‘Ole Kansas City boy’ . . . . . . passes on . . . . . . best friend & mentor
Up here in the Sierras we all referred to him as ‘ole Bob’, whether you were at Church, the Chainsaw Shop or in the Coffee Cup Cafe…every one knew who you were talking about. An easy going man and true gentleman, generous to a fault, loving Grandfather and husband of over 60 years.
Born in Kansas City in 1934, Bob missed WWII as a kid, although he remembered those years well and used to tell me anytime I asked about how life was during those times. When the Korean War broke out Bob was in his prime, joined the Air Force, and after training became a Crew Chief on several of the old WWII vintage prop planes. He was stationed in Alaska for a time where they had some harrowing experiences on take off and landings in that weather…was on board one of the old bombers when they had to set her down in the sea. He’d talk about that as if…”Oh well, it’s what we did that day.” WWII has been one of my hobby interests most of my life since my father was in the Pacific Theatre running Marines to the beach in Landing Craft…Dad never would discuss those war years…ole Bob would and became my Living History Book.
Bob and I first met when we were part of a group of people starting a new Church up here on the ridge between Georgetown and Volcanoville; the idea was to be near to the shut-ins and those living here in the sticks that didn’t own automobiles…members would adopt people who couldn’t get to Church and pick them up for Sunday morning service and Wednesday nights when we did Bible Studies. One of the founders owned an old closed Bar and offered it up for free rent. We took advantage of that offer and quickly became the topic of rumors of the other Churches spread around the ridge…Bob and I were two of the five original Elders who would take turns in the Pulpit when we couldn’t get a regular Pastor scheduled to come and preach. Eventually a Pastor would adopt us and we were ‘blessed’ to receive him.
It wasn’t long and I discovered that Bob was a handloader and he became my only ‘peer’ mentor I ever had…another source of Historical Firearms and reloading apparatus. It’s kinda funny to recall the times when I’d drop by and he’d show me a new pistol or rifle. I’d ask, “Where’d Ya get this?” He would say…”Oh, I was going through the safe and found it, forgot I had it!” Bob had three safes so stuffed with weapons that only the ones in the front could be identified at a glance…the pistols and revolvers were in piles on the shelves and to this day I’ve never seen them all.
Here he is at 80 years old sitting quietly, listening to the radio and lube sizing a batch of freshly cast rounds. I had snuck up without him hearing the truck roll in and snapped this picture. He lived in Volcanoville about 15 bird miles from where I live, but about a 35 minute drive by the winding mountain roads. He is enjoying his freshly remodeled shop…a week prior to this I had had enough of trying to find anything in here, ole Bob used to keep things here organized like he did the gun safes! We spent a couple days digging through the mess and sorting things, I took some measurements and went home to the shop to build these shelves to install and reorganize. Later I tore the right side out and installed a set of kitchen cabinet uppers and lowers to his right. He’d say…”Charlie, I can’t find a thing now that you reorganized my shop!” Actually he loved it, but would just razz me for the grins. This is when I found my Lyman T-Mag II in the bottom of a box covered in brass and empty cartridge boxes. I said, “Bob! Look what I found! Where did this come from?” He says…”Ha…didn’t know I had it. You got any use for it? Take it with Ya.” Generous to a fault…About a year later someone dropped off an RCBS Jr. press, said, “Maybe you can use it Bob.” Next time I came by to visit Bob says…”Hey Charlie, I got this press out in the shop, maybe you have some use for it?” It’s funny how things work out, at that time I had been looking for a press I could mount upside down for a sizing press. Today after all these years, I look around in my shop and see Bob’s generosity all over the place…I miss him.
Back in the days when I was a newby there weren’t forums and Network sites to join…no Reloaders Networks to find new friends, mentors or helpful information and instructional videos. If you had been raised by a handloader you had an advantage. If by chance you’d meet another reloader at the gun range and you hit it off, there was a chance to have a mentor then. I just struggled along reading loading manuals and magazine articles, making a lot of screw-ups and eventually got my legs and some confidence in my handiwork. The Good Lord above kept any serious bloopers, squibs and loads that explode out of my path. When I found ‘Ole Bob’ he was a blessing beyond belief and my knowledge of this arcane craft exploded. I am so thankful to have had Bob in my life.
I could go on and on about Bob but won’t, enough said…
“Value your friends out there boys, a real true friend…one who will drop everything and come to your beckon call is a valued treasure and scarce.
Thank you for reading about mine…keep your ducks in a row, watch that 6…have fun and don’t hurt yourselves boys.”
c h a r l i e
Bob is 84 now on this cold fall day last year, and this is our last time together. I brought my smelting gear over and was ingotizing his last three buckets of wheel weights…Bob is keeping my ‘Bubbie’ away from getting into mischief…
Born in 1950…HS grad, some college, no degrees, served in the US Marine Corps, educated there by the Navy in Electronics. Worked as an Electrician all my life and Contracted Heavy Industrial Control & Power Distribution for 20 years before retirement. Drive a black Chevy 4×4 and a Harley V-Rod. Married 40+ years, 3 great kids all 45 & older. Love my shop & do it all right there…