Bob was many things to many people. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a husband, a friend, but to all that truly knew him…he was a scrapper. In fact that was what helped me gain my strength to come up here. I pumped myself up by thinking of the names he would call me if I broke down. The thing is, if Bob didn’t give you a hard time, he didn’t really like you. You see…Bob hugged you with a head lock. That was just his way.
I have known Bob for over 17 years. Everyone has had those friendships that move and sometimes fade away, but Bob was the friend that I have known the longest and still stayed close with. Not that gave me a choice, mind you.
There were three stages of my life with Bob.
The first stage starts when I met Bob through band in Junior High. Bob, I hate you for making me publicly admit that I was a band geek. He was the scrawny kid in the hall that thought he was eight feet tall and 400 lbs. Any of you that saw him play deck hockey later on in life knows what I am talking about.
We used to talk for hours on the phone. Sometimes too long, but that was because he was so bright. He knew so much about so many things. He was incredibly opinionated too, and if you didn’t agree with him, he had no problem telling you how wrong you were, especially in politics.
As we got into high school, our friends grew into a large and eclectic group. We were inseparable. In fact, we all built relationships so strong that the only things that may have changed since then are our hair lines. When Bob got his license it was dangerous because it meant that we were more mobile. He would always pick me up in his Ford Taurus Station Wagon or his father’s monstrous truck and take us to under 21 dance clubs so we could not talk to girls. Not to mention those late nights at Kings on 286 after football games.
Stage two: He went to Edinburro. He met a girl. Ryan and I spoke of this earlier. He met a girl and formed such a strong bond with that we could all learn from it. That girl was Deanna, and our group grew by one. They loved each other so much. And it is a good thing, with a stubborn guy like Bob, love like that comes only once in a lifetime.
This was our Renaissance time. When we could, we were together 5 nights a week. We would go to the drive-in, and fight over who got to sit in Ryan’s convertible before we left. We would go to dance clubs and bars downtown to the wee hours of the morning. They would visit me downtown at Pitt. But the big thing that happened during this time was the beginning of our club house, or what I like to call Zollner Prime. And it was a nice clubhouse with a pool, a hot tub, and a bar always stocked with Yuengling. And Bob was the house bartender. Whenever we were together he liked making us drinks…stiff drinks.
We would also go up to the condo at Seven Springs. This was our home away from home. No parents, just us playing grown up. Bob’s duty here was always the fire. In fact, it would always happen that Bob and Brad were the last to go to bed, talking by the fireplace or on the porch, unless of course Deanna cracked the whip and made him go to sleep. Some of my fondest memories were when we would all lay on the roof there drinking wine, watching the shooting stars, and talking about the successful businesses we would someday make together.
Stage three began: They became what I call “The Marrieds”. They all
got hitched, I didn’t. If you have ever
seen the TV Show What About
He may have been born in
Bob, you were more of a friend than anyone could ever ask for. You were someone we could always count on with whatever we needed. You touched so many lives. To Jeff you were the guy he could always rough house with, to Dom, you were the big brother he never had. To Maura, you were her other brother. To Jay, you were his Silent Bob, well maybe not that silent. To me you were not only a best friend, but family as well. We will always love you dearly and our lives are that much less without you in it. You will never be forgotten. You will always be missed. I will see you again someday, and when I do…Try not to hit me.
Farewell, Bob. And God willing, we will see you in Heaven