In August of 1972, I boarded a Greyhound bus and headed to my 2nd year of college. Because I was a work scholarship student, I arrived 2 weeks earlier than the other students. At the end of those first 2 weeks the college was having a picnic and all the work scholarship students were playing softball. I slid into home base trying to score a run and ran into this good-looking muscular blonde guy who didn’t move off the plate. Results – I tore ligaments in my ankle and met my future husband.
I was 19 years old at the time and had never been on a date. My husband was my first and he became my forever date when we were married June 22, 1973. He truly was the one and only man ever in my life. He wasn’t a perfect man because after all, there are no perfect men. But, he was the man that God made specifically for me.
Bob had an Associate Degree in Mechanical Technology and also a B.S. Degree in Secondary Education with majors in math and physical education, but spent the majority of our married life working as Emissions Lab Manager at Nissan North America. He had this gift of being able to fix just about anything and everything and saved us thousands of dollars in our over 36 years of marriage.
Being a dad to our 4 daughters was something that he did wonderfully well. He was strict with them, but peppered that strictness with lots of love. During the last few months of his life, those girls took turns spending the night with him in the hospital. We never left him alone either day or night.
He taught our daughters to work well and work hard and they were and still are in high demand by employers even though 3 of them now work at home as wives, mothers, and 2 as home school teachers. If you were to ask them what their dad was like, they would tell you that he was a man of great integrity and dependability. He loved the Lord first, and then his wife, daughters, and others. Bob taught the girls by example how very important it is to love God and live life for Him.
Our sons-in-law were very important to him and he had a burden to share with them all the things he had learned and was learning about being a good husband and father. Every year we would have either Thanksgiving or Christmas with all of our girls and their families together. Bob had what our sons-in-law lovingly called “Pa’s Garage Talk” where he would take the guys aside and spend time sharing with them. They told me how very much they always looked forward to those talks.
The light of Bob’s life were his grandchildren. He loved to tease them and laugh with them, but he especially loved giving them rides on his John Deere riding mower. His greatest concern was that they come to really know Christ and have their own personal relationship with them and he prayed about that daily.
Bob loved others and had a small, seemingly insignificant ministry repairing lawn mowers, riding mowers, weed eaters, and chain saws for those who did not have the money to have it done in a shop. Sometimes if Bob was offered money, he would charge just for the parts that he replaced, but most times he would not charge a dime. I saw him take parts off his own mowers when he couldn’t find the older model parts to replace for someone. That’s just the kind of man that he was. He always said, “I don’t have money to give to others, but I can use my hands to fix their mowers”.
He also loved the men he worked with and would pray for them each by name every night. Being the right kind of leader at work was a great concern of his and one that he took very seriously.
Although the only missions trip Bob ever took was to Wyoming to build log cabins for a children’s home, his love for missionaries whether they were working in the States or in a foreign country was great. His favorite thing to do was to tuck a $100 bill into his hand and then shake their hand leaving that bill for them to use for whatever need they had. That gave him such joy!
After we had been married for 17 years, I became very ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that I found out just 5 weeks ago was caused by Lymes disease. If you know anything about this illness, you know that most spouses can’t deal with it and many leave their wives or husbands. I had one of those husbands that loved me in spite of it all and told me daily just how much he loved me just as I was. Bob was truly my picture on earth of God’s unconditional love.
Bob always dreamed of working on a ranch, but never saw that dream fulfilled. I like to think now that he’s living his dream out in heaven and that gives me so much comfort because he was a such sacrificial man that never valued himself enough.
A wife gets to know her husband well when they are married as long as I was, but I didn’t really know my husband until the last 4 ½ years of his life after he received his terminal diagnosis. I saw a faith and trust in God like I have never seen in any other person. In his last 2 months he would pray aloud and say, “It’s all about you, Lord! It’s ALL about YOU!” or sing “God is so good! God is so good! God is SO GOOD, He’s SO GOOD to ME!!” with tears streaming down his cheeks.
Bob’s death was sudden and not when expected, but a few days before that morning, he said, “Candy, are you going to be alright?” He had been in the hospital for over 3 weeks. I believe that God let him know that his time was short and his concern was not about himself but me. What great love is this! The ICU nurse who was with him at the end came to me and told me that she had seen a lot, but Bob had such a look of peace on his face right before and after his heart stopped. My husband was a gift that God gave to me and one that I will value with all of my heart forever.