- About Us
Robert O. ReddMarch 14, 1926 ~ August 2, 2017 (age 91)
Dad had a favorite saying that us kids rolled our eyes at every time he used it, “Ya know, people are dying today that have never died before.” This was usually followed by a chuckle from him and a groan from us. Bob Redd -- Son, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather – Has now joined the ranks of those people who have never died before in his passing on August 2, 2017. In his words: “Each of us will depart someday leaving behind dear friends and loved ones – ranging from our spouse and children to our great grandchildren. We will leave our homes, our last car, a college watch, an easy chair, a faithful radio, all the collections of a lifetime of gathering, and a few betterments to the lives of those we have touched.”
Robert O. Redd, June 1994
Bob certainly left his family and friends with many “betterments” and grand memories! Like Einstein, Bob was born on a “Pi day” 3.14 in 1926 down in Buckeye country – Columbus Ohio. He spent his young years in the depression working in his mother’s butcher shop with his sister Rita. In the evenings, he would return to his grandmother’s house where they lived because of his father’s untimely death. Surrounded by an intense German family, he regaled us with stories of his uncle’s various business misadventures and the inevitable shouting and fighting at the Saturday night poker games – all fueled, of course, by his grandfather’s gin still in the attic!
He went on to Ohio State University (go Bucks!) and received a degree in industrial engineering. He worked for many years at American Boiler and Heinz rising into supervision at both companies. But Bob was a lifelong learner, and after many years he decided to return to school and secured a business degree with a focus on accounting. He became a CPA and management consultant for over 30 years achieving a partner role at BDO Seidman in Grand Rapids. During his business career in the 70’s, Bob helped companies focus on energy conservation in manufacturing. He established the “BTU-based accounting” movement which involved integrating accounting and energy usage in the evaluation of manufacturing and distribution costs. In the 80’s during the “PC revolution” he established Seidman’s national “Micro Computer” practice. He was then, and was until he could compute no further, a die-hard Apple/Mac supporter and never owned one of those boring IBM/Microsoft DOS-based PCs!
Bob had a unique view of work and life – ever moving and creating across many spectrums – from business to art and theology. So of course “Rapid Robert” was not your typical partner at Seidman. Besides practicing meditation cross-legged on top of his executive desk, he roller skated for relaxation and even dressed as a roller skating Uncle Sam in the Ada 4th of July parade. He was never bashful about his exploits and expressed his long interest in art by displaying abstract paintings, antiques, and home cast sculptures in his office.
Did I just say “home cast sculptures”? Yes, I did just say that!
Dad grew interested in sculpture taking classes in a Western Michigan arts program and was inspired by Kirk Newman’s abstract figures of businessmen that “suggested the inflated egos and social pretensions of the subjects”
So, of course as a hands-on guy some Saturday mornings Forest Ridge Estates in Cascade echoed with the roar of a bronze melting furnace in our driveway. Later we would pull the red hot lost-wax molds out of the kiln in the garage, and as puzzled neighbors watched we donned our safety gear, extracted the white-hot crucible, and poured molten bronze into the sizzling hot molds.
Over the history of his artistic explorations and besides casting of bronze, he painted abstract depictions of life’s journey and the sub-conscious, dabbled in stone lapidary art, silver jewelry, cast pewter items, and a lifetime love of repairing antiques. All this in a succession of ever more fascinating and elaborate workshops! You never knew when you walked into his shop what he was up to next!
After retiring and deciding he would rather not work with 1,750-degree molten metal, Bob took classes on great authors and writing. He studied spiritual authors like Emerson, Thoreau, Campbell and his dear friend Wilferd Peterson. He then took up writing himself producing books like “Achievers Never Quit.” This guide was used by companies like Weyerhaeuser, Amway, and AT&T to educate retiring employees on the opportunities that life after retirement brings. Later he produced “Whimsy, Whit, and Wisdom” which dealt with the humor and stresses of retirement on marriage.
He ended his writing career with several books of senior theater acting skits based on his life experiences. They are still in use today by senior centers around the country. Did I mention, they can be purchased and used royalty free at: https://www.seniortheatre.com/robert-redd/
He would be tickled to see this shameless plug in his obit!
Bob was a member of the Golden Kiwanis, Peninsular Club, Toast Masters (Distinguished TM), and Silver Streakers 70+ Ski Club. He founded the popular senior acting team “The Laughing Stock Comedy Group,” that over the years brought many smiles to the residents of senior centers around the Grand Rapids Area.
Bob had a grand life, and he will be missed! Bob follows Ann his wife of 46 years, her twin sister Mary Myers of Navarre OH (husband Harry), and his sister Rita Fullen of Columbus OH. (husband Richard), and many friends into the next life. We are sure that they will be shocked to see him so early as his grandmother lived to 103. Mom will let him know the rules upstairs “Bob, be quiet, you are not in charge up here!” Mary and Rita will make sure he gets the message!
Bob is survived by his 3 children, Nancy Scott of Big Rapids (husband Jim), Tom Redd of Fremont (wife Lesa), and Jim Redd of Lowell (wife Marsha), 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren along with many nieces and nephews, and innumerable friends.
Now, it is our turn to say “Bob, get with the program” as no matter where we moved over his career there was always a program to be accomplished – O.K. but please no half dead discount shrubs to plant in the yard – “Oy Vey you kids! What, I should just throw away money in the street! They were cheap I had to buy them, now turn off that boob-tube (TV) and grab a shovel!”
We will miss you Dad – Rest in Peace (or Work) – as you see fit.
P.S. if you are reincarnated, send us a sign, and we will swing by to say welcome back - nothing but love from us back here!
A private service for family and close friends of Bob will be held Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Services. Bob will be interned at the Graceland Mausoleum next to his wife Ann.
Reembraces of Bob or your Bob Redd storyies can be posted at the Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Services site:
In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert’s name may be made to:
Porter Hills Foundation Benevolent Fund
Porter Hills Foundation Benevolent Fund
4450 Cascade Rd. S.E., Grand Rapids MI 49546