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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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."