Saying goodbye to a friend

Bob(seated) surrounded by new found friends at New Beginnings Wintergreen retreat

Bob(seated) surrounded by new found friends at New Beginnings Wintergreen retreat

Randy and I recently spent a few days in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.  We were there to say goodbye to a dear friend, Bob Jutte-Krause, who after a long battle with multiple myeloma passed away peacefully Wednesday, February 20th.

Bob enjoying the view from atop Seneca Rocks, West Va.

Bob enjoying the view from atop Seneca Rocks, West Va.

It was with sad hearts that we spent that day driving from our home in Florida to Asheville to be with Bob’s family and friends supporting each other in our grief and celebrating this wonderful man’s life.

Great turkey legsat the Maryland Renaissance Fair

Bob and Randy enjoying turkey legs at the Maryland Renaissance Fair

It was amazing to me how quiet we were as we made the ten hour drive only breaking the silence once in a while remembering times we had shared with Bob.

Sharing a holiday meal together

Bob enjoying Christmas dinner at my home.

Randy met Bob at a New Beginnings singles retreat for newly divorced and widowed men and women who were looking for a way to deal with the lives they had lost, living again as a single and discovering ways to move forward.  They were drawn together and forged a friendship based on their shared love of motorcycling.  I met Bob through Randy.  Over the years we shared many moments breaking bread together, going to many fun events and traveling many beautiful, winding roads across the country.

Bob honored us by being Randy’s best man at our wedding in 1999. (Randy, Bob, and groomsmen John Zarou and Jim Jones)

Thursday morning we met long-time friends Lana and Barry in the parking lot and after many hugs and sad tears went inside and joined Bob’s wife Char, family members and friends and found ourselves, and others sharing funny, interesting and poignant stories about our friend Bob.

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After several hours Randy, me, Lana and Barry said our goodbyes with a promise to join the family at Char’s apartment and went downtown for a bite of lunch.  Not knowing where to go we decided to just walk along Biltmore Avenue and see what was available.  There were so many restaurants with such diverse menus, it was hard to choose.  After reading a menu posted on the window of Hannah Flanagan’s Pub we decided to enter, and very glad we did.

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We enjoyed a wonderful lunch of Irish favorites and burgers and wonderful bottle and draft brews.  The beer and ale list, both domestic and foreign, was mind boggling.  I chose a particularly wonderful light ale called La Fin du Monde (The end of the world) from Canada.  It is unusual for me to try ale as I find them to be too strong but once I got passed, what I thought to be a slightly bitter taste, I enjoyed this cloudy brew very much.

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Once we all had our drinks we raised our glasses and Lana said, “To Bob” and I added “To friendship” and spent the next hour enjoying our lunch and talking about motorcycle trips we had all enjoyed.  We returned to Char’s apartment enjoying conversations with the many family and friends that had arrived in town to be a part of the “gathering” that would take place the next day.

Fireplace at Biltmore Village McDonald's

Fireplace at Biltmore Village McDonald’s

On the way back to our home away from home at the  Biltmore Village Sleep Inn hotel we decided to stop at McDonald’s to get a sundae.  This had to be the most beautiful and elegant McDonald’s I have ever seen.  The outside reminded me of an old train station.  Inside there was a warm and inviting two-sided fireplace, a player grand piano, chandeliers hanging from a tray ceiling and comfortable studded leather booths.

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To say that we were blown away would be an understatement.  We learned later that the village has an architectural board that works very hard at keeping the look and feeling of the village beautiful.

Friday we gathered to celebrate Bob’s life.

Mary

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12 Responses to Saying goodbye to a friend

  1. Geri Blumenthal says:

    I was so sad to here of Bob’s passing. He was such a large part of my NB life, so up, fun and intelligent always a pleasure. He gave me much insight as to where I was and where I needed to go. He was my friend. Char, I am so sorry for your loss; but I hope you draw strength from how much he loved you. Every time I saw Bob, he reminded me that he met you at a Christmas Party that Gay and i had. He was so happy that that happened as I was happy for you boht. I hope the wonderful memories of your life together help you with your loss. Bob, swift journey until we meet again at another NB, rest in peach. Geri

  2. Mark Francis says:

    It’s never easy to say goodbye to a good friend, but I think you found a beautiful way to do it. You and Randy obviously have some great memories of Bob that no one can take away from you.

    • Hello, Mark–Yes, Randy and I do have some very wonderful memories of our friend Bob. He will be missed. We were both glad we had the opportunity to spend time with Char and her family in saying goodbye. Mary

  3. Paula McMahon says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a loved friend. I enjoyed reading about your memories and seeing the pictures. (Wow — everyone looked so young!) I know it was very meaningful to Char to have you,
    Randy, Lana and Barry there to support her. Hugs, Paula

    • Lana Halpern says:

      Mary, you are so eloquent. I know Bob would have loved those photos. I loved being with you and Randy. Yesterday, I found myself weeping over my friend Bob. He left too soon. God he was so talented and modest about it all. I don’t think I ever met anyone like him. He will be missed. However, God was good to take him, because he was just too sick to live that way at the end. Let’s talk soon. Lana

    • Hi, Paula–Thanks. We were very glad we had the opportunity to share in saying goodbye to Bob with Char and her family. He will be missed. Mary

  4. Jim Morgan says:

    I will miss Bobby also. He was so much larger than life. Man, he looked good in a tux…I talked to him a couple of times about crewing a boat from the Carribean to the U.S. Boy, that would have been somethin’. He understood the meaning and value of good friends, went through the rough seas with us in New Beginnings and in the process, found and married the love of his life, Char. He remains in my memory but the world is a poorer place without him.
    Jim Morgan

  5. Ellen McCort says:

    Mary and Randy, so sorry to hear about your friend Bob, but it sounds like his wife Char as I did paid a wonderful tribute to her husband with her and him surrounded by those friends, family and wonderful memories

    • Hi, Ellen–Thank you. Char did a wonderful job putting together an event that gave everyone an opportunity to express how they felt about our friend, Bob. He will be missed. But, yes we have our memories. Mary

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