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July 11, 2016

“Bob” Waltz, RIP

Guest Columnist

Tim Wesolek


Our Friday lunch group, meeting at the Shamrock Restaurant, lost another member last week, when Norman E. “Bob” Waltz passed away. He was our third “loss” this year, following Maury Hassett and Mike Fitzgerald.


Most weeks, Bob, and his good friend, Dave Eigenbrode, would stroll in together to find their seats at the table and join in the conversation. Bob always had a smile on his face, even while he was battling pancreatic cancer and during his last visit to our group.


When I think of what Tom Brokaw wrote about in his book, The Greatest Generation, Bob immediately comes to mind. Upon graduating from high school, Bob went off to serve his country in the Pacific, and then returned to his hometown. He married his high school sweetheart, Betty, and used his GI bill to learn to be a plumber. After working for someone else, Bob and Betty opened their own plumbing and HVAC business, which is now in its 3rd generation with his family.


Three memories come to mind when I think about Bob and our Friday lunch conversations. The first was that Bob was always looking to have everyone included in the conversation. They say, “It takes a man to make a man,” and I think Bob knew that. Many times, as a very new participant, Bob would look at me and ask me what I thought about “X.” Even though I was the youngest at the table by about 25 years, Bob wanted to know what I thought and have me included. I was happy to just listen to the wit and wisdom of others, but Bob knew that decency and respect dictated that all be included in the conversation. He knew everyone had a contribution to make.


The second was that he was a man of integrity. Years ago, County Commissioner Sterling Bollinger (also a highly esteemed member of our lunch group and a real “character”) got Bob an appointment to the county plumbing board. When Sterling wanted Bob to help him out in a situation, Bob could not do it and until the day Sterling passed, he always reminded Bob of it. The rest of us just smiled.


Finally, our group of conservative-leaning men would become socialists when the lunch bill came around. We all paid the same amount. John Ashbury collects the money, and I remember many times, Bob would pass John a $100 bill, for a $15 lunch. He said it was his allowance from Betty for the week, and I think all who saw it were amused as John would mumble and grumble and tell Bob that Betty needs to give him smaller bills! We all are going to miss seeing those $100 bills at lunch.


Bob was a man who loved his wife, his family, his church and his community. He will be missed by all. Godspeed, Bob.


Rest In Peace.


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