Peyron, Bob

October 7, 2018

Bob Peyron January 8, 1924 - September 30, 2018 Bob Peyron, who for 94 years practiced a vision of humanity that knew no bounds and who never once encountered a stranger, has left us with hearts full of his curiosity, optimism and goodwill. Bob was born in a former Oregon Trail stagecoach building on an uncertain date in January 1924 - his immigrant mother and the birth-certificate clerk in Baker, Oregon, disagreed - and as a boy witnessed a world of unspeakable depression in working-class Pocatello, where jobs vaporized just like they did throughout a still-young America. Through his eyes, he witnessed a community respond with humanity and heart for people, and those virtues became the core of who he was. He remembered how his mother fed and befriended the hobos who hopped off the freight trains just across the field from his boyhood home, in a place that became known as Pocatello’s Iron Triangle. They knew to knock on her door; the men who came before them left a carved code on the alley fence post that here, a man could find a friend and a hot meal. Her DIY garden of peas, carrots, potatoes, apricots and other delights later earned the recognition of the War Department as America worked to complete supply lines and fill the larders on the front during World War II. It was natural that Bob would join the war effort when he graduated from Pocatello High School in 1942. So he left the only home he’d known - on a block where Japanese, Italian, Greek, English, Spanish and French were first languages and a cultural mosaic was celebrated, where every day, men in black suits from the old country met on the lawn to play bocce ball. Bob was trained in Mississippi, mustered out to the China Burma India Theater with the Army Air Corps from California and landed in the third world of northeastern India, where tigers still savaged unsuspecting villagers and a 20-tier banana cluster cost less than a quarter. Of course, he bought one and promptly shared it with his new friends. On his first visit to Huan Ming, China, at the other end of the flight lines of the B-24 crew on which he worked and half a world away from home, Bob walked into a restaurant and ran into a friend from the Iron Triangle neighborhood. They shared a meal together and caught up on their wartime life experiences. It was always that way with Bob: he always found a friend, wherever he was. Days before his passing, Bob said this about life: “Sharing a bottle of wine, crusty bread and cheese and good conversation is better than being on the summit of Mt Everest.” For Bob, every minute could be a joyful adventure if shared. He lived a big, grateful, generous life. So it is that so many of us have lost one of the great ones in our lives. Bob was the truest friend we’ve ever known. He gave us the shirt off his back countless times and most of us were so moved by Bob, we will remain devoted to him and his memory for the rest of our lives. He told stories so finely crafted and funny that we can’t forget them - or him. Bob was a voracious reader and lifelong sponge whose children learned something they didn’t know every time they saw him. He was smart as a whip, successful in business as a partner in several beer and wine wholesale distributorships in Southern Idaho, and was kept young at heart by the many generations of Idaho State University students who, after class, always managed to find the open tap just off campus at Intermountain Beverage, where he and his friend and partner Orie Zaccardi held court. In a video chat recorded just before his death, Bob chuckled about how his favorite “crazy bastards” were going to have “Just One More With Bob” to mark his passing. When Bob retired as a business owner, it was on to an encore career of public service. Governor Cecil Andrus appointed Bob to help guide Idaho’s decision-making on new buildings to be added to the campuses of the colleges and universities and other state properties. His peers elected him chairman of the Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council, and Gov. Phil Batt reappointed him. Later, he joined his classmate Idaho Purce in creating and driving a community project in Pocatello that celebrates the exceptional racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of the “wrong side of the tracks” neighborhood where they grew up. The Lasting Legacy project memorializes the histories of 521 Pocatello families from virtually every race and ethnicity and culminated with an event attended by hundreds of people in 2010. Pocatello, it seemed that day, was as proud of Bob as he always was of it. In between, Bob and Ruth, who met as a returning airman and student nurse in a bar (she would have said it was a luncheonette) called the Lucky 7, lived a life of long work days and spicy adventure. They raised a family who embraced their strong values, and made hundreds, possibly thousands of friends. They traveled to places such as France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the Yellowstone country. When they were in Cambridge, visiting Mark during his post-graduate fellowship at the iconic university, they hopped in a car and saw seemingly every stone fence, emerald field and pub of central Great Britain and Ireland. Later, 50 years after his troop transport pilot flew Bob and fellow airmen returning to the U.S. after WWII low across the Serengeti, mountains and jungles of Africa, Bob returned to absorb the history and significance of ancient Egypt and the Nile with his friend Bill Valentine. It is a testament to Bob and Ruth’s character and selflessness that they encouraged their children to find their paths and to be themselves in career and life. Scott, Kris, Cole and Mark flourished because of it. Bob, even though he liked his children, hated having to move to Boise but did so following health complications in 2015. In Boise, he was close to son Scott (Gae), daughter Kris (Jim Lodge) and their families. We all lived these three-plus years together richly and with appreciation that being together was free and easy - just like always. As was his lifelong history, in Boise Bob became a dearly loved resident of a new community and found a whole new audience for his preposterous but true stories. (Yes, Crissy, Carmie, Heeb, Orv, Tybo, Leo, Flip, Pete, Shep, Hammie, Morg, Mickey and countless others really did those things, really said those things, and we doubled-over in laughter). Bob relished time with his squad of young ones and made college affordable for them by growing education funds starting when they were preschoolers. Scott’s, Kris’ and Cole’s lives brought Bob the glow of grandparenthood, starting with Pete, whose name echoed generations of “Pete” Peyrons before him. Soon, Hilary (Todd Heist) and Quinn Smith (Anaka Shockley) joined Scott’s team. Kris and her husband Jim Lodge raised the distinctive Clark, Kristi and Collin Lodge. Cole and his spouse Janet Peyron coached Hoosiers Tyler Roman and Chad and Haley Peyron - as well as brothers Tyler and Kyle - to love the West and they always will. Son Mark and his partner Paula Meckel created a rich life in Bellingham, Washington and beyond with outstanding careers, dear adventurer friends and an ardent agenda of discovery. Later, Silas Heist (Hilary) and his siblings Alex and Lizzie Heist; Abram, Selah and Simon Smith; Bridger and Sawyer Lodge (