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Rest in Peace, Bob

September 16, 2020

My long absence from the blog is interrupted by a few words about my friend, Bob Zeller.

Bob passed away yesterday just a few weeks short of his 86th birthday. His health had been failing for a short period of time, complicated I’m sure by his lifelong struggles with Marfan Syndrome.

Bob was many things.

He was an Airman, having served in the Air Force from 1955-1962, when he was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome. That diagnosis prompted a medical discharge from the Air Force after seven years of service. It also planted him firmly in San Angelo, Texas, where he spent most of his post-Air Force life.

He was a musician. A great saxophonist, he was inducted both in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame in the Pioneers & Sidemen category and as a member of the Cavaliers in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The Cavaliers are best known for their hit “Last Kiss”–later covered by Pearl Jam in 2000.

To me, he was all of those things. But he was also a mentor and a friend.

I met Bob and his bride, Ann, in the bird blind at San Angelo State Park, probably in 2007. His images coated the inside of the blind, giving new birders an idea of what they might find while sitting in what was nothing more than a converted shed with big windows.

As a bird photographer, I was very, very raw. My bird photography had been limited to some shooting in Iceland where I’d had some nice shots of puffins.

I spent many a morning in the blind with Bob and Ann. Without trying to teach or formally instruct, Bob taught me a ton about photography in general and bird photography in particular.

I am forever grateful to him for those informal lessons. I am the photographer I am today because of Bob.

In the years that followed, we continued our friendship. He’d always help with identification help or whatever else I needed.

Bob was a great photographer. He was an even better man.

Bob, it was a privilege and an honor to have known you. Rest in peace, my friend. Rest in peace.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 17, 2020 8:42 am

    So sorry.

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