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Guest jeffinmichigan

R.I.P.: Robert Pence

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If this has been discussed somewhere on this board in the past week, I am sorry for the old info but Robert Pence, a frequent contributor to this website, passed away last Saturday, December 8.  He died at his home in Fort Wayne.  Robert's funeral was held on Thursday, December 13.

 

As some of you may be aware, Robert had been battling throat cancer for quite a number of years and it finally got the best of him.  He was 73.

 

I had run into him on a couple of occasions and found him to be a true gentleman of many talents and interests.

 

His wit and opinions will be missed on the pages of this website. 

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Very sorry to hear this.  Without ever having met Robert you could tell by his posts and pictures that he was a true gentleman.  I am sure he will be very much missed by those who loved him and those on this board.

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I am very saddened to hear this. I have met Robert numerous times, as he was an active member of All Aboard Ohio. He recently sent me an e-mail asking me to contact members in Toledo to share his apologies that he hasn't been able to attend local advocacy meetings there due to his health. He gave me no indication that his health was declining further. I am VERY sorry to hear this news. Robert was a kind, generous, intelligent man with a terrific sense of humor. We need more people like him today, not fewer.

 

EDIT: Here is his obituary, with a wonderful photo of him in his younger years.....

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/fortwayne/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=161623123


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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BTW, do a Google search on Robert Pence. You will be amazed at his contributions.

 

EDIT: He sent this to me on Nov. 30 -- eight days before he died.

 

Ken,

 

Would you please let the folks at All Aboard Ohio - Toledo know that I haven't dropped out because of loss of interest? I've been having a rather hellish battle with my health, the past several months, and am simply unable to handle the two-hour-plus drive each way to attend meetings.

 

Thanks

Robert


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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From his posts here, it is obvious the guy was a good man. I had the pleasure of meeting him on a UO get together in Cincinnati once. His life is a good example for anyone.

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RIP.  I always was excited to see his pictures on this site and always was interested in his personal take on experiences with life.  After seeing so many of his pictures on this site it truly inspires me to be a better photographer. 

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I looked up to Robert's work for years, prior to joining UrbanOhio and after. I don't know if he truly knew how much his photographs, writings and wit were appreciated - but they were. His legacy extends well beyond this forum. Robert was a frequent bearer of all things rail, and captured the decline and rebirth of much of our freight and passenger systems. He blessed us with scenes from across America on his many trips. He was also quite the conversationalist and had the knack for growing some damn awesome plants - like his zinnias.

 

I think this is his last portrait of himself, September 16, 2012:

20120916-9894.jpg

 

I found this gem from 1981, when he was riding the rails to Austin, Texas:

19810502-0007.jpg

 

Lost a good, irreplaceable friend. :cry:

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Very sad news.  Rob had an interesting life, was a wonderful source of Midwest history, train history  and was a gentle, nice soul.  Thanks for posting the pictures showing him in his "prime".  I think UO lost a great friend.

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Great pictures, Sherman. Thanks for finding and sharing them.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Sad news indeed! I feel like I knew Robert personally through his pictures and postings on here. He provided a great window into 70's and 80's middle America that I've never seen matched anywhere else.

 

I think that as long as we have his photo collection he's not really gone. I hope someone preserves what's not online for everyone to enjoy for many years to come.

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So very sad to hear this.  I'll miss his many contributions to the forum.  He was a font of wisdom, and always had something intelligent and temperate to add to any discussion.  His photographic skills, knowledge, and sharp wit are irreplaceable.

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I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Pence, but I cooresponded with him a few times regarding Amtrak and Cincinnati rail history. I always loved browsing his website - he had some great stories and photographs of his travels. He will be sorely missed.

 

Edit: Forgot Robert was kind enough to let me use a few of his photographs on my blog: http://queencitydiscovery.blogspot.com/2012/12/in-memory-of-robert-pence.html

 

I really enjoyed his photographs. They were a great documentary resource in a day and age before blogs and personal websites. It's sad that he won't be around anymore to go on more adventures.

