“He was like a father to me.”  How many times have I heard that phrase repeated!  The phrase seems to sum it all up for Bob.  In so many ways he was a father to us all.  Need help?  Call Bob.  Need money?  Call Bob.  Need something fixed?  Call Bob.  Want to see a movie?  Call Bob.  In fact, whatever you need, call Bob.  He’ll be there for you.”

Bob’s Life as a Missionary

Everybody has some hidden ambition.  We want to do great and exciting things to change the world.  Or at least we have a desire to do something good for humanity.  My brother Bob was one of these visionaries and he made his dreams a reality.

During the past 25 years, Bob would come visit me on the north coast of Honduras.  His yearly visits were a highlight of his life.  It didn’t seem to matter that we had no electricity or no telephone.  In fact, we had no roads for the most part.  Bob would make himself at home among the Black Caribs as well as among the various Indian tribes of the river regions.  With his ready smile and friendly gestures, his lack of Spanish and local dialects didn’t slow him down one bit.

Bob would accompany me across the lagoons and up the jungle rivers.  He would push the canoe through the swamps and sink into the mud up to his waist.  He would walk the beaches for hours to accompany me to the next village.  In whatever area I was working, Bob would be there as my mission procurator and bosom companion.

Bob’s biggest project was outfitting a carpenter shop for the Garifuna youth of Sangrelaya.  He canvassed his hometown of Palo Alto asking for donated tools.  He would visit the garage sales to pick up any usable items.  He got the parishioners involved donating saws, hammers, and whatnot.  Finally, he got the fruit company to ship the crates to Honduras, where I picked them up at the docks.

Most people would prefer to spend their vacations in a five-star hotel with all the possible luxuries.  But not Bob!  He was a real sport!  His pleasure was to hand out candy and see the kids’ faces light up.  He would say a few words at evening Mass and those words were faithfully translated.  Then he would take a lot of photos and send them back to anxious hands.

Bob’s dreams were realized among the less fortunate of this world.  He didn’t mind the mosquitoes and the humidity.  He kind of enjoyed the primitive conditions of the third world.  He was a great companion whom I will miss very much.

Lisa and Rick Arcuri and Frank Sartoris

We are so sorry to hear about Bob’s death.  We will miss his kind heart, warm smile, and laughter.  He was a great friend to our dad for so many years.

When we were growing up, all six of us kids looked forward to the birthday cards from Bob Donald.  For most of use, it wasn’t until many years later that we came to know Bob as the good-hearted friend our dad had known since 1969.  As my dad tells the story, he knew when they met that Bob was one of the good guys–they hit it off right away.  I don’t know if my dad knew they would still be friends 35 years later.  My dad always had great things to say about him.

As each of us graduated from college, our dad told us to be sure to thank Bob.  For it was Bob who found a way for my dad to put six kids through college on his meager salary.  We are all thankful to Bob that we were able to fulfill our dreams.

In 1996, I opened my first investment account through Bob.  I didn’t have much money, nor did I have any concept of money-management.  Over the next few years, I intently listened as Bob taught me the basics of person finance.  He had a way of making it sound so simple.  I am grateful for his advice, as I quickly learned how to save money and plan for the future.

In those meetings, I also learned life lessons.  I learned how to be a better person and to enjoy life.  I admired Bob’s love of life and his ability to make the best of any situation. I listened eagerly as he shared stories of his family and his many travels. And later when Bob grew ill, we witnessed the depth of his optimism.  He was such an inspiration. His death came as a shock to all of us, as we had come to believe he was invincible.  We felt he just might be around forever.

If Bob were here today, I would thank him for being such a good friend to my dad.  I would thank him for his sound advice.  And I would thank him to the valuable life lessons, for being one for the good guys, and for always making everyone feel special.  He made it seem as though he always had time to spare.  He made the world a better place.  I will miss him.

Eric Barrett

Bob loved to eat and being a big fat guy myself we would have some fabulous meals together while working at New York Life.  Bob was like a father to me and I often talked with Bob over our lunches about business and personal matters.  I could always count on his sage advice and words of wisdom.  No matter how busy he was at work, he always had time to answer a question or loan me a brochure or application.  I am his next door neighbor at New York Life and every day I go to work my heart breaks a little more knowing that my friend and lunch buddy is not going to greet me with the usual smile and big hand shake.  I will always love you Bob.

