I had the pleasure of sitting next to Bob Barci when I was an inside sales rep at SBS in 1998 and 1999. Now Bob was a pretty conservative guy, and I’m pretty liberal, so needless to say we didn’t agree on a lot of issues. But that never stopped us from getting along. The real icebreaker came when I picked up a snowboard. Bob practically fell over himself offering to get me up to the mountain to learn how to use it. Bob got this super cool deal that when he went up to do Ski Patrol (on his snowboard, of course), he got free lift tickets for friends and family. Bob was eager to share them with me any time he went up. My first trip involved Bob and I and JP Grochala, another SBS rep at the time. We all went up and without any lessons, got on our boards and tried to get up the rope tow. What a disaster. We eventually decided the lift would be easier, and by the end of the day we were carving turns and having a great time.
Although he would be busy “working” while we were on the mountain, Bob would ask how I was doing whenever he saw me. I went up with Bob and Nancy (before they were married) one day and got to know Nancy, which I never had the chance to do in the office. I could tell they were happy together. Both of them were very encouraging. Bob even gave me one of those little snowboard toys for Christmas one year. He reminded me of something I gave him a few times, although truth be told I can’t remember what it was myself.
Bob was a great person to sit next to at work. He was always cheerful, and we actually had a good time teasing each other about our disparate viewpoints. I’d catch up with him occasionally after I left SBS, when I would call to ask about something for myself or the shop. I was sad to hear that he had come down with cancer, and it didn’t look like it was going to be a battle that he would win. They said he came in to work as often as he could, probably just to keep his sanity. I suppose he was in quite a bit of pain, not to mention his mental state knowing he would probably not last very long. I’d have to say that I bet he lasted longer than they thought he would, given his spirits.
Bob was a super nice guy and I’m glad I got to know him. I haven’t seen him in probably seven years, but I’ll remember him and I’ll miss him.