May 24, 2016

Bob Avery, Revisited.

Bob Avery
The obituary notice is so matter-of-fact:  "GLASGOW – Hollon B. “Bob” Avery, 87, of Glasgow, died Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at T.J. Samson Community Hospital.
He was born in Concord, N.H., a son of the late Hollon C. and Alta Tholander Avery.
Mr. Avery was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II. After the service he became an engineer and retired from the General Electric Co. in Schenectady, N.Y. He was a member of Allen Lodge #24 F&AM in Glasgow and was a Past District Deputy Grand Master. Mr. Avery was a member of the Glasgow First Presbyterian Church where he was a former Sunday school teacher.
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie Davidson Avery; a granddaughter, Jade Lin Avery, of Phoenix, Ariz; two brothers, Eugene Avery (Connie), of Edmonton, and Grant Avery (Diana), of Loudon, N.H.; two sisters Marilyn Foster, of Pembroke, N.H., and Carole Milliken, of Concord, N.H.; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by two sons, Bruce R. and Curtis E. Avery, and a brother, Kenneth A. Avery.
Funeral services will be 2 p.m., Sunday, May 6, 2012, at Glasgow First Presbyterian Church. Burial will be in New Hampshire. Visitation will be at A.F. Crow & Son Funeral Home on Saturday from 5 until 8 p.m., and he will lie in state at the church on Sunday from 1 p.m. until time for the service. A Masonic service will be conducted at 7 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home and the public is welcome to attend.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to either First Presbyterian Church memorial fund or Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville."

And yet so much of this man's life, so many very important facts regarding his life, simply aren't represented.  Let me fill you in.

I first encountered Bob Avery in about 1952, during that time that he was an engineer with the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York.  Those two sons who predeceased him were his pride and joy.  The obituary doesn't inform you that in a divorce from his first wife, he was granted custody of his two sons.  When I met them, they lived in a modest house trailer.  And Bob was involved in every aspect of his kids' lives.  And they loved him.  And they worked on cars and motorcycles together.  And they took 12-year old Bobby Mead into their inner circle.  And we went to car meets together in a 1914 Model T Ford that Bob had restored to a standard that earned it national recognition.

You read that he served in the Navy in World War II.  But the write up doesn't tell about the 1932 Ford cabriolet that Bob drove into the woods behind his father's house when he left for the war.  It doesn't tell how he retrieved that rusty relic in 1952 and told his boys that the three of them were going to restore it.  Or how they did and how it became another national prize winner.

And that simple sentence about his sons predeceasing him hides so much immeasurable pain.  I recall speaking with Bob after many years of having lost contact, and asking him how Bruce and Curt were doing.  And he had to inform me that both had been killed in separate motorcycle accidents.  And when I went to visit Bob, he was working on a car restoration that one of the boys had started.  It was a job that Bob treated as a sacred mission -- to complete this unfulfilled task.

And another thing that the obituary fails to convey -- The sheer joy that 
Marjorie Davidson Avery brought to his life -- his beloved Marge.  When he spoke of her, his eyes lit up.  Her presence was his inspiration.  God bless you, Marge, and rest in peace, my departed friend.

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