Friday, November 17, 2006

In Memoriam: Robert F. Tousey, 1941-2006

It is with great sadness that I write of the passing of this journal's most dedicated reader.  Louise's stepfather, Bob Tousey, succumbed last night to complications of Multiple Myeloma.  He was just 65 years old.

It is the aftermath of a long and emotional day, and words that might constitute a fitting memorial fail me.  I have known Bob only briefly, with a relationship, as is so often the case with in-laws, built on fleeting moments, visits of a mere day or two, or perhaps a week here and there.  A pale shadow of the lifelong friendships Bob has forged with so many people, into whose lives a large void is now thrust.  And yet I was privileged to call Bob my friend.  We shared a passion for travel, and for history, and a love of engineering.  He was always available to help me and Louise, no matter what we needed or when.  And he was genuinely interested in our lives and our happiness.

Louise and Bob have known each other for over twenty years, initially as co-workers at Varian Associates here in Palo Alto.  Through that friendship, Bob met Edith, Louise's mom, and they have been married for fourteen years.

The progressive nature of Bob's illness, with which he was diagnosed three years ago, precipitated a number of visits back here to the bay area.  Regular readers will remember that Louise even flew here a number of times, while I tended to Odyssey in some other remote part of the country.  Knowing the end was near, we very nearly canceled our trip to Mexico, from which we just returned.

It was largely at Bob's urging that we went ahead with the trip anyway, knowing that, at any moment, we could find ourselves racing for the nearest airport (few and far between in Mexico).  Bob, too, had been looking forward to our adventure and to follow it here in this very forum.  In the end, Edith had to print each day's posting and read it to him in his hospice bed.  He remained conscious and aware right through our final report from Mexico.

The morning after we crossed the border, we received the call that we knew someday must come, and we drove straight through from Escondido, arriving here at the VA Medical Center in Palo Alto around 7:30 that evening.  We were able to spend Bob's last day with him at his bedside.

We will remain here in the bay area for the rest of the year.  There are many details to be dealt with, and Edith needs our company and our support.  This morning finds us still parked, with police permission, in the designated RV area of the VA parking lot (map), where we have been since arriving Wednesday night.  Louise has already gone this morning to her mom's house, and I will be packing up Odyssey shortly to move it there for a day or two.  We still need to make arrangements for parking beyond that and to the end of the year.

Rest in peace, Bob.  We will never forget you.


  1. I have very much enjoyed reading about your trip through Mexico and up the Baja peninsula. It gives me a daily escape from work and I get to live it vicariously through you. Through that, I feel like I know something about the two of you and I am sorry so sorry to hear of your loss.

  2. Sorry to Hear of your loss - I lost both my parents last year - You'll be in our prayers.


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!