My wonderful Stepfather, Bob Hawvermale died 4 weeks ago… I’ve been with my family in Florida and then back home in West Virgina to help take care of all the things you do when someone is no longer here. We celebrated his life along with hundreds of others who knew and loved this man. There is a great sense of sorrow and sense of loss.
Bob grew up and lived his entire life in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. He loved his little town and even though he traveled the world both in his work and his leisure, he loved that little mountain community. He was a self made man who went to college on a Football Scholarship attending West Virgina University. He came back home and was the Corporate Engineer his entire career at the one large business in town. He was on the local bank board of directors for 42 years giving his wise council to all the business and community leaders. He worked for the County Commissioners after retirement the rest of his life. He spent his time creating projects that improved his community. The last one was the WWII monument honoring all the citizens of Morgan County, WV who served. My dad’s name was at the top of the list- just a coincidence Bob said with a twinkle- but I knew he wanted to honor my dad in just a little more special way.
Bob first met my mom when they were in college together and she was dating my dad, another Berkeley Springs boy. The year my dad died, his wife died and Bob made contact with our family. He quietly started to date my mom as two middle aged people. They married and were together for 25 years.
The people that came out to honor Bob were of every walk of life. Some mountain people, all the business leaders, friends and family. The Funeral Home Director was a personal friend. The eulogy was given by the town lawyer. The American Legion ladies made sure all of Bob’s favorite food was ready for his wake. As sad as we all were, everyone wanted to be part of the celebration that was his life.
We have a huge sense of loss now. Saturday night after we finished driving for literally three days between back to Florida to get my mom and handle things, back home to Tybee for an over night , then we drove back to WV , we arrived in Berkeley Springs about the same time Bob arrived back in town. Even though he wanted to be cremated, we felt very strongly that Bob needed to be back home so he could check things out one more time. I know he was all over Berkeley visiting the people and places he loved so much. Danny felt him in the home and I know he was glad we were back there safe. We miss him and I hope some of the lessons of life I learned during this experience stick with me. I saw the best of people who wanted to do whatever they could to help our family through this time. I also saw the worst of one or two people who you thought were friends and people you could count on, but their true character came through. But that’s part of life and the lessons we learn as we journey through our experiences.
Thank you to all of you who asked about how we’re doing and what you can do to help . We’re doing fine. It’s not often you have a Bob in your life and as sad as we all are, we need to get back to living our life.
Don’t forget to tell the people in your life how loved they are and how much they mean to you. The more middle aged I become, the more people I lose in life and the more I realize how really fragile and precious this whole life experience is. Thank you for allowing me to share all this and know how much I appreciate all of you!