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From Rita:

Bob has always been there. I worked with Bob at the College Theatre in Brookings, he was the one who tore the tickets (head usher) and I was the one who sold the popcorn and candy. Bob and I had to work the weekend of the SD High School State Wrestling Tournament to be held in Huron. Bob planned to go after work on Saturday with his best friend, Jeff and asked me to fill the car with my friends, so we could all go together. I sat between Jeff and Bob in the front seat and had a great time ignoring Jeff. By the end of the evening, I found him rather charming. For the next nine nights in a row, he came to pick Bob up after work (never done before) and they offered me a ride home. After that, he finally asked me out and you are reading the rest of the story.

We lived near each other in Brookings, where they both graduated from college and our first babies were born. They were living in Pierre when we moved there but had moved back to Brookings before we moved to AZ. Besides all the hunting trips and visits at their (Bob and Dee’s) home; we would meet them in Vegas each February. They would both come for a week long convention and we would be there for the final day, gambling, eating and laughing.

When Jeff was sick with cancer, Bob brought Jeff’s brother, Dexter to Kingman for a visit. It was the last time Jeff was able to be “out” for a day traveling through the mountains around Kingman. Jeff knew that Bob would be back in February as usual, I’m convinced that Jeff was able to hold on until he saw Bob one more time. He hadn’t spoken in several days and hadn’t acknowledged anyone for 24 hours, until when Bob came into the room; Jeff tried to sit up and said HI. He laid back down and never spoke again; he waited until after Bob said good-bye late that evening before he chose to go home (heaven).

Bob called me every month after Jeff died; slowing only after several years past.

It’s funny too, that the Clay that Jeff talks about in his letters, was a lot like Bob. Clay and Jeff were best friends all during the service. Clay flew in to see Jeff a month before he died and I couldn’t believe how much Clay looked like Bob; they even sounded alike.

Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday


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January 2009