Sunday, February 13, 2005

Goodbye to a Friend

Bob Blesch was one of those guys I always considered a friend, even in the past few years where our interaction consisted of occasional holiday cards (he was a lot more dependable than me) and a few emails. He had moved to Phoenix, and only rarely came back to Kansas City. On Thursday, I found out he died.

He hadn't even told me that he had a rare form of blood cancer, diagnosed last year. Given the state of our correspondence, I'm not hugely surprised, and, knowing Bob, he figured he would have it beat, anyhow. No need to upset people.

Bob was the best "guy's guy" I've ever known. He was great at golf, fly fishing (his holiday card was always a new picture of him happily holding a huge trout in some western stream) - probably anything he set his mind to. He loved great books, and enjoyed discussing them in the book club Robin and I started. He had great musical taste - I wish now I had gone with him to catch Richard Thompson at the Grand Emporium. Virtually every female mutual friend carried a bit of a torch for Bob - I don't profess to be a good judge of this, but I'm told he was great-looking.

This might sound like odd praise, but the best round of golf I ever played was with Bob. We were at Blue River, back when it was a cow pasture enlivened by a few interesting holes, and Bob, as always, was beating me by at least a stroke a hole. But with Bob, it wasn't intense competition or anything like it - it was two guys out playing golf, each trying to find his "A" game. Bob was in his - I think it was one of his best rounds, too. And, in his calm, friendly presence, I found mine, too. Together, we hit long drives and drained our putts. I remember the 16th hole in particular - the hole went out into a narrow, lush valley, and the shadows from the tall trees stretched over the fairway. It was breath-taking, and we walked slowly and in silence, enjoying the moment.

Bob's dead now. I'll never again walk, or laugh, or talk with him. I'll miss him - he was a great guy, and I am richer for having had the opportunity to know him.

(In his obituary, I noticed it suggested that donations should go to the Whirling Disease Foundation. Never having heard of this disease, I checked out the website. It turns out that Whirling Disease affects trout - Bob's family is choosing to memorialize him by helping the trout he loved to chase. That's so right.)


Blogger dolphin said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.


2/13/2005 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were also friends of Bob and just had our Christmas card returned with the word "deceased" on the envelope. So - I googled and found your posting. We visited Bob in Phoenix in 2002, but hadn't heard much from him since except the annual fish picture. Any other info that you have would be appreciated - do you know his mother's address? thanks, Lisa and Rob (

1/03/2006 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/25/2008 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/26/2008 9:53 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

For those who may wonder about the deletions, someone who carries a grudge about something that (if true) was probably, in many ways, his own fault, has twice tried to attack a man 3 years in the grave.

I suppose I should mention that Bob was not the sort of person to anonymously attack a dead man. That's one of the reasons so many people loved him.

5/26/2008 10:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home