Bob the Fieldman
It was January 1991 when I started at BCAI Centre and Bob was one of the fieldmen who ‘showed me the ropes’ around his client herds, searching for YS daughters, discussing bulls and breeding goals and updating the herd mating program.
It became apparent quickly that Bob was not just appreciated by his clients, he was respected and well-liked. Never one to grandstand, Bob earned his stripes simply by being knowledgeable, genuine, reliable and helpful. A 30-year-old rookie in customer service, I watched, listened and learned from the guy who made it look easy. Bob was so good, that he could occasionally guess the sire of a cow, just by recognizing a particular sire trait. Bob was so honest, that he admitted how many times he guessed wrong!
Bob the Leader
Bob never rushed in to be heard first at any meeting. He was a thoughtful and careful participant and it was stunning to hear a raucous meeting silenced when Bob would take the floor. Instant respect. His words were measured, his ideas logical and his direction was objective. Meticulous, thoughtful, and organized, Bob’s reputation for high standards and unfailing execution was justified. He wasn’t just an exemplary employee; he was a quietly outstanding role model. Field, sales and technician staff often spoke to Bob when they wanted some guidance – they knew he would advise them well and without judgement.
Fieldmen were most often working alone, or with our clients and their cows. When Bob was sidelined for a while with his cancer, I covered a group of his Chilliwack herds with the classifier. One older dairyman was visibly moved by Bob’s illness. Bob had a way of endearing himself to people – just by being the good guy that we ALL knew him to be, be they classifiers, Semex colleagues, international farm visitors or his local herd owners.
Sometimes, we got to work together – usually when preparing YS daughters for photographs. There was always some pressure to be sure we had the best cows, that we could work with the herd owner and work with the cows. The best part was spending the time together on these cows – we shared stories and challenges of our families, faith, hopes and disappointments. Bob always understood, never judged and always somehow, made things better.
Bob the Builder
Bob was my colleague for 19 years and my close friend for many more. He was a true gem - showing us quietly what a life of integrity really looked like. Bob was the same gentle, caring, solid and funny guy in his professional and personal life. He had one face, one spirit, one path.
Bob’s story won’t be recorded in the Holstein pedigrees of famous cow families…his legacy will be stamped on the hearts of every one of his family and the vast many people he befriended and encouraged. The cows and the bulls are all well and good, but it’s the people we share the bumpy road with that give our lives richness and meaning. He made me a better person through his friendship, mentoring, example and encouragement. At our last visit just 10 days before he passed, he told me that he’d be afraid of dying if this world was all there was. Bob was wise, faithful and prepared. We’re all going to miss you Bob… As brother-in-law Chuck said in his tribute (borrowed from Matthew), “Well done, good and faithful servant.”