Robert J. Primer, 69, of Brookfield, died peacefully on July 21, 2021 surrounded by family. 

Mr. Primer was born in Cleveland and worked as a commercial photographer for 46 years. “Primer” never stopped seeing through the eyes of a lens. 

He considered himself lucky and proud to have had one lifelong profession, beginning in Cleveland shooting model comps to learn the craft, and advancing to fashion retail photographer at May Company. 

In Chicago, he continued as senior fashion photographer with clients like Sears, Marshall Fields, Carson’s, Kmart and Montgomery Ward. Later in years, he still shot people, whether a CEO from a Fortune 500 company, a rambunctious high school football team, a commemorative senior portrait or climbing a cherry picker to shoot 100 firefighters ─ always systematic, prepared and with pride.

Mr. Primer placed importance on his Italian-Polish family and traditions, often sharing fond memories of home while enjoying a homemade pizzelle. He and his wife, Mary, travelled 7,000 miles due west to begin their family in China. The love and unique bond of this trio was his joy in life.

An outdoorsman, he taught the art of forest bathing, or “shinrin-yoku” ─ whether casting flies on a trout stream, cycling California’s Highway 1, camping amongst bison in the Badlands, canoeing the Boundary Waters, birding and conversations in the garden with neighbors, and enjoying the simple pleasure of a fine Cuban cigar with a friend.

Mr. Primer was the husband of Mary Grace Primer (nee Janik); the father of Lauren Li and the late Jordan; the brother of Sandy (Dennis) Dikowicz and Karen Primer; the brother-in-law of James (Linda) Janik; the uncle of Jennifer, Dennis Jr., Micheal, Joshua, Stephen, Nina, Allison, Amy, Brandon and Andrew; and the son of the late Ray and Alba Primer.

Visitation is Thursday, Aug. 5, from 4 to 8 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 6 from 8:45 to 9:15 a.m. at Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st St., Brookfield. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church, LaGrange. Interment is private.

For the safety of all, the family respectfully requests that all in attendance wear a mask.

A live stream of the service will be available to view at A Facebook account is not needed to view. The livestream will begin 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled funeral start time.

Express condolences online at Sympathy cards can be mailed to Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st St., Brookfield, 60513, c/o the Robert Primer family.