Deceased March 30, 2014

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In Memory

Bob Billingham was a very close friend in our days at Amherst College and for many years beyond. Getting to know Bob was easy for anyone in that he was so outgoing, friendly and expansive. He drew you in, got you involved and made you feel welcome. He always had the most amazing stories, way bigger than anything that you had experienced or, at times, could possibly imagine. Once you were Bob’s friend, wherever you went with him, you always knew that he had your back, if anyone ever gave you a hard time. And it was not just Bob’s imposing physical presence, which was considerable. He always had the quick retort, the right response to silence your antagonist. He just employed his size for backup. The only way you would ever get in trouble with Bob was when you went along with one of his outrageous and audacious ideas for fun or sport.

Bob’s adventures remain legendary. I was blessed just to have shared a fraction of those in his lifetime—as a fellow Chi Phi and geology major, in a field course and mapping projects during two summers in Montana, and on a brief trip to California. Those experiences are far too numerous to recount.

It is noteworthy though that Bob was very empathetic had a very caring side as well. If I was feeling burnt out from course work or down about a situation, Bob would pick right up on it. His standard solution was to pick up a six pack of beer and drive to the nearest peak, be it the Mount Holyoke Summit House or the Beartooth Pass, to remediate the problem. He was always thinking of those around him. Beyond that, Bob always took plans and expounded on them. He went big and it was such fun to be along on the ride. Bob had a zest for life and he lived it to the fullest. Perhaps there is consolation in believing that Bob lived several lives worth in one and that memories of him will continue to instruct and brighten our lives.

Thomas G. Conner '79