Robert L. “Bobby Lee” Viehmeyer Jr.

Robert L. “Bobby Lee” Viehmeyer Jr.

Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, USA
Death 11 Sep 2002 (aged 61)
Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, USA
Burial Kickapoo (Oak Hill), Peoria County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 55210124 · View Source
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Robert L. Viehmeyer Jr., 61, of Peoria died at 4:35 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2002, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, where he had been a patient since Sunday. Born June 1, 1941, in Peoria to Robert L. Sr. and Dorothy L. Hybarger Viehmeyer, he married Margaret H. "Peggy" O'Toole on Aug. 18, 1962, in Alexandria, Va. She survives. Also surviving are his mother of Spring Bay; one son, Steven (and Michelle) of Portland, Ore.; two granddaughters; and two sisters, Susan (and Jack) Griswold of Spring Bay and Sandra (and Keith) Bright of Florence, Ala. He was preceded in death by his father in 1997.

He recorded under the name of Bobby Lee on the Decca record label. He recorded several rock ‘n' roll hits, including "Just Beginning," a No. 1 Billboard hit in 1961. Other top hits included "Sugar Love" and "Little Flame." He also appeared on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand." Before that, he played with the Rockin' R's, a local rock band. He co-owned and operated Vee-John Publishing and also primarily worked in sales.

He was a former member of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Peoria Heights, where he was active in the Knights of Columbus.

A Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kickapoo. The Rev. Patrick Riordan will officiate. There will be no visitation. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery in Kickapoo. Arrangements are by Hammitt-Hott Funeral Home, Princeville.

Memorials may be made to any charity.

Peoria Journal Star (Peoria, IL) - Friday, September 13, 2002

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'60s singer Bobby Lee dies -- Diabetic's hit songs were 'Sugar Love' and 'Just Beginning'

PEORIA - Peoria native Robert Viehmeyer Jr., also known as 1960s rock ‘n' roller Bobby Lee, had his moment in the sun and then lived as fully as he could, his family said Thursday.

"He loved life, he loved music and he loved his family," said Peggy Viehmeyer, his wife of 40 years.

A diabetic for decades, Robert Viehmeyer finally succumbed to the illness Wednesday at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. He was 61.

Viehmeyer ‘s hit songs, "Sugar Love," which sold a half million copies, and "Just Beginning," which topped the charts in 1961, propelled him to fame and performances around the country. He headlined at the Heart of Illinois Fair before playing on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

He even tried some television appearances in Hollywood, but the life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n' roll quickly lost its appeal, said his son, Steven Viehmeyer.

"He didn't violate a lot of his beliefs or a lot of things he stood for, and therefore he did not last in that arena," he said.

Viehmeyer settled back in Peoria in 1963 with his wife and a new son. He continued singing around town and became active in the Knights of Columbus. He also co-owned and operated a music publishing company, Vee-John Publishing.

Diabetes robbed him of much activity for the last 11 years, with a kidney transplant in 1992 and frequent trips for dialysis. He decided to stop dialysis Sunday and prepared for the end.

Being a sick child from age 4 to 10, and with complications from diabetes at the end his life - including being revived twice in July - Viehmeyer often wondered how he had lived as long as he did, said his sister, Susan Griswold of Spring Bay.

"He went in peace and he went at least finally without pain, and that's really what we're grateful for," she said. "He seemed relieved that he made his decision, and he doesn't have to fight the fight anymore."

Peoria Journal Star (IL) - Friday, September 13, 2002, Author: Daniel Schack

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photo: Bobby Lee, Decca Records
Gone to Rock n Roll Heaven

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  • Maintained by: Stephen Cantrell
  • Originally Created by: John Melton
  • Added: 20 Jul 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 55210124
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert L. “Bobby Lee” Viehmeyer Jr. (1 Jun 1941–11 Sep 2002), Find a Grave Memorial no. 55210124, citing Saint Patricks Cemetery, Kickapoo (Oak Hill), Peoria County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Stephen Cantrell (contributor 48212706) .