I have never done this before but today I feel the need to blog about a very special person. I found out this morning that he passed away two days ago.
It all started for me in 2004 when I joined a forum on the Internet called Playa.Info. I was going to Playa del Carmen in Mexico for a vacation and wanted to have some more info so I joined. In May 2005 I went back and that time we had one of the first big Playa.Info meetings where I met over 100 members of that forum. Bumper (Bob) and his wife Jackie were two of those persons. The evening was a great success although it was not possible to talk to everyone. But reading on the board all the time there were names you knew after a while and Bumper was one of the most prominent ones.
Days later we had the Beach Olimpics organized by Bob and Jackie. They were part of Team Canada since they were from Winnipeg. There were medals that they had brought and the games were really a lot of fun (and yes, there was alcohol involved 😉 ). It was a really great time. So much fun…. and they didn’t organize it only that year but it was the only year I was there to participate. Outside of that there usually were meetings in the evenings where we would all gather.
On the forum Bob would entertain us with trip reports. He had a very special humour that would crack you up when he was telling you about what they had experienced and gone through. He was a diver as well although he didn’t dive that much.
In the summer of 2005 I flew to Texas for a ‚Toobin regatta‘. Bob was a collector of pins from Hard Rock Cafes. So we went to the HRC in Dallas and told them that if later that day someone looking like Santa would come in to tell him ‚Hello‘ from us. That was exactly what they did. 😀 We all went river tubing in San Marcos together – a group of more than 30 persons from all over the US, Canada – and me. It was quality time spent with Bob and a lot of others and we had so much fun. To events like this he would bring special bumper shotglasses (with bumpers engraved) and special bumper pins.
The next time I saw Bob and Jackie was three years later I think. We had a meeting in North Carolina in 2008. I flew in to Charlotte and met Bob and Jackie there at a motel. That day was Bob’s 60th birthday. We went out to a wonderful steak-dinner in Charlotte and the next day we drove the 3 hours to Flatrock to meet another group of over 30 people from the US and Canada to spend some time together. And we celebrated Bob’s birthday some more with everyone else. It was a great few days. While in North Carolina Bob’s health was not really the best anymore. After that he didn’t go on a lot more trips as his health no longer allowed it. He still loved his Hard Rock Cafe-pins though. So whereever I went I checked if there was a HRC and ask him if he needed any pins. Every now and then I would get a package from Canada when he found pins that somehow were related to diving or it was one his bumper pins that he had custom made.
The Playa.Info board somehow split in 2008 and was no longer the same so we all moved to Facebook. Nowadays the forum no longer exists. It was great while it lasted and Bumper was one of the persons who kept it alive and fun. He would even entertain us with stories about the times he was at the hospital. There was always something funny for him to report. That was just who he was.
I was not in a lot of contact with Bob over the past few years but we did keep in touch. I knew that he was not healthy. I had plans to go to Winnipeg at some point to meet with him and Jackie but somehow that never worked out.
The news that he passed away caught me out of the blue. He was one of the finest, modest, most generous and nicest persons I ever had the honor to meet. He will be greatly missed. Not only by me but probably by everyone else who ever had the pleasure of meeting him…. RIP Bob.
Say hello to Kathy, Tyra and Terry from me and drink one with them to all the good times we all had together…