Honoring “Bobio”; a man I didn’t know

Robert J. “Bobio” Brewer, 69, of Merriam, Kansas, passed away November 11, 2013, at his home.

I didn’t know Robert “Bobio” Brewer. Neither did the more than 30 other members of the Patriot Guard who escorted him on his final journey to the National Cemetery in Leavenworth on Tuesday morning, Nov. 19. There was no funeral service at the Amos Family Funeral Home in Shawnee.

Bobio had no family.

But Bobio, a Marine veteran, did have a family of fellow veterans and Amos officials had asked the Patriot Guard escort the hearse carrying his body to Leavenworth.

Bobio was born June 1, 1944, to the late Rose and Thomas Brewer in Vallejo, California.  Bob was a “self-taught” perfectionist.  If he needed something, he would make; if he couldn’t make it, he’d fix it; if he didn’t know how to fix it, he’d research it, and find out everything about how it used to be done…then he’d find a way to do it better, and if it couldn’t be fixed or improved, he’d make it work the way it was, or abandon it because it was probably unnecessary in the grand scheme of life.  He preferred functionality over aesthetics, but most of the time he just made things better.  The most frustrating thing, though, is Bobio did things in his time, on his schedule…probably the most passive aggressive personality on the planet.  He didn’t care what anyone thought, as long as he was pleased with the outcome.  Bobio was truly a craftsman, artisan and handyman.  He was constantly questing for knowledge and information.  His interests ranged from fly fishing to semi-conductors.

The sun shone in a bright blue sky that had few clouds. The air was crisp as just more than 20 motorcycles, with large American flags flying, each biker wearing their black leathers decorated with various bright-colored patches, led the procession west through the streets of Shawnee to Highway 7 and then north into Leavenworth and the National Cemetery near the Veterans Administration Hospital. Another 10 or so motorcycles with their small American flags trailed the hearse, and the procession was protected at intersections along the way by the Shawnee Police Department, the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Department, and the Lansing and Leavenworth police departments.

Along the way, most drivers, even on the other side of the four-lane highway, pulled to the side of the road and stopped. Many got out of their vehicles and stood as the procession passed: A fitting tribute to any veteran on their final journey.

Bob was resourceful and relentless in his pursuits – as long as it held his interest.  As student of life, he was always learning about the latest and greatest whatever, but never forgot the past.   He was a big fan of “open-source”.   He valued quality over quantity- the tools he used were solid and true, not the cheap crap.  He was always available to lend a hand.  Bobio was an astronomer, bicycle mechanic, upholstery and canvas expert, computer networking technician, linux help tech, electrician, plumber, carpenter, designer, sailor, fisherman, lawnmower repairman, pet adopter, acoustic and audio specialist, music lover, coffee drinker, exotic car aficionado, telescope builder, military veteran, smoker (but he wished he’d never started), hippy, smart ass, kind soul and friend.  Most of all, he was Bobio, and he will be missed.

At the cemetery, several of Bobio’s friends were joined by the Patriot Guard as well as some military personnel from Fort Leavenworth. There was a small service with the reading of his obituary notice. Taps were played and Bobio was honored with a 21-gun salute. One of Bobio’s close friends accepted the American flag that draped his coffin.

And then Bobio was laid to rest in the quiet, rolling hills of the cemetery lined with small white grave markers in perfect military rows.

I didn’t know Bobio, but I was honored to have been a part of the escort that took him to his final resting place.

Most of all, he was Bobio, and he will be missed.

Robert "Bobio" Brewer

Robert “Bobio” Brewer

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