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By Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D.
December 10, 2005

When I received the call from Sue that my brother Bob had passed on, numerous fond memories of Bob raced through my mind. Of my three brothers, Bob was the closest in age to me, being eight years older. During most of my younger years, my brothers (Al and Meb) had left home for the military and subsequently marrying, leaving Bob and me at home. I am grateful to Bob for everything he did for me during those years.

Bob will be remembered as a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Bob was a very generous, hard working individual, and an avid sports fan. Bob was a tough individual having endured an explosion when he worked for the Sun Pipe Line Company, a crushed chest when he worked for a warehouse company, and many illnesses and surgeries throughout his life. Like his brothers, Bob had strong opinions.

Bob had great pride in his children and grand children. When Sandy and Ric were involved in sports, Bob always gave me an update of their activities. He continued his interest by following Pamela's and Ricky's involvement in sports. He frequently reflected his pride in Sandy's husband Fred and Ric's wife Sue. Bob had his priorities right. His family was the most important thing on this earth to him and you could see his face light up when any and all of them were present.

As a kid, Bob was very involved in sports. He was the first baseman on Honey Brook High's baseball team and a guard on the basketball team. He batted from the left side of the plate, but threw with his right hand. He was a very good fielder and a good hitter maintaining a high batting average. During Bob's senior year in high school, Honey Brook beat Warwick, its arch rival in basketball, for the first time in many years. Bob was the star of the game by making the winning shot at the buzzer.

I believe one of Bob's great regrets was that Honey Brook did not have a football team. After high school, Bob played on a sand lot football team in Reading, and during the summer he was a member of a championship swimming team at Caresonia Park in Reading. He enjoyed following the football heroics of Ric and grandson, Ricky.

During his adult life, Bob enjoyed all sports including baseball, football, basketball and car racing. He had strong opinions of his teams and it was always fun to sit down with him to discuss the latest happenings in sports whether it was high school, college or professional. Sometimes our discussions got a little heated and animated.

I have numerous fond memories of my youth with Bob. Not only did we share the same bed, but I was the recipient of the clothes he had outgrown. Our parents assigned Bob and me many chores around the house. Since Bob was 8 years older he always assumed the role of boss whether it was feeding the chickens, pigs or dogs, raking leaves, helping our father in the vegetable garden, shoveling snow, or sawing wood for our Mother's cook stove. He was a real task master and made sure I completed my chores.

Our family raised chickens. On Saturdays, Bob and I would capture and execute a chicken for the Sunday dinner. I would hold the chicken with its head on a stump so Bob could take it off with a hatchet. We were always amused at seeing the chicken with its head cut off jumping around for several minutes. We would time how long it jumped and rate its demise on style points from 1 to 10, complementing ourselves if we beat the record of the prior week. Then we dunked the chicken into boiling water so we could remove the feathers. After picking the chicken clean we gave it to our mother for preparing it for Sunday dinner.

One day when I was in the chicken coup trying to capture a chicken, one of the roosters knocked me to the ground and started flogging me with its wings. Fortunately, Bob was close by and rescued me from what was one of the worst beatings of my life.

I attribute much of my interest in sports to Bob. I remember him playing catch and shooting baskets with me almost daily. He had me named bat boy for his high school baseball team and ball boy for the basketball team which allowed me to see all of Bob's home games during his high school career.

During my sophomore year in high school, Bob and Beck were living with Beck's parents in Downingtown. They agreed to let me use their address so I could play football at Downingtown High School. I lived on the third floor of a neighbor's house and had my meals at Beck's parent's house. Unfortunately, I became homesick after only one football season and moved back home to Honey Brook. I have always been grateful to Bob and Beck for giving me that opportunity.

Bob was very generous to me in many ways. For my eighth birthday, Bob gave me a beautiful J. C. Higgins bicycle. I felt I was the King of Honey Brook riding around town on my new bicycle.

When we lived on Broad Street in Honey Brook, we had a barn behind our house. The upstairs of the barn was open and had a high ceiling. Bob converted the upstairs into a basketball court and placed peach baskets at each end. When Bob took a shop class in high school, he built two backboards with metal rims to replace the peach baskets. My friends and I enjoyed numerous winters practicing and playing basketball in The Barn, thanks to Bob.

After Bob and Beck started dating and subsequently marrying, they frequently included me in many of their activities and excursions. They were great dancers and danced to big bands at Sunnybrook in Pottstown almost every weekend. On a few of those weekends when I was in high school, they would invite my date and me to join them at Sunnybrook. I remember them taking me to ball games, fairs, and the Poconos for a weekend. They always had a bed for me when I would arrive at their house late at night after a date or a party when I was in college. When I was in high school, I remember traveling by train to visit Bob and Beck in Fostoria, Ohio, where Bob was working for Sun Pipeline Company.

Bob was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Each summer he went to Indian Town Gap with the Guard for two weeks. I remember my father and me going to Indian Town Gap and feeling a great sense of pride as Bob and his National Guard Unit went through their drills and marched around the parade grounds.

Bob was always a hard worker. During his youth he had numerous odd jobs. During junior high and high school he worked for a grocery store and a hardware store.

In conclusion, I would like to read a short poem, author unknown as a tribute to my brother, Bob:

He Only Takes the Best

God saw he was getting tired and a cure was not to be,
So he put his arms around him and whispered "Come with me".

With tear filled eyes we watched him suffer and fade away.
Although we loved him deeply, we could not make him stay.

A golden heart stopped beating.
Hard working hands put to rest.
God broke our heart to prove to us
He only takes the best.

Bob, you were the best and thank you for everything you did for me. We will all miss you.

by Don Leisey 12/10/2005