My friend Bob King died peacefully at his home in Crested Butte, Colorado on February 1 after a brief illness. His wife Anita, children Robin and Bob Jr., and his brother Bill were at his side. Funeral services were held in Crested Butte and Bob was buried shortly after in Mt. Kisco, NY. Bob was the oldest son of the late Doris and John King of Westfield, MA. He grew up there and gained prominence at Westfield High School where he starred in three sports.
Our friendship began in the fall of 1953 on the freshman football field at Amherst where we developed an immediate dislike for each other. For some reason he thought I was some kind of smartass prep school kid complete with blue blazer, rep tie, and white bucks. When he found out I wasn’t one of those preppies things got better. Later that school year we pledged the Chi Phi fraternity, aka “The Jock House” and have been best friends since.
At Amherst he played football and baseball, and was elected football captain in his senior year when he earned Little All American honors as a center and linebacker. Those were the days when players went both ways – offense and defense. No one in small college football did it better. In baseball Bob was a catcher who specialized in blocking the plate as his batterymate, Ted Kambour, will attest.
Shortly after meeting Bob in the fall of 1953, I met Anita, his high school sweetheart, who became his wife in 1960. I said to myself – how did Bob land such a beautiful girl? – and she still is. Since then our lives and our families have been inextricably bound together. We have never gone very long without talking or seeing each other. Anita, Bob and I have shared so many milestones and memories.
I still have vivid recollections of their wedding day at which I was best man. Our families were fairly rambunctious in those days and certainly not willing to let an open bar go to waste. My mother won the drinking contest with Anita’s mother a close second. Somehow my dearly departed uncle got locked in the Maid’s closet, and none of us remember how we got him out. That was a wedding!
Over the years we vacationed together, attended between forty and forty-five homecomings, were godfathers to each other’s children – Bob Jr. and my son, Jay, and never missed an anniversary, a wedding, or sadly, a funeral.
In addition to his history degree from Amherst (he was one of Bucky Salmon’s boys) Bob also held an MBA from Fordham. He had a long and successful business career in the New York City area. Bob handled international real estate for several companies including Reader’s Digest, J. Walker Thompson, Continental Insurance, Credit Suisse, and First Boston before finishing his career with Commonwealth Advisors. His work took him to a wide range of countries throughout the world.
What do you say about a friend:
- A friend is someone who is always there for you in good times and bad.
- A friend is someone who doesn’t judge you.
- A friend is someone you trust with your family, your possessions, and your reputation.
- A friend is someone who thinks of you ahead of himself and would do anything for you.
- In short a friend is someone like Bob.
I have lost my friend, but not really because he will always be with me.
-Jim Connors ’57