Saturday, January 18, 2020

Thanks for Lunch Bob

Special Masonic Lunch-Thanks Bob
Those of you who are Freemasons know that we enjoy good food and Brotherhood. You are probably wondering what could be so special about this photograph of a plate of food and why is it so important to write about it. That's easy, "Bob bought us Lunch'. Now here is the rest of the story...

In Freemasonry we develop long term relationships with members that can last well over half a century or longer. This is a short story about Robert John Pemberton, a Masonic Brother who I have known since the Fall of 2008 when he was raised a Master Mason.

Bob was an active Mason, but I spent most of the time with him in our York Rite (Chapter,Council, Commandery). Two nights a month we would have dinner at our Rite. I always made sure that I sat next to Bob for I found him to be a wonderful conversationalist, plus he really cared about people.

Bob was like a loaf of fresh French Bread. Hard and crusty on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. Those who didn't know him so well may have thought him a curmudgeon.

I have always believed that our personalities are made up of our life experiences and how those experiences shape us. I think that was true of Bob as well. Bob and I shared the experience of being Veterans. That experience that we shared and gave more insight to each other. Bob served in the Navy, a real Blue Water Sailor his whole tour was spent on a Replenishment Oiler. This is a ship that carries tens of thousands of gallons of aviation fuel, diesel  and other highly combustible fuels. His ship would replenish air craft carriers and other ships at sea. Bob said it was a task that required you to perform in hazardous heavy seas. You had to follow the simple rules or you could have a disaster. The kind of disaster that you did not get a do over. I think this is why Bob had great difficulty accepting peoples bad behavior or inability to follow the simplest of tasks, like not using your turn signal when driving, people using cellular phone while driving and bicyclists  on freeways just to name a few.

Another of Bobs life experiences that gave me great perspective about him was that he was a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, He also identified closely with his Finnish heritage. He had a successful career in the Risk Management business. He always had a hug smile when he talked about his kids.

One day Bob said that he was thinking of going to a summer camp to work on his understanding of the Finnish language. At first I was very supportive, and informed him of all the benefits to immersing into that language environment. Then I changed course and gave him a hard time about going to a summer camp with twelve year olds. Bob tried to calmly inform me that this language camp had an adult only week. I then proceeded  to kid him about summer camp romance sitting around the campfire flirting in Finnish with women half his age. We had a good laugh.

Bob had a series of serious health issues for awhile. We had kept in touch as he progressed thru them and when Bob would come to our meetings I was glad to see his improvements and his health becoming restored.

About six or seven months ago Bob said that he had a pretty busy day with an appointment. Now Bob always had an appointment during his day, so it was nothing unusual. Usually he would share information he received when visiting with his investment counselors, his tax accountant, or while attending one of his professional associations that had a speaker. It was always some kind of information that I could use or something that may make me think in my own affairs.
Except that night Bob said that he had just prepaid for his funeral! I said "Bob, I thought you were ok"?  Bob replied "oh ya Tom I'm fine" but there are a lot of advantages of doing this and then Bob gave all the benefits and disadvantages of planning early and how it all worked.  Just like he was explaining the new tax law or the Governors screwed up transportation bill.

When Bob had finished I said " Bob, are you really ok"? Bob explained he wanted to do this so his kids wouldn't have to go thru that experience and expense when that day comes.

Then Bob said "Tom you gotta to come to my funeral, I got a great lunch planned for you guys". Tom you like Hawaiian Rolls and Cheesy potatoes"?  I said "Ya Bob, I love them". Bob said "You think most of the guys will like that?" I replied "Bob, whats not to like"? Then we both laughed.

Bob was not feeling well and went to the hospital on December 21, 2019. He unexpectedly passed away on December 23, 2019. Today, January 18, 2020, the family held Bob's funeral and the Brothers of Minnehaha and Phoenix Day Light held the Masonic Service.

Today, Bob bought me and his Masonic Brothers that he loved lunch.

Thanks for lunch Bob, and for all the time we shared on this earth together. It meant alot to me.

Robert John Pemberton
March 27, 1940
Flint, Michigan

December 23, 2019

Memorial Service
Washburn-McReavy Eden Prairie, Minnesota

W.B.Wiley Smith
Pastor Paul Nelson

Fort Snelling National Cemetery
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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