Saturday, July 10, 2010

Farewell, Bob

Despite a certain serene beauty of its own, bleak and dreary Winter's promise is its passage into vibrant Spring, bursting with new life, new beginnings. Summer blesses us with growth - setting deep roots to produce in abundance. Autumn's gift is fruition of our endeavors. Sated, fulfilled, realized, Autumn surrenders to Winter's sleep, with its promise to turn to Spring again. That's the cycle of seasons, the cycle of life.

On Friday morning, we at WSBE Rhode Island PBS learned the sad news that our president and CEO, Robert "Bob" Fish, had passed into his Winter. With his trademark confidence and strength, Bob waged a fierce but brief battle with cancer. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his charming and dedicated wife, Jane, and their family. It's a loss we all share.

When Bob arrived at WSBE in December of 2005, it was my job to write the public announcement of his appointment, and I asked him for his bio and a photo. At that first meeting, shaking his hand, I sensed there was a lot more to this tall, imposing man than his outwardly reserved demeanor. There was an underlying energy, a... secret joke, if you will, that he was bottling up. The photo he sent to me (published here) showed twinkling, mischievous eyes despite the serious pose.

Sure enough, Bob lived up to that first impression. He filled any room with his commanding presence, booming voice and jovial laugh. He thrived on the "art of the deal," evidenced by his successful 40+ year career in radio and television broadcasting management. He was a deft negotiator - Bob had a vision all his own and just made it work. On his own terms. And everyone left as friends.

I vividly remember one incident when someone kept introducing Bob as the "general manager" at a station event. That really irked me - it seemed like a deliberate slight by someone who should have known better. When I talked to Bob about it afterward, he just smirked and said,

"It doesn't matter what they call me. They all know who's the boss in the room."

LOL! So true. You will be missed, Bob.

- written by Lucie Raposo