My earliest memories of my Uncle Bob are of a kind of nerdy teenager who came to visit us in Omaha with my Grandma and Grandpa. He was lots of fun, at only thirteen years my senior, how could he not be? I loved his visits and was so happy as he married and had a family; my big kid status allowed me to spend a lot of time with them in those early days.
There was one point I gave up liking him for about a year. It's true. When I had become the akward 'tween, he jokingly pulled out my chair from under me at a family holiday dinner. He thought it was hilarious, and in hindsight, it was. But then, not so much!
My uncle had a crazy work ethic and loved his family. He was a whiz with tools and I'm thrilled to have a hutch he built in my dining room. He was so wonderful with my kids, always happy to have them on a knee or to listen to his latest joke. He was political, let me tell you! When he believed in something, there was no wavering. He never drank, never smoked. He was strong and he was a good man who left us too young.
My Uncle Bob lost his three year battle with brain cancer last night at the age of 51. We're told he is the longest-lived survivor of his type of cancer on record. I am sure I know why. Uncle Bob was a man so solid in his faith that I have no doubt it kept him going. He truly believed that he would be okay, no matter what happened, because he knew that God would take care of him. And He did. He was blessed to die peacefully at home with loved ones.
He will be missed by so many, his wife Dawn who took such good care, his children, his family and friends, co-workers and the Knights of Columbus, his church community. But more than all the missing him we'll do, there will be welcoming up above. Surely the heavens are rejoicing his arrival. Surely his suffering is over and his body and mind are in peak condition. Surely he's having breakfast with Grandpa and catching up on so much lost time. Surely.
I love you Uncle Bob.