Posted by Ron Ely on November 23, 2003 at 01:23:43:
Bob was the most dynamic person I have ever met or probably will meet. He was one of those rare people that was larger that life. The thought of never seeing him again in this life has been difficult to deal with. When I found out on Monday Bob had gone home to be with the Lord I didn't sleep much that night. I couldn't help but feel sad for all the people that would never have a chance to meet Bob and experience what a great guy he was.
I was fortunate to have met Bob and Gretchen about 28 years ago. A friend brought me by their apt. on Cooledge St. where we spent an evening discussing theology. Not long into the evening I realized very quickly that they were very special people and it would be to my benefit to get to know them better. A few months later I began volunteering my time with a small ministry called CARIS. We met in a garage out in Whittier mailing out tracts on various non-christian cults. Since Bob was on the board of directors of CARIS we became friends over time. We eventually moved out of the garage and into an office in Anaheim. Bob would show up occasionally to see everyone. I remember whoever was there that night helping out would gravitate from the mail room to the office. In no time everyone would be standing around listening to Bob. That was our time to ask as many questions as we could and he would not disappoint us with his answers. Not a lot of work got done but we were blessed spending time with him. I remember picking him up at work for lunch often and going to Fitzgeralds restaurant and discussing the philosopy courses I was taking in college. Bob taught me how to think correctly and gave me the tools to be able to deal with tough philosophical questions. Bob and Gretchen's house was always open for people to stop by and stay as long as they liked. If it got to be around dinner time they didn't hesitate asking you to stay and eat with them. You were just part of their family for the evening. I enjoyed our trips to the "605 Bookstore" (Christian Discount Book Store in Whittier). Bob was like a kid in a candy store. OK, we all were. Bob would do book reviews for customers walking the aisles. Sometimes he would tell you so much about a book you really didn't need to buy it. He saved me lots of money! Probably the most memorable times I spent with the Passantino's was when we would go as a group to witness and distribute tracks at a cult or New Age gathering. Experiencing Bob sharing his faith with a cultist was amazing. You could tell after about 15 minutes that they would probably rather be having a root canal than having Bob systematically dismantle there world veiw and then share the real Jesus with them. I know they walked away thinking "Who was that guy?". I praised God he was on our side because I wouldn't have wanted to debate with him.
At the funeral today I was blessed to see several hundred people there that are a part of Bob's legacy with similar experiences as mine. It was an amazing service that I was proud to be at because of how much Bob meant to me. Bob was one of the most influential people in my life and I am a better person for having known him.
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