A Tribute From Bob's Friend and Mentor, Ed Dobson
At each opportunity, David Brower was quick to remind that the safest place for a boat is tied to its moorings, in its harbor, but that is not what boats are for. That lesson is about risk. We have to risk something give up a margin of safety, to get anywhere. This is true for wilderness travel. It is true for political advocacy. It is true for establishing a relationship. It is true for buying and driving an old post office truck. Bob probably first learned this lesson enjoying a hike along some beautiful trail, an early experience of wildness. At some point it sank in, that we may grow up in our familiar harbors, but the wildness within us reassures us that it is our destiny to leave these cocoons and test our wings.
Bob found himself drawn to relationships in which he saw the wildness in others most vividly. These relationships brought him a way of life that challenged him to live in a way that constantly tested his ability to adapt to diversity. He never turned down the challenge. He became the personification of the ship leaving the safety of the harbor. From our unhappy vantage point, now seeing Bob's life as a complete journey, he is easier to understand. His last dozen years seemed to be a turn-around, but they can also be understood as his natural progression, with Shirley his soulmate.
We mourn our loss, especially because Bob left us too soon. He had reestablished a connection with Yosemite through a Sierra Club committee, and the next logical step would have been for Bob to take a place on a Sierra Club environmental justice committee, magnifying his own voice as he would help strengthen the voices of communities like his. Bob, we miss you so much, and there are things that will be hard to do without you, but we will never forget what we did with your help.