A life well lived – Bob!

Sunday evening we discovered that earlier in the week Bob Simper had gone on to his heavenly reward at the age of 93. I remember calling him on his 85th birthday from Toronto and hearing that same energy and love that permeated all his conversations. Bob had this gift, it isn’t common but it was his, that every time you talked to him you felt like you were his best friend and he had all the time in the world for you. That’s just how he was.

Bob and Cath with her framed pictures on the wall

Boundless in energy and enthusiastic in life he was a delight to be around. And the fact that he simply couldn’t help himself when it came to helping others was, well a blessing to us all.

When we visited Alberta and in Calgary and at Glenmore Temple – he knew we were coming – he arrived in hand with a framed picture for me. I had dug out three copies from an old cupboard of a black and white print of the International Staff Band at Banff. It is a very formal picture but historic in many ways. I had asked him to frame it before we left Calgary in 2007 and I think it got misfiled in the moves that Bob and Cath made. He had done a bang-up job. I put it in my office in Toronto for many years. Now it’s in our home.

Unfortunately, we were unable to make it to Calgary for Bob’s celebration of life on Monday, but we did watch the live stream of it, and how blessed we were!

Leading a congregation is personally challenging. It isn’t just about dealing with the people and the building, about balancing the books or charting the direction for a group of individuals who may not agree with each other about where that direction should go. It is the fact that your whole family is in it and family life revolves around it. It’s about discovering that your office and home are invariably tied together. It’s about knowing that what people say is not what they do. It’s about accepting that your people will do what you don’t expect and not do what you do expect.

And yet it is so rewarding, so fulfilling.

But lonely it can be but for me, Bob was one of those people who brought joy and perspective to our connection with Glenmore. He was ever encouraging, fun, ever uplifting! Whether we were on the golf course together or he was driving me to some place he wanted me to see it was all joy. I found in him solace. I could be who I was. I could relax and enjoy being together.

As I said he made everyone feel like he was their friend. I felt he was my friend.

Bob and Cath were so welcoming. Our first meal in Calgary when we arrived in July 2000 was in their home and I was so glad to discover they were neighbours. I was equally disappointed when they moved to Okotoks. I understood why they moved but boy I missed them. You see I would drive by the house around the corner just to see if Bob’s car was there or if he was in the garage. I just liked talking to him. I didn’t do that to many people.

Bob was the leader – and we knew it

After Bob and Cath got settled in Okotoks they invited a load of people – how many I’m not sure – but we filled the house and then out came the banjo and we sang and sang and sang. It was fun it was noisy. It was wonderful.

The picture below is from a wedding reception where we shared a table with Bob and Cath. Do you know how it feels when you see who is at your table and you think “this is going to be great!”.

During the celebration of life for Bob I was reminded that everyone’s recollection of being with Bob was exactly that. Being with Bob was just a great experience.

I don’t know if Bob worried much. I suppose he did from time to time. He just always seemed happy. I haven’t said anything about his faith, but this is where personality and life intersected. Bob believed that Jesus was on the road of life with him. He believed that the Lord would work everything out and that he could trust Jesus. And in the end, isn’t that how we should all be?

I’m sorry Bob is gone but that’s a rather selfish thought. I’m glad he is now with the Lord and I really do believe that one day I will see him again.

In the meantime we pray for Cath, Cathy, and family. God bless them.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Margaret Waters says:

    yes they both made me feel so welcome whenever I visited and a few times at their house as well, loved it when he got everyone singing on a Sunday night too that was great

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