Bobby became a daily part of our family's conversation when I began preaching in Brunswick, Georgia in 1986. Bobby and Myrleen became our friends, our parents, our children's grandparents, and our constant encouragers. He will be greatly missed.
When I think of Bobby there are three words that come to mind: love, family, and servant.
Bobby was a man of love. Bobby loved people — people he worked with ... people at church ... people at the club ... people he had known all his life. He loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his children's friends. He loved people and people loved him. He loved unconditionally.
Bobby was a family man. A great example of Bobby's love is the way he loved his family — from his grandchildren to his own mother. We saw especially in the way he loved Myrleen "... in sickness and in health ... till death do us part." Bobby loved. He loved us. As Myrleen has told me hundreds of times, "Don't you ever forget that!" I haven't. I won't. We haven't. We won't.
Bobby was a servant. He served people on a daily basis. He served his nation for many years as a leader in the Georgia National Guard. His businesses were service-oriented businesses. He has forever been placed in our hearts with memories of things he did and things he said that remind us of his servant-nature.
As we go through this life, we are fortunate if we can say we have known a few great men. We may have occasion to meet a few famous people, a few really wealthy people, and maybe a few great people by the world's standards. In my life, I have been very fortunate in that I have known a few great men, by God's standards.
"Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."(Mark 10:43-45)
One of the interesting things about being in the presence of true greatness is that it inspires us and challenges us to be better people. That's the case with Bobby. By knowing him and being able to observe how he did business, how he treated strangers, how he treated people that he didn't particularly care for, and how he treated folks he loved like his family, we all have been challenged and inspired to do those things better — to be more Bobby-like. And by being more Bobby-like, we knew we would also be more Christ-like.
We have no control of how or where we come into this world. We move along on our journey as God directs our paths. He blesses us with people who enter our world at the time we need them the most. At the time, we cannot imagine living without them. All who knew Bobby have all been blessed to have had him in our lives ... at just the right time, when we needed his words, his voice, his laughter, his tenderness, his advice, his help, his strength, his wisdom, his example, and his love. I will forever be thankful to God for making it possible for Bobby to be a part of my life. I will miss him.