Letter: Thanks, Bob — You left us smiling and thinking

Posted 9/29/19

To the editor:

Last week, Little Compton lost one of its kindest citizens. Robert (“Bob”) Brooks wore many hats during his 72 years of life – renowned student-athlete at Harvard, naval …

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Letter: Thanks, Bob — You left us smiling and thinking

Posted

To the editor:

Last week, Little Compton lost one of its kindest citizens. Robert (“Bob”) Brooks wore many hats during his 72 years of life – renowned student-athlete at Harvard, naval officer, Harvard MBA-educated investment officer, and ordained Episcopal priest. Rector of Grace Church in Providence for a decade, Bob ministered to all he came into contact with – both formally and informally.

I first met Bob when he was rector of Grace Church and serving as chairman of the Downtown Providence Design Commission. At the time, a hotel developer had submitted plans for a new hotel which would blot out any sun striking my law office. Bob chaired that contentious meeting with aplomb, hearing out all constituencies. No doubt due to the quality of my advocacy, the hotel was built on-site and I never again glimpsed the sun at work. Perhaps that hastened retirement to Little Compton, where my consolation was cycling regularly with Bob and his Sakonnet Cyclists. Talk about a lose/win proposition!

It’s not easy making new friends as an adult - even more so in a village as insular as ours. But Bob welcomed all into his circle of daily exercise and social interaction. (Our post-ride Art Café confab was - and remains - as important as the ride itself!) Conversation with Bob was always a pleasure and his company, an inspiration. He could talk football, finance, or philosophy with equal adroitness and enthusiasm. He usually left you smiling … and thinking.

As Bob’s health declined, this former century rider rode shorter and slower, transitioning to a three-wheel cycle with electric assist when balance failed him. Throughout, he displayed grace in adversity. Bob taught by example that adaptation and acceptance may just be the twin pillars of successful aging.

At Bob’s side through fifty years of marriage was the love of his life, Rhea. My heart goes out to her and to Bob’s entire family.

What a life. What a loss. What gifts he left us.

John Barylick

Little Compton

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