Remembering Bob

As I have been reading over these postings, I cannot help but smile to think of how much Bob, a technophile if there ever was one, would have loved this website.  That it was about him would not have been the draw.  Rather he would have been so amused to see us use this technology to share with each other our memories and to find a measure of solace as a virtual community.

We knew Bob through his many roles, most importantly as a loving husband, father, and especially doting grandfather, and as a gifted scholar, teacher, and leader.  However, when I think of him, what first comes to my mind is Bob as mentor extraordinaire.   He so often said that he sought the best for every member of our department.  Others on this page of memories and celebrations of his life have described how that led to a roster of departmental and personal accomplishments.  Those happened because Bob guided us to them.  He counseled us and advised us, but always as part of a larger conversation.  Ours would take place in our offices, he with his list in hand, I with mine, as together we thought through issues small and large.

As far as I could tell, Bob never made decisions single-handedly.  He would roam the department, stopping wherever there was an open door, making each of us feel deeply valued for our ideas and insights.  In truth, we esteemed his ideas, his insights, and prized his wisdom, his counsel.  Thousands of email exchanges, and I am not exaggerating, prove how much I relied upon him, as did so many others.  Not surprisingly, we understood the end was in sight when the message came that he was no longer responding to email.

Bob had, as he put it, in his last days “a good run,” a full life, albeit one cut too short.  I know that his memory will be with me forever as a blessing.

Pamela Nadell
Professor of History
Director, Jewish Studies
American University


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