Jul. 15, 1940 Manistee Manistee County Michigan, USA
American Folk Figure. He was recorded as the World's Tallest Man. Born in Alton, Illinois with normal height and weight at birth, an overactive pituitary gland led to his extraordinary growth. By age 8 he was 6 feet tall, and by age 18 he had reached 8 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 390 pounds. By age 20 he and his father were traveling on goodwill tours for the International Shoe Company visiting over 800 towns and 41 states. His size 37 shoes were provided to him free of charge. Both he and his father traveled over 300,000 miles on their goodwill tour for the shoe company. As a youngster, Robert was in very good health, but his large feet had troubled him for many years. While on a tour in Michigan he developed blisters on his feet which became infected. Doctors performed surgery and administered blood transfusions but the infection lingered and his temperature continued to rise. He passed away on July 15, 1940. Robert's body was brought home to his home town of Alton, Illinois for burial. His 1000 pound casket required a dozen pallbearers and the assistance of 8 other men. Out of respect for Altons 'Gentle Giant', all city businesses closed for the funeral. Also, 40,000 people attended the funeral. In 1985 a life sized bronze statue of Robert was erected on the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine.