Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Memory of Bob Wilson, 1952 - 2011

On Saturday, Feb 5, 2011, Bob was riding his motorcycle on a group ride in Arizona. Although not riding fast, something happened. Bob low-sided the motorcycle and slid into a guard rail. He died instantly.

Bob has been a good friend for more than 30 years. It is taking me a while to get used to the idea that he is gone.

The last time I talked to Bob, he called to tell me about an wonderful ride he had on his motorcycle. Winter is peak riding season in Arizona and Bob was enjoying the good weather and good riding. Of course, he is gone much too soon, but I have to believe that Bob died doing something he loved. I'm pretty sure that Bob would have said that, if he had to go, this was a pretty good way.

Bob's Moto Guzzi Breva 750

Bob was people person. The chain of friends across the country and around the world is testament to that. Smart, curious about the world, open to learning about other cultures and other people's life experience.

The last 10 years haven't been kind to Bob financially, but if you ask him about it, he would tell you that he wouldn't change it. Living on less taught him how to simplify his life and to value his friends. From a Chinese student friend who was working her way through college in the US to dinners with Dale and Sandy and all of their stories. From his neighbor, the woman Buddist monk to his friend, the New Mexico golf pro and teacher, the people he met and became friends with changed Bob's experience and made him a different person. He would tell me that, if he had stayed at VW, his life would probably have been easier, but he wouldn't know who that guy was, and he wouldn't have missed the experiences for anything.

A small story with pictures to remember Bob by.

When we worked together at VW, Bob was our boss, but he also took a one year assignment in Germany. On the day before he returned from a year away, we decided to pretend that we had been using his office as a parts storage room.

"Hey, why is my office door closed? Why is everyone hanging around the office watching me?"

"What are you guys up to?"

"What the heck?"

I will miss him.


  1. Bob was one of the smartest and most unique people I worked with during my career at VW.

    During the years he and I worked together I learned a lot from him even as we argued intensely about politics, religion, and motorcycles. I think the only thing we agreed upon was that motorcycles and fine handling cars are wonderful things.

    By appearances Bob seemed somewhat ordinary but he was anything but that. I'm pretty sure we could fill up a whole bunch of blog entries just with Bob stories. He is gone much too soon from this life.

  2. Thanks, Jac. We miss him too.

  3. I feel less for not having known Bob. A very nice tribute, Jac, to a man who seemed to make this world a better one.

    - Joe at Scootin' da Valley

  4. I know I am very late on this but I just found out about Bob's passing. He definitely was a great guy we always looked forward to seeing him at our shop. He was always very friendly, positive, and always had a smile on his face.

  5. Thanks Jim,

    I know that Bob had great respect for you and your company. I'm sure he would be happy to know that you remember him.