The first time I met Bob was when I was in 4th grade. I was in Fremont Hospital because I had just gotten my tonsils taken out. He popped in and had a small pink stuffed mouse that had these huge ears. I still have it. He was, at the time my Grandma's (dad's mom) boyfriend.
I don't know much about Bob before I met him in the 4th grade. But he had been married a few times before and had two daughters Joan and Gretchen. Grandma was a RN and had taken care of Bob's wife as she was dying of cancer. She and Bob struck up a friendship and they started dating.
They ended up marrying when I was in 6th grade, I was so excited about the dress I got to wear to the wedding.
When Grandma moved into Bob's house I was finally allowed to go up into the upstairs part of Grandmas house. I was so excited walking up those stairs, but it was anticlimactic. I'll tell you about that in Grandmas post. As Bob was cleaning out his house to make room for my Grandmas stuff he found and then gave me a framed aerial picture of the Grand Canyon. I think I sold it in a garage sale when I was a teenager, I sure wish I hadn't done that, I love that picture.
Bob and I were sort of peripheral to each other for a long time. I wasn't sure how to relate to him, but he was a nice guy. Occasionally in high school we would have conversations that were based around Christianity. Those were often awkward conversations because, well I'm an awkward girl and I also had a chip on my shoulder about Christianity. He was always interested in what was happening in my life and he took pictures constantly. Until the day he died he was taking pictures with a 35mm camera that had been around since roughly the late 80s. Whenever a special event or gathering of more than a few family and friends happened Bob was snapping pictures.
When I was in college I had come home for a visit and was at Grandma and Bob's house. Somehow we got on the topic of abortion and Bob and I got into a crazy heated argument about it. I was a 19 year old know-it-all going up against a almost 90 year old man that had been a believer and firm in that decision for over 70 years.
In August of 2002 my parents moved to Bowling Green from Clyde and in October Grandma and Bob moved in with them. That Christmas we all went to Cedar Creek for Christmas Eve service. That was the night that God was done with my anger and hostility. That also marked a turning point in my relationship and interactions with Bob. I began to listen with more interest to the things he was saying about God and Christianity. Bob, until the week he died, would cut out almost any article he found in dozens of papers and magazines, about Christianity. He would paste them to paper and file them in 3 ring binders. There were tons of them. He also had multiple bibles that were falling apart and lined to the hilt. He knew a lot about God because he spent a lot of time with him. Something I'm still trying to get better at being in the habit of. Bob didn't consider time with God a habit to be formed, he considered it a vital part of your everyday life no matter what you were doing or where you were.
We would talk about prayer and serving, about baptism and how to live a Christian life. He was so much less emotional about it than I was. But not because he wasn't passionate about it, but because to him there wasn't an option of not being a believer, it just wasn't going to happen. When I got baptized in September of 2003 Bob came with mom and dad and Grandma to Cedar Creek while I got dunked. They brought me flowers and I had a lovely moment with Bob in the lobby talking about how excited he was for the future now that I have committed to Jesus and been baptized.
After I moved to Cincinnati I would come home or chat with him on the phone, and we continued in that sense for quite awhile. My Grandma died in March of 2006. She and Bob had been married for around 15 years and Bob was devastated. He was in his late 90s and he missed his wife. Easter 2006 I came home for the holidays. I had just started at the bookstore as Daryl's assistant manager and he was in the hospital. So I ended up working until almost 130am. I left right from work and drove to BG, 3 hours away. I got home about 5 after stopping a few times to wake myself up. I walked in the front door and back to the bathroom. I saw Bob, awake, sitting on his bed. He was crying. I went in and put my arm around him and just sat there hugging him. He cried about missing my Grandma, he cried because he didn't understand why he was still alive. He was almost 100 years old, two of his wives had died before him and he was tired. He didn't understand why God wouldn't let him just go home. We just sat there like that for about half an hour.
Bob died the following August. Finally able to go home to be with his wives and his God.
Bob was very matter of fact about his faith. He believed it, and he believed it deeply. But it wasn't emotion based, it wasn't based on if he felt the spirit move in a certain way or if he heard a certain song. He believed because he chose to believe. Bob taught me that even when you feel like Heaven is the deafest place you can imagine; even when you think that God is so far away you can't even see him anymore you believe. Because that is faith.
Bob was generous, sometimes to a fault. He gave. He didn't analyze, at least when I knew him, if the person might be asking for money because of some salacious reason, he gave. He was active in his church until just weeks before he died and was generous to them and through them.
Bob taught me to recklessly believe, to be generous to people that needed it, asked for it. He modeled a love that wasn't perfect but it was love. He was rough around the edges and nothing but soft in the middle. I got to talk to him about the mission trip I was about to go on and we talked about serving. Like so many others on this list it's hard to explain adequately the way that Bob impacted me. He modeled for me a life of committed faith that I long for, a faith journey that I aspire to, and a love of other people and being generous that I think of every day.
I miss Bob, but I'm glad he's hanging out in heaven with my Grandma.