My husband, Robert, wanted me to share some words with you because he regretfully couldnt be here today. My introduction to Bob wasn't exactly what you would call smooth. I had to call Florida and speak with someone to explain that Erin (his daughter) was in a car accident, but was ok. Seems noble enough, however when a man picked up the phone instead of Erin's mom I sort of panicked and simply said, "Who's this?" to which the voice answered back, "You called me, who's this?" Then I got on with my story and explained that I was Erin's NEW boyfriend, and she flipped her car six times, but she's ok. From that start, however, I got to know more of Bob through Erin's stories of him being very strict, but very encouraging, and how he was always there for her and her brothers. When we met face to face, it was another rocky start. Erin and I had to explain that we were starting a family. Bob was sure to let me know he was less than thrilled. But as we all know he loved my boys, and my boys loved Puppa. From these beginnings, a new bond was forming. It started as he and I just busting on each other. But after a short while we were taking little adventures whenever we were around each other. A few that come to mind are: in NJ, near my home, and he had to have the Arizona Stress Tea. We went to every store I could think of until we found it, making sure to harass every store employee without Stress Tea along the way. When we finally found some, Bob bought every bottle in sight stating, "I don't want to go through that again." When we moved to Florida for a short time, he and I spent 20 hours straight, unshowered in the truck together. I won't really go into detail on that, but he knows what I mean. Our last adventure was to Kennedy Space Center last summer. Like his grown obsession for Disney, his childhood obsession was rockets and the space program. Once again, a kid in a candy store. Bob Varley was more than a father-in-law, more than a mentor, even more than a friend. I was honored to be a part of his life and honored to have earned the designation of his "favorite son-in-law" (by default, but who's counting?). Bob will always be a part of me, and forever in my heart and mind as the first thing I think of when I see anything having to do with Disney. You're the famous one, Bob. Love you always, Your Favorite Son-In-Law Rob Shirhall Some of you may only have known Bob from recent years in Florida. I wanted to take a minute to share with you the Bob that I knew, the Bob that became a father to me when I was four, and influenced me to become much of the woman I am now. 1. He was a phenomenal athlete before he hurt his ankle. He helped his high school cross country team to 2 state titles. He could hit a softball like Papi hits baseballs. He coached Matt in midget football. He was a former Little League baseball president. 2. In Mansfield, he was the president of local cable access for several years. 3. He taught Matt, Brian, and I to build and launch model rockets. He and I made a rocket R2D2. Sadly R2D2 exploded into tiny pieces at about 10 feet in the air. 4. He made the best Boston baked beans. 5. He took us camping every summer since I met him. 6. He could cook a rotisserie turkey over a campfire if you could wait until midnight to eat it. 7. He and mom never took a vacation without us until we were grown ups. 8. He got the chicken pox at age 30-something. They were not nice to him. If you havent had them, get vaccinated! 9. He made us clean up our messes but never cleaned up his. 10. Orange was his favorite color. 11. Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch were his favorite cereals. If he caught you eating them, youd be sorry. 12. He loved hot air balloons. 13. He had no trouble hollering at people (speeding cars, bullies, litterers, boyfriends who beeped the horn out front instead of coming to the door) to stand up for justice. 14. He sneezed upwards of three times to signal to his dinner party that he was full finally. 15. He never called his boys (Brian, Rob, Gavin, or Mason) by their names unless they were in trouble. He called them all Buddy. 16. He regularly drag-raced the kahts with Matt, Brian, and Rob up and down the neighborhood. 17. He could engineer a discount on a discount on a discount on any item he wanted to buy if he couldnt just get it free altogether. 18. He taught us to reach for the moon, knowing we could reach it (not just hit the stars if we missed, like the saying goes). I want to leave you with one more message. If you are here today, you undoubtedly have been wrestling with grief, shock, maybe even anger. For me, the stress of this weeks events have had me on a roller coaster not exactly the happy kind youd find at DisneyWorld. Believe it or not, over the years, Bob struggled to manage his tightly-wound personality. He stressed out easily, usually because he had to deal with a drama-queen of a teenage daughter. It took me 18 years to learn not to battle head-to-head with Bob because the exchange of words back and forth only made the situation worse. Since Bob was usually right about things, I did eventually learn to nod my head, and say, Ok, Dad. As I poured through the drawers of my house, looking for pictures of Bob to share with friends and family this weekend, I came across that Bob had given to me after one of these confrontations. I have no idea what the problem was about, but I think youll agree that he found exactly the right words for handling how we are all feeling right now. The card states: All stressed out? Sometimes it helps to think of happy scenes. Maybe a pastoral field A field with a babbling brook. Youre there on a lovely summer day Holding someones head under the water Now youre letting them up for a second Then BLAM! Back into the freezing water Over and over again There, Feel better? Bob had written, I do. Sorry about last night. Love O.T. ( edited:his old CB handle, Orange Tornado) I hope you all remember to laugh with the happy memories of Bob as you deal with his sudden departure. I will always love him as a daughter loves her father, and I know he will always be with me. Afterall, he is a huge part of who I am.