Our story begins on August 26, 1930, when Jesse M. Yonan, MD., delivered a healthy baby boy in the county of Cook, Chicago, Illinois. The proud parents, David and Rapka Lazar named the baby boy Robert David Lazar. They took Robert home to meet his older brothers & sisters, Albert, Joseph, John, Mary, and Martha. Other siblings that joined the household were Rubert, Samuel and Solomon.
As a child he would save popsicle wrappers. By saving them he was able to redem them on some pretty nice toys.
"Broonie, Broonie, time to wake up..." Bob and his father would go places on the streetcar early in the mornings...to the fruit market, to pick grape leaves, ect.
Being an avid movie goer with limited funds, he often passed out handbills and got free tickets at the Julian Theater, where they showed mostly Westerns. He and his friends hung out at the Biograph Theater (where John Dillinger was shot)...the brother of one of Bob's friends worked there.
At the age of 13-16 Bob delivered flowers for Lange Flowers...that's how he learned all of the Chicago streets...It was Mrs. Lang that taught him to stand up straight & not to put his hands in his pockets & to breathe in the fresh air!
For four years he worked at Schultz Delivery...delivering optical, dental and jewelry. He once traveled 50 miles on the train with $10,000 worth of diamonds from the J. Walter Advertizing to be photographed by the Elgin Watch Company.
In 1950, Bob, David and their mother moved to a brick farm house on 200 acres in Newaygo County, Michigan. They bought the farm for $4,400 through a United Farm catalog.
One day a little boy and his mother passed by Bob and the little boy said,"Look Mommy, it's Groucho Marx!"
Wurzburg's Department Store
Bob's "big break" came when he went to Grand Rapids and got a job at Wurzburg's Department Store. He worked there for 15 years. While working there Bob met Gloria Swanson. The brother of Robert Knapp (actor who played in Perry Mason & Dragnet) was the General Merchandiser at Wurzburgs. Their father was once the V.P. of the store.
Bob first learned to drive in 1963. His first car was a '63 Valiant, which he purchased at Hudsonville for $2,000 with monthly payments of $60.00.
Bob became a christian on January 20, 1963. He used to take coffee breaks with a co-worker, Wesley Perschbacher who turned out to be a minister at Riverbend Bible Church. During one of those coffee breaks, Bob prayed & accepted the Lord. He made his first public confession by ging forward at the Baptist Church in Big Rapids.
In September 1964, Bob became a student at the Grand Rapids School of the Bible & Music. He lived at the dorm at Olds Manor...his roommate was Sandy MacDonald. He palled around with the upperclassmen, (Clyde Mills, Bob McDonald, Al Parmenter, Gordon CanderCoi, Paul Dalaski, Jack Penny, Tim Cris, Bob Sponable) they often went to Mr. Malinac's for pizza and his home made lemonaide.
Before long he met Ruth Ann Durham, a 2nd year student from Hale, Michigan. Their first date was going out for ice cream...After a few more dates Bob asked Ruth to marry him. The date was set for August 14, 1965.
From left to right
Stanley Durham, Margurite Durham, Mrs.Ruth Lazar, Mr.Robert Lazar, and Rapka Lazar
Bob & Ruth rented their first apartment at 520 Crescent NE, Grand Rapids. Their rent was $70.00 a month.
Bob was ordained on May 14, 1972. Some of the pastorates include: Mt. Pleasant Gospel Church at Goodells, Hillman Free Methodist Church, Dansville Baptist, Hackson Bible Church, Crump Baptist, Canandaiqua Community Church, Farwell Community Church and Harrison Bible Church.
Among some of the famous people that Bob met are: President Jimmy Carter, Jack VanImpe, Dr. Clyde Naramore, Jerry Falwell, Doug Oldham, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, Celeste Holm, Herbert H. Dow, Alden Dow, and Charles Osgood.
Bob became interested in jail ministry. This led him to make visites to Jackson State Prison, and later to become deputized at Tuscola Co. Sheriff's Department, Lapeer Co., and Clare Co. where he has been involved with corrections work, counseling, and bringing the gospel to the men and women in the Department and behind bars.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."