Rennie and Guy

We were so saddened to hear about Bob’s passing.  I bought my first life insurance policy from bob when I was only 21, and I’m now 54.  He was more than my agent.  I counted him as a friend!  He never forgot a birthday (mine or my daughters’) and he tanked me for my Christmas cards each year.  Each time we talked, he always asked about my grandson and kept saying how he wished he had grandchildren.  Then my Christmas card from him last year said it all.  He was so happy.  Bob loved his family, of that I am certain.  It took me a while to get over the shock when I got New York Life’s letter telling me.  I still cannot truly believe it’s real.  Bob will always be thought of and cared about.  Bob had said that next time he came to Colorado he was going to stop and see us.  I guess we’ll see each other in heaven.  It’s nicer anyway.  Our prayers are with you all.

James’ Rosary Program Memorial

Dad, always there when you need him, always having the right answers, always knowing how to fix anything.  It is one of the things, among many, he enjoyed most in life. Doing for others. But along the way, he would teach us. He taught us so much about life, about how to do things for ourselves, about respect, pride and honor, about how to treat others, often through example. He has much more to teach us, and in time, we will continue to learn from him. We are the privileged ones, we have the best dad anyone could ever hope for. We will miss him.

John’s Welcome Statement for Bob’s Funeral Mass

Welcome. I know Bob would be very happy to see you all here today.

What can we say about Bob?  We know he loved to travel–Europe, Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Central America.  He lived his life with no regrets; never said “I should have.”  He loved children–his own, his nieces and nephews, and the countless children he met around the world whose faces he brought smiles to.

Bob taught us how to live, and we would all do well to follow his example.  He is part of us now.  And I can see him in us.

James – I see Dad in your optimism, and your handiness around the house

John – You carry his generous spirit forward

Robert – Your gentle nature, and being a great dad

David – The Responsible, hardworking one

Dad taught me not to work harder than you really have to, and to take time to enjoy life;

and my own son Henry seems to have inherited the title of happiest guy in the world.

After the mass there will be a short graveside service and then a reception at my parents house.  Thank you for coming this morning.

Eulogy for Bob, October 23, 2004 by Betto Arcos

Dear Cherie, David, John, Robert and James; Dear Donald Family. Dear friends:

I am here today with my wife Josephine and my 5-year-old son Agustin. I would like to tell you a story about Bob and how he helped transform a life.

I was 12 years old when I met Bob and David in 1974 in my hometown of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. I was an altar boy in the church where Father Juan Donald served for many years. Bob and David had come to visit Father Juan during the week of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. Bob noticed my curiosity and interest in meeting the newly arrived foreigners and he asked Father Juan if I could show them around town, since he was busy with the festivities. Next thing I knew I was Bob and David’s tour guide, and quite happy to be, though I spoke no English, and Bob spoke no Spanish. But somehow, we managed to communicate with sign language and with a pocket dictionary Bob carried wherever we went. So I took them around Xalapa, and a few other small towns nearby. But the fun came to an end when Bob and David had to return to the United States.

I will never forget the moment when Bob and David were saying goodbye. Father Juan translated to me that Bob said that he would like me to someday visit him and his family in Palo Alto. Looking back at how I felt then, I thought it was nice of him to say, but only in my dreams. I simply never thought it was possible to come to this country.

I grew up in a modest, working class family and such a possibility never entered my mind. But then again, it was Bob who wanted this to happen. So after 3 years of attempting to get a visa at the US Embassy in Mexico, and being denied, and after receiving dozens of hopeful letters from Bob- written in New York Life stationary, which I thought was so cool- translated sometimes by Father Juan, or Father Richard Schneck, or Father Roberto Grimaldi, or Father Thomas Conn, the dream came true. Bob sent money with Father Juan, along with a Star Wars t-shirt and instructions to meet Bob and his family in the wonderfully crazy city of Tijuana. So 15 year-old Betto took a 3 Star bus from Mexico City, and met the Donalds, Bob, Cherie, David, John, Robert and James, in the streets of Tijuana, after John spotted me walking alone, and wearing the blue Star Wars t-shirt.

