Uncle Bob 1935 - 2009
He was the first uncle on my father's side that I got to know. As a very young child I knew him as the uncle who smoked cigars, always carried a beer in his hand and like to laugh. He was always laughing. And when Dad and Uncle Bob went places we kids we're almost always included. Dad and Uncle Bob always went to much more interesting places than Dad went with Mom; we went to junkyards, auction sales, and other such places. My brother says that Uncle Bob was Dad's big brother and best friend and that's the truth.
He lived just down the road from us, about four doors down, so he also a neighbor when I was younger. As a teenager my father was frequently on the road because of his job. When I needed assistance that Dad would normally give I could almost always turn to Uncle Bob for that assistance.
He was a through and through redneck, (and keep in mind that I do not consider that an insult). I couldn't picture him in a 3-pc suit or eating lobster. He had a bumper sticker that said God Guns and Guts made America Free. Let's Keep All Three. He was a a shadetree mechanic like no other and was the "king of cobble" who could do more with Duct Tape, a can of WD40, and wooden mallet than most could do with a garage full of proper tools. (Needless to say his "hero" was Red Green. But unlike Red Green, Uncle Bob was practical and made it work.)
He was also a prankster and loved a practical joke. You had to be on guard at all times around him or something would happen and you'd hear his booming laughter. He was also a good sport on the recieving end too.
As he aged he drank and smoked less and less and, with his second wife, enjoyed life more or more, including frequent trips to Alaska and Canada. I accompanied him and Dad on a few trips to Canada and Northern Ontario is the only place to fish.
When Dad had his stroke Uncle Bob was devestated. Uncle Bob died suddenly and without warning of a heart attack. This is very hard on Dad.
Update 12/13 His eyes have already been transplanted into a woman, identity unknown. His bone marrow appears to be a match for someone needing it. (From my mother.) A large number of organs were removed and are being used by those in need. It is some comfort to know this.