Robert Bruce Leisey

Born October 2, 1929 — 716 East 2nd Street, Birdsboro, Pa
Born at home to E Marie and Alvin L. Leisey, Sr. at about 11:00am

First, on behalf of dad and mom and our family, I'd like to thank everyone for coming today. This means a great deal to all of us. And we'd also like to thank dad's many personal physicians who took care of him over the years. We'd especially like to thank his caregivers at Towne Manor East, Montgomery Hospital, and Mercy Suburban Hospital for all that they have done over the past year. And we thank our relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the residents of Towne Manor East for their visits, and calls, and emails, and prayers, and support. All of you made dad's last months and days very comforting. Y'all were a tremendous blessing to dad... and to us.

Many of the memories that I hold dearest of Bob Leisey are the ones that taught me valuable life lessons. I'd like to share three of those lessons with you.

LESSON ONE: If you are going to do something, do it right! (even the little things)

His lawn was always immaculate... bushes manicured, never a weed, everything was edged every time. His cars were in mint condition... spotless on the inside and outside. Until Alzheimer's consumed him, he took great pride in his appearance... grooming was a passion for him. I'd watch with amazement at the great pains he would take in preparing a snack tray whenever relatives or friends made an impromptu visit... you would have thought he spent his entire life as a caterer.

Dad was definitely a perfectionist, but he taught Ric and me that quality mattered.

LESSON TWO: Finish whatever you start.

I remember him yelling to the little kids on his baseball team to run out those bases, even if they popped out. One season was really painful and I don't think his baseball team won a single game. But he kept inspiring those kids to play each game as if it were a championship game... and at the end of the season he threw them a celebration picnic for showing up, suiting up and playing hard each and every game. He was most proud of them for finishing what they started... not one kid quit that miserable season. If Ric and I signed up for a 26 mile marathon swim at Mermaid Lake, we were going to finish swimming all of those laps even if it rained every day that summer. And what my brother and I learned from this lesson was that the sense of accomplishment is very powerful.

LESSON THREE: Humor and a good song will fix anything.

Dad was a smilemaker... at least when he wanted to be. He used to be the life of the party. His quick wit was envied by all. Dad LOVED hosting Christmas Eve Parties and one year a neighbor had a tad too much to drink and kept teasing our family dog. Dad warned the neighbor that the dog would bite if he kept up the unwanted actions. Too much beverage and too much undesirable action resulted in a dog bite. Dad felt awful that night when the neighbor refused treatment and the next day dad was about to call the neighbor, when he called first. The neighbor said the dog gave him rabies. And dad fired back, well that's too bad but the dog died from alcohol poisoning. They both broke out laughing, admitted they were kidding, and what could have ended in a broken friendship ended instead with a story that probably gets repeated every Christmas Eve.

Dad loved to sing. He would wake up singing. Most of the songs were ones where he'd change the words to a popular tune, but some were totally made up from scratch. I'm sure Ric and I and even his grandkids were amused when we were all little... but a little of his singing went a long way. Even in his last weeks when he didn't know who most of us were, he knew that the words should rhyme in the songs he was making up!

They say when a candle flame goes out, it still leaves a glow. Well, let's face it... dad was more like a bonfire. So... Bob Leisey's glow is cast far and wide.

I'll remember him as the guy who somehow managed to get all the Phillies to sign a baseball for my brother's best friend who was battling cancer at a very young age... that baseball helped to lift the kid's spirits enough to continue the battle. And that kid was in my brother's wedding and is probably attending this service today.

I'll remember dad making homemade ice cream in the driveway often in the summers and seeing the line of neighbors bringing their bowls and spoons. As a man of principles, dad would declare that you didn't get any ice cream unless you took a turn cranking the churn.

I'll remember him somehow saving enough money to take us on family vacations EVERY summer... and some of those vacations Ric and I were allowed to bring a friend. (Probably just so he and mom could have some quiet time together... but our friends thought he was cool for inviting them!)

I'll remember him driving mom over 1700 miles in a very small Volkswagen to visit Fred and me in Texas each year. He LOVED Texas... both San Antonio and Austin. And he LOVED to drive... he was heartbroken when his medical conditions prevented him from driving any longer. Every day I was with him in rehab this summer, he would remind me that he couldn't drive. But, he seemed to love reminiscing about all those driving vacations he took over the years.

I'll always remember him for wearing a pink Santa suit for four Decembers when I owed a retail store in Austin called Impostors. (We sold knockoffs of Cartier and Tiffany and other high-end jewelry... the store's color was mauve and so he didn't confuse any children who shopped the center I had a pink Santa suit made for him and he was The Impostor Santa.) He wore that hot suit, walked all around that Austin, Texas shopping center telling people to visit our store, and brought in more repeat business each year than the shopping center management had ever seen.

I'm sure we all have several favorite Bob Leisey stories, and as long as they are told, his glow will remain with us. He loved his family, adored his grandchildren, and cherished his friends. And I know we all kinda felt the same way about him.

Without question, his all-time favorite person was his grandson Ricky, who will now wrap up the Family Remembrance portion of this memorial service.

Prepared by Sandy Leisey