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I am devastated March 18, 2014

Posted by Jenny in Uncategorized.

I’m sorry to say that my companion of 15 years, Bob, has died suddenly from complications to do with cancer of the kidney. We parted five years ago but always deeply remained friends. He was a wonderful person with a unique sense of humor. We had many adventures together. I learned much from him about the geography of northern New England. I spoke with him last week, and he was talking about fishing the trout streams of the Smokies. I can’t even speak about it further. Something in me has died, too.



1. Ben - March 18, 2014

I’m so sorry Jenny

Jenny - March 18, 2014

Thank you, Ben.

2. Beth Holley - March 18, 2014

Oh Jenny, I’m so sorry. My heart aches for you.

3. Jim Plant - March 18, 2014

I recall a few of the memoir posts with Bob. He was a character and for you, a joy to have known. I’m sorry to hear this.

4. timeowt - March 18, 2014

How very sad, Jenny. I hope your good memories with Bob will eventually comfort you.

Jenny - March 18, 2014

Yes, thank you very much. I still can’t believe he’s gone, but meanwhile I remember in particular his interest in meteorology and geography. He came from a very unpretentious working class background and was always up against “the man” but taught me so much about the details of hiking, for instance what specific conditions a hiker could expect in a north-facing stream valley with snow in the spruce-fir zone but no snow where it had melted off, counter-intuitively, at the higher elevations. He was all about understanding the details of the terrain, for instance fishing in undercut banks on the cold streams of the Blandford plateau in western Mass. He had a joy for exploring and had a crazy detailed knowledge of elevations even out of the areas of his personal experience. For instance he would know the elevations of state high points but would readily laugh about his fear of tackling, say, Granite Peak in Montana. He had the most amazing ability to get everyone in a group laughing about some obstacle of scrambling or uncomfortable rockhopping. We did great backpacks in the High Sierra and then descended (in more than one sense of the word) to the casinos of Vegas and had a ton of fun. He was a true blue Boston sports fan who grew up with Bobby Orr of the Bruins but also the perpetual hopeless Sox. I’m so glad I experienced the World Series victory with him, and the best years of the Pats. He had a down-to-earth funny manner that could disarm absolutely everybody. He got away with making outrageous statements because he was so good-humored. He had an incredible general knowledge, much better than mine, for someone who never graduated from college. He was always a great lover of wildlife and never got tired of seeing bears, antelopes, elk, or whatever was relevant to the geographic area. I cling hopelessly to the knowledge he gave me and believe that he lives on through the knowledge, humor, and great funny attitude he bestowed on everything.

5. Jeff G. - March 18, 2014

Very sorry, Jenny.

6. Amanda Beal - March 18, 2014

I’m so sorry, Jenny.

7. Kent Hackendy - March 18, 2014

My deepest condolences, Jenny.

8. TT Thomas - March 19, 2014

I am very, very sorry about this, Jenny. You don’t even know I exist but I follow all your Boer War posts, and although I am reluctant to walk to the store, I’ve hiked all these far more challenging terrains “with” you too, well, metaphorically speaking, trying to understand the appeal of brambles and dry creeks, and I guess, in a silent way, to thank you for all the Boer posts. And so, just wanted to say, we’re “with” you in spirit on this journey, too.

Jenny - March 19, 2014

Thank you. I especially appreciate those nonhiker followers. Bob would have laughed especially about that—he was totally perceptive about people who didn’t do the hardcore stuff (I made him go over Little Duck Hawk!!!) but he was fundamentally kind to others.

9. Kerry - March 19, 2014

What a beautiful tribute, Jenny. He had a sharp mind, a keen wit and a kind spirit. I remember hitting the wall on a Catskill hike and – to my embarrassment – bursting into tears. John tried to psych me out of it, but Bob very calmly reached into his pack, pulled out a package of peanut m&ms and said “you just need these. “

Jenny - March 19, 2014

That’s such a typical Bob moment! Thank you very much, Kerry.

10. Al - March 19, 2014

We are so sorry for your loss Jenny.

11. MIKE DESIMONE - March 19, 2014

In my opinion Bob was one of the all-time best hikers in the Northeast. He had a combination of sky-high enthusiasm and tremendous physical strength. He could grind out the tough boring miles all day long. His appreciation for the natural environment was unmatched. I learned so much on the many miles we walked together. His list of accomplishments speak for itself.

Jenny - March 19, 2014

Thank you so much, Mike. One of the things that’s so hard to understand is that he had such a sturdy constitution, and yet this evil disease took him down. I must remember the positive things about his life. Otherwise I will fall into despair.

12. T E Stazyk - March 19, 2014

So sorry–condolences.

13. John Crisley - March 19, 2014

Bob and I were friends beginning in 1980. We worked menial kitchen jobs at the Glover Memorial Hospital in Needham, MA. In my first days of meeting Bob I discovered we shared a love of fishing guide books. Soon after we planned our first joint fishing trip to Baddacook Pond in Groton, MA. Bob showed up before dawn in his 1973 Ford van with a very heavy aluminum row boat tied to the roof. 5 hours later, having caught nothing, Bob declared “This pond is a Fishless Hell”. Thus was coined a BOB-ism… any body of water we did not succeed on was soundly proclaimed as a “Fishless Hell” absolving us of any angling responsibility. There were many days of fishing, hiking and cycling that I now happily recall. The one character trait I always loved about Bob was the gusto that he brought to each day in the outdoors, It had an infectious good impact on me and I will always admire Bob for this trait.

If any of you are ever out fishing, and catch absolutely NOTHING, please proclaim it a “Fishless Hell”. Miss you like hell already, Bob!!!

Jenny - March 19, 2014

This is absolutely great, John. So typical of Bob! I miss him so much!

14. Jon Henderson - March 19, 2014

So sorry to hear of his passing, Jenny.

15. Brian Reed - March 19, 2014

So sorry Jenny! Just the snippets I read about Bob from your blog gave me a taste of his exuberant character. I remember your stories about how he made people laugh in the most tense situations. That is a special kind of person.

Jenny - March 19, 2014

Thank you, Brian. Bob was very lovable. I still can’t believe he is gone. This will take a while.

16. Scott Sprinzen - March 20, 2014

Jenny – So sorry about your news. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Scott S.

Jenny - March 20, 2014

Thank you, Scott. The support and understanding of others is very helpful to me.

17. Jim Cornelius - March 20, 2014

Very sorry for your loss. Sounds like he “filled the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds of distance run.”

Jenny - March 20, 2014

That’s a great way to describe it..though Bob was so amazing he might have talked his way out of having to do the run at all!

18. Steve K. - March 20, 2014

Condolences to you Jenny.

19. Gary Howell - March 24, 2014

quite a shock .. I remember he knew the highest point in MIssissippi ..

Jenny - March 24, 2014

Yup, and Mississippi isn’t exactly known for its mountains!

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