My father recently passed. I wrote a few words of remembrance.
Robert is best remembered as a builder, a maker, and a dreamer. He could quite literally build or make anything and did. From boats to businesses and furniture to cars, nothing was beyond his skill to plan, organize and realize. Robert was fearless in his quests to realize his visions and dreams.
As a builder, he was always a risk taker. It never occurred to him that something might not be possible. He simply deemed it to be so and proceeded. Robert’s primary profession was as a Model Maker in the automotive industry. In the days before computers and 3-D printers, auto parts were crafted by hand in wood by highly skilled artisans to precise dimensions. After painstaking reviews, the parts were then traced to steel dies for mass production. Robert was a supreme Model Maker. Robert made many classic and iconic components still seen in cars today including some of the first gull-winged car chassis and the famous Corvette “crossed racing flags” hood emblem.
As a maker, he was forever tinkering, improving and inventing. No area of interest was excluded from his mind’s eye. Never content to just “use something”, Robert would tear it down and remake it. The result was always an improvement and often bordered on genius. With seemingly little effort and endless energy, he understood all things mechanical and electrical. He would know, almost as if by instinct, how something could be improved. One only had to be with him a few minutes to realize how his restless mind was always engaged and envisioning the world around him.
But perhaps his greatest talent was his ability to dream. While many of us stop dreaming of the future and what could be as we age, Robert only dreamed bolder. He simply had no fear of failure or that it might be “out of his reach”. And even in those times when he did fail, he reveled in the process and what he learned. For Robert, the journey was the reward.
Robert and Margaret, his wife and biggest fan, were married for 60 years. In that time they raised 4 children, Michael, Sherry, Colleen, and Neil. Robert was always the dutiful father and above all taught and demanded honesty and fairness. Typical of Robert’s code of ethics, when his son was struggling to price a bicycle he wanted to sell, Robert simply told him, “Sell it for a fair price. That way it’s a good deal for you and the buyer”. His moral compass always pointed true North.
Robert relished in life’s little absurdities and often poked fun at it. Said another way, Robert was a prankster and never missed an opportunity, often at his own expense. Robert was simply fun to be with.
Robert loved and is loved. He will be missed and cherished always.