Bob and Cherie offered me their home, new clothes, an education, and most importantly their love. At their home, I learned about the meaning of rituals and celebrations, about birthdays. Because of them, I learned to appreciate my family, my hometown, my country. Bob also taught me the importance and the value of working and earning a living.

I have told this story to everyone who asks me how I arrived in this country. I know I have been blessed with many things in life. But the most meaningful blessing was having met Bob in Xalapa, and for this I thank you God.

Gary Magginetti 

I am very sad to hear of Bob’s death. I knew Bob as my NYLife agent… but moreover as a very kind and helpful person. He never seemed to be interested in “selling” insurance, but more as interested in helping to meet a need. I will miss him very much.

Don Stone 

I was very saddened to hear of Bob’s passing. He was a friend and great neighbor for over 10 years. He was always ready to lend a hand, usually without being asked. Recently, even though I had moved away 15 years ago, Bob was there to answer questions for me and offer advice. He will be missed.

Homily at funeral mass by Fr. Jack Donald, S.J.

Today we celebrate this funeral Mass, not to pray for the repose of Bob’s soul, but in Faith, to give thanks to the Lord for Bob’s wonderful life during the years that he spent with us.  His was a life of Faith in Jesus Christ, a life of Love for all who believe in his world, and a life of Hope toward Life which Bob now enjoys.

Bob was a great guy!  He was the mayor of Sycamore Drive.   He was a great father and a loving husband.  He was a good brother and a wonderful son.  He was a considerate neighbor and a friend to the poor.  He worked hard at his job and had a million projects going on at home.  Above all, he was a man of Faith and never missed Mass on Sunday.  We will miss him very much.

When finally last Wednesday I received word of his passing, many memories of Bob came to mind.  I remembered the trips we took walking through the High Sierras.  Once he was suffering from asthma so bad that we almost had to turn back, but after a short prayer the asthma disappeared.  Then the day I turned 21 years old, Bob took me to the Reno Bar in East Palo Alto for a drink on the house.  Bob was only 18 but looked older than me.  Then there was the time he went shopping at Safeway on Middlefield and, because he was not wearing suspenders, his pants fell down to the floor.  Everyone was quite courteous and looked the other way while he rectified the situation.  Finally I remember his many visits to Honduras in support of my missionary endeavors.  He was the gratuitous mission procurator who kept me going.

My first impressions during those first few moments were nostalgic and tinged with sadness, but then I had another impression.  I saw in a moment an ecstatic Bob, freed from the debilitating limitations of the last year of his life, radiant with light, with a joyful smile on his face.  He was looking upward toward something beautiful and at the same time being transported toward something grand and wonderful.  At that moment it was for me like receiving a message from heaven.  Bob had no need for our prayers.   Rather we should give thanks to the Lord for the gift of his life and for the years that God allowed him to be among us.

The first reading from Sirach was chosen by Cherie to describe Bob’s vocation as a father to his boys.  He did a good job as a dad.  Cherie, David, John, Robert and James and their families will surely feel his absence more than any of us.  Our hearts reach out to them in their loss.  Mom, too, and his brothers and sister will miss him very much.  And if Scripture affirms Bob’s presence in his family, how much greater must be his presence in the risen Christ?  Death no longer consigns us to the grave.  Death no longer has the final word.

Bob’s life was lived in the presence of the Lord.  He was a true Christian.  The Church was his community of faith.  His hope was placed in the Kingdom of God, in this life and in the hereafter.  The Body of Christ which we receive at the Eucharist was a prelude to the Banquet which awaits us in heaven.  The Holy Scripture was his norm for orientating his earthly aspirations and system of values.  Bob lived his Faith 24 hours a day during all of his life.

Let us continue to thank God for the gift of Bob as we celebrate this Eucharistic Feast in his honor, knowing that Bob is now participating in the Messianic banquet, free from the limitations of our earthly pilgrimage.  Faith has given way to Love itself and Hope has discovered the Beatific Vision of God himself.  Bob can now look into Jesus’ eyes and see their color.  He can now converse with Mary and reminisce about her role as the Mother of God.  He can now strike up a conversation with any one of a million saints who given testimony of their commitment to Christ.  Now there are no mysteries.  Now there are no shadows.  Now there are no tears or sadness in this new life of Bob’s.  Truly, Bob’s visage is radiant with the joy that comes from finding one’s self at last in the presence of God himself, the reason for our existence.