To Bob, every day was a good day.  He greeted every day with a smile.  Here are representations of some of the things that made him happy.

Ostrich egg

Bob picked this up on his first trip to Africa, and he loved showing it off.  He was particularly taken with the hardness of the shell.  It is a representation of his travels and his collecting and his wonder with the natural world.


Dad loved to snack, and Cheez-Its were one of his favorites.  Anyone who has gone to the movies with Bob is familiar with the rustling, unwrapping, crunching (sliced apples), and can opening (Safeway seltzer water) noises coming from Bob’s seat.

Coffee beans

Coffee was one of Bob’s all-time favorite consumables.  He was a frequent visitor at the Midtown Coffee Shop, but more often would grind his own beans and use his espresso maker, regular coffee maker, or new dual-cup coffee maker.  The sound of grinding coffee beans is a distinct memory of living at 817 Sycamore with Dad.

Little dog sculpture

This little sculpture represents a collection of larger metal sculptures. On a trip to Guatemala, he purchased small sculptures of Don Quixote and Sancho.  He wanted larger versions, but the market did not have both sculptures in the large size. So he asked his sister-in-law, Susan, to arrange for a set of the larger sculptures, which he picked up on a later trip to Central America.  He was particularly fond of his Don Quixote and Sancho sculptures, and would point them out to anyone who visited.


Dad had a near obsession with clocks.  The one in the photo is an atomic clock, synced with the US Atomic clock to set itself daily.  He also had a clock that would project the time onto the wall, and also provided a weather forecast.  His love for clocks was part of his larger interest in gadgets, from the sophisticated (calculators, video recorders) to the kitschy (the singing bass and croaking frog).

Kenya album

Representing Dad’s love of traveling, photography, native peoples worldwide and of the animal kingdom.  This album contains some spectacular shots of elephants and lions, and photos of Dad visiting the Masai.

Ammonite fossil

Ammonites were plentiful in oceans for 400 million years.  Bob was fascinated by the age, diversity, and beauty of these specimens.  He brought home a small collection from a trip to Canada for the Brown family reunion, and then after returning home, he called and ordered more.  He was intrigued by the fact that when he offered his sons one of the ammonites, each of us had a different first choice.


Dad loved traveling, meeting people in other countries, and bringing home artifacts.  In addition to Honduras, which he visited frequently, he has been to the following places: Alaska, Argentina, Austria, the Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Scotland, Switzerland, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, the Virgin Islands, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  We had family trips to Costa Rica and Zambia to see the total solar eclipses.

Star Trek DVD

Bob loved Star Trek and he also had a vast DVD collection, which of course, included all of the Star Trek movies.  He loved the attitude of Capt. Kirk, his cocky brashness exemplified in one of Kirk’s comments when being told about an “energy barrier” at the edge of the galaxy: “Yes, I know, we’ve been there.”  Bob’s DVD collection became a lending library for his many nephews and nieces and some neighbors.

Family photo

Family was more important than anything to Bob.  His love for his family knew no bounds.  Certainly geography was not a problem for Bob, having made several trips to Central America to visit his brothers.  He was very happy to have become a grandfather. This past Father’s Day, my dad was asked to give a short talk at Sunday mass.  Here are some things he said that day:  “To be a dad means to always be there for your kids and setting a good example at all times and providing for them as best we can.”  “Our time, and our love, and example are the best gifts we can give our kids.”  “One of the nicest Father’s Day gifts I’ve ever received was maybe 10 years ago, when one of the boys took an old photograph of the five of us when they were little kids–we were cleaning our freshly caught bass at the cabin.  On the card, he wrote ‘Thanks for all the good times!’  That’s how I want to be remembered by my kids–all the good times we’ve had together.”

Digital camera

Bob loved taking pictures and loved the ease of digital photography.  He used many other types of cameras as well, starting with a super 8 movie camera to film those early ‘70s Christmases, to a 35mm still camera, VHS videocamera, 8mm video camera, and APS still camera.  He loved receiving digital photos of his grandchildren and nephews and nieces, and printing them out on a photo printer to share at work.


Pictured is a Ray Charles CD.  Dad loved Ray Charles, and must have had every single LP or CD the man recorded—and that’s a lot.  He also enjoyed Patsy Cline, and the Beatles.  In his 30s he enjoyed country stars such as Tammy Wynette and Tom T. Hall.


Not shown in the photo, Bob had a large collection of power and hand tools, and frequently loaned them to neighbors and relatives.  He also kept an exceedingly organized collection of nuts, bolts and screws.  He was kidded about keeping every little thing, but more than once, the kidders came back looking for a bolt of just the right size, invariably finding it in Bob’s collection.


Dad had a parrot he loved, named Jerry. He also raised other parrots and bred eclectus.  Dad’s birds ranged from friendly to mean to neurotic and he lovingly cared for all of them.  Some of the birds would get jealous of the others—one in particular would nip at Dad if he reached for the other.  Dad also kept bees for some time.  He devised a honey extraction contraption and sold jars of honey.

This is of course, by no means a complete list of everything that made up the joys in Bob’s life.  One more thing that comes to mind is the satisfaction he got from work—his colleagues and his clients were among his many friends.  If you would like to share something about Bob’s life on this page, please leave a comment.