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Oh man, terribly sad news indeed.  I hope he knew just how much we all appreciated his incredible photos (going back many years) and his depth of knowledge about rails, roads, cars, cities, and other things we all love. 

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Oh wow. I am very sad. I always wanted to meet Rob and he and I frequently messaged back and forth. I feel bad because communication stopped between us. He was such an awesome person. And that says a lot since I only knew him through this forum. He will be terribly missed. =/

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So very sad.  While I never met him personally.  I just expect to see him post here everyday.  He shared many great things with us.  I will keep him and his family in my prayers.

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OMG.  I'm visibly shaken by this.  I had a dream about him on Tuesday or Wednesday and I was just going to post and ask if anyone had spoken with or got a PM from him as he hadn't been posting much lately.

 

He was a HUGE contributor to this forum on so many levels and will be greatly missed.

 

Although I'm not big on group activities, he's one person I would have made the effort to meet.

 

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I always found his stories about gay life and coming out in a much less tolerant era very inspiring, as someone who has had the fortune of growing up in a time easier to be open and honest about my sexuality. He was one of the pioneers to pave the way for people like me. All the while, he never fled to NYC or SF, and stayed active in the farming community in Indiana until his death. A real man's man, marching to the beat of his own drum.

 

RIP

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I met Robert only once (at a Columbus forum meet five or six years ago), but feel an ache right now as if I've lost a good friend. And I guess I have. I always felt validated if he made a nice comment on a photo thread of mine; I always felt soothed if I was in a heated debate on some topic and he jumped in and put things in perspective in his gentle, yet authoritative (and sometimes acerbic) way; I always felt grateful -- and a little bit smarter -- when I saw and read his knowledgeable posts. If any one person was the soul of UrbanOhio, it was Robert. I will miss him.

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So sorry to hear this bad news.

 

Never met Robert "Rob", but always enjoyed his posts.  He seemed to be an honorable gentleman... and he was truly a storehouse of knowledge, not just about rail, but about cities.  His archives of old photos he took of Cleveland, to name one, was amazing.  And he never failed to take us aboard his many train trips into Chicago from Ft. Wayne to the U of C medical center for his cancer treatments-- thoughtful enough to post a full photo essay of his journey to what had to be a painful and difficult experience... and yes, he was very smart and witty... Rob's presence on UO was huge, and definitely will be missed.

 

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I haven't been a contributor to UO for years, but I really felt like I should visit and pay my respects to Robert Pence.

 

I met Robert on two occasions...once during a UO meet in Dayton so many years ago and another time who knows when or where.  From my limited contact with him I knew that he was very friendly, knowledgeable, and a hell of a photographer.  He had seen more than I'll likely see in my lifetime.  I could tell he wasn't so well back then, eight or so years ago, by his voice.  I just hoped he'd be around long enough to continue to contribute his great insights and photography, which he did.

 

He is a UO icon.  If ever this site develops a Hall of Fame, he should certainly be in it.

 

R.I.P. Robert Pence....

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I've been busy all weekend and just saw this saddening news now. I never had the chance to meet him personally, but I will miss him here on UO. He was a great photographer and an awesome story teller.

 

Goodbye, Mr. Pence

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I am extremely saddened to hear this news. I met Rob several times on a couple UO tours and twice when he showed me around Fort Wayne. The last three years I received his Christmas cards, which he made himself and always featured a wonderful holiday or winter scene on the front that he had taken. I guess this Christmas I cannot expect a card.

 

Rob recently sent me a PM after I posted photos of Rochester, Minnesota, just checking-in to make sure that I was not in town because I had family at the Mayo Clinic. How nice that he would take the time to do something like that.

 

I am thankful that I knew him and will miss Rob. Fort Wayne will miss him too.

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RIP

 

Very sad to hear of this loss. I very much admired Robert - his beautiful work and kind manner. I remember how he would shovel snow early in the morning and clear his sidewalk before most of his neighbors were even awake. I will think of him when I board my next train or shovel snow in the early morn.

 

I remember he once suggested we abolish state lines and reorder the country around watersheds. What an exemplary man - he will be missed!

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