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The power of the name

by on November 29, 2010

William Robert “Bob” Holcomb, my great-uncle whom I am named after, died this 29th day of November.
It’s not easy to write an epitaph; nor will laugh lines suffice.
When you know someone only when they are old, you envision them as old, and not young. Such is the case when we look at a relative much older than ourselves. But Bob Holcomb wasn’t always old. There was even a time when he wasn’t deaf (flying bombers in WWII without anything to deaden the sound or protect the ears didn’t help). Bob may have been one of the many unsung heroes across America; coming from the Greatest Generation, he believed in family, he believed in service, and he believed in justice and the law (he was a member of the California Bar Association for more than fifty years). He didn’t receive praise until far after his eighteen years of mayor of San Bernardino were over.
My memories of Bob may be similar to your memories of kindly family members from the Greatest Generation. Those memories often involved Thanksgiving or a holiday, and always involved family stories that changed through the years.  Like many of your relatives with the means to do so, Bob opened his home to many people in need of assistance over the years.  He supported countless individuals, gave them means, and gave them hope.  In return, and it was not demanded, those many people devoted themselves to him.  Such a character will be greatly missed.  I’ll miss you, Uncle Bob; the world will miss a character such as you.

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From → On the Dole

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