Guest Post from Chobee

September 13, 2013

(Chobee is a lifelong friend of Bob's who was in Africa at the time of Bob's passing.  He sent the following letter to be read at the Memorial Service.)

Today,  my friend, Bob is sitting at our Lord's feet soaking in the answers to all the questions his rich mind sought out his whole life.

As boys, Bob and Thom helped lead me to my salvation. How do you find the words to thank any person for that gift? But that was just the beginning, from 12 years on, Bob influenced my life as much as any man could. He did this by living his life as close to the example of our Savior as any man I have ever known or will know.

Bob Bugg walked through his Earthly life with a quiet wisdom and strength.  He has a humility that makes a person feel  Immediately at ease in his presence. He has the greatest gift for communicating of any person I have ever encountered. Striving to emulate his talents opened the doors for my own future.  Consequently, I followed Bob to college and then law school.

While I started climbing a shaky ladder to build a world focused upon what I could gain from lesser treasures, Bob was growing in his reputation as a lawyer while at the same time never placing his professional goals above things that were far more important and not locked away in banks.

Bob has that elusive and precious gift of living  a balanced life. Other than his love for God, nothing , simply nothing, is more important to Bob than his love for Patra, and for Jenny, Emily and Adam, and now their grand children and spouses.

Ever by his side, Patra has been an amazing wife. She possesses the most positive attitude wrapped in a cheerful spirit of any person you will ever meet.

Bob constantly told me how he could not have faced any of his long battle without her emotional and physical strength which he depended on every day. In these last few months you would notice that Bob instantly knew when she left his side as he turned and asked, "where is Patra?." She had only been gone a second. She is truly the Godly woman that inspires everyone around her.  Together, they raised remarkable children that carry the immense gifts of both parents. They too, stood by their Dad always laughing and supporting him.

When we walked through the years that passed so quickly, Bob was building a successful Life focused upon God and his family. His wealth was being stored in heaven as we were taught to do in the songs we sang together in our youth. Long before there were any WWJD bracelets  when I would face a temptation or crossroad in life, I would quietly ask myself, "what would Bob do?". I knew his choice would be the Godly one and I tried to follow that course as much as possible. But, as I said to Adam, he set the bar at a level that the rest of us could not quite reach.

I hold fast to the truth that Bob is alive this very second. That is why I do not speak in the past tense. We have lost his terrestrial presence but we have not lost his deeper eternal presence.

Each of that knows Bob takes with us a part of him as we  walk through the remaining days of our own lives on earth. For some, it will be his wisdom and wit, locked in a memory of his smile or in the warmth of his eyes. For others, it will be a memory of a kind service he performed or a kid he coached playing ball.  But  all of us share a common knowledge of what he held out with open arms and shared with all of is ...that unmeasurable  wealth  he gave from loving others more than himself. Look at any picture with his grandchildren and look at the sparkle in his eyes. The truth lies there. He gave that to all of us.

I can share this one example ...
God blessed me with allowing me to talk to Bob on a static filled call from Africa - he knew his earthly journey was ending- I wanted to talk to him about how he was doing and to express my love for him and he would have none of that. He told Pat not to call me in that my trip might be spoiled. But then in the brief moments of the phone call his heart was turned towards his friend and he said to me, "bag a big one, Chobee." Even in his last moments he put the other person first.

My favorite movie of all time is "It's a wonderful life".  All of you know the film about man who gave up the big dreams he had for himself as he gave his life to his family and friends . As I sit here 7000 miles away from this celebration of the life of my friend of 50 years I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, just as I have every time I see the ending of that wonderful old  film.  So as the film ends,  I close with the same words that were shared by Harry Bailey the war hero who had come home to honor his brother, George Bailey , when  he lifted his glass and made a toast :
From  so far away on a beautiful morning  on the other side of the world I want to make the same toast:
" To my dearest friend, Bob Bugg, the richest man I know."