasionally take workers out to lunch just to chat one-on-one.

“He was a really wonderful boss,” Allenan said. “He wanted you to do your best, and you wanted to do your best for him because he was so nice.”

Mr. Revenaugh retired in the early ’90s to the farm. With the help of his daughter and his wife, they started something similar to a horse retirement home and also took in abused horses for rehab.

In the last 10 years Mr. Revenaugh became active in church, attending services and other activities at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Passionate about music, he played the piano, banjo and sang in the church choir.

“He shared his gift of voice and melody, that was his gift to the church,” said the Rev. David Vidler, pastor at St. John’s.

Before his death, his son Mark asked Mr. Revenaugh how he wanted to be remembered. “His answer was that he was an ordinary person with Christian values who lived by them,” Mark Revenaugh said.

Mr. Revenaugh also is survived by his wife; another son, Jim Revenaugh; and four grandchildren.

Services have been held.

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