Farewell to Mr. Bob

I am sad to report the passing of long-time Manassas Baptist Church and Sanctuary Choir Robert Wine on Monday afternoon after a short illness. He was 81.

Bob was one of the first people to welcome me when my family first started attending the church in 1970. I had sung in the choir at our previous church, and Bob made sure I was comfortable in the choir. I soon was a part of that group.

A life-long resident of Manassas and a quiet man, he was known for the custom houses he constructed. And today there are hundreds of homes in the area with beautiful custom cabinets he crafted in his shop. I had occasion to see him working on a cabinets and other projects and knew that I was in the presence of a master craftsman. I asked him once about the tolerances he worked to with his cabinets, citing the 1/8″ gaps that I always seemed to come up with when I was working on something like a wooden fence. He looked puzzled and said, “Zero tolerance–there are no gaps.” And there never were.

Bob seemed to take to this new kid. He stood out in several ways: his gait was distinctive and he was prematurely bald, but he joked about his shining pate and sported a succession of the coolest hats I have ever seen anyone wear.

His name for me was “Dan-o” after the character on Hawaii 5-0. No one else called me that. I returned the favor by calling his “Roberto.”

His words were few but they were for me invariably kind and helpful. He told the choir one of the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard. In his memory, I’ll share it here.

There was a construction worker who brought a thermos to work with his every day. One day a new man came on the job, fresh from the back woods. The first man poured himself some coffee, hot out of the thermos. The other man had never seen such a thing. “What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s a thermos.”

“What does it do?”

“It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold.”

“Well, I’ll have to get me one of those.”

The next day the new man showed up with his own thermos. “I see you got yourself a thermos,” said the first fellow.

“Yep, got it last night,”

“So, what’s in it?”

“A cup of coffee and two Popsicles.”

I think Bob would want us to laugh in memory of the jokes he told and to do something kind for someone else as he did for so many people over the years. Rest in peace, Roberto. We’ll see you again.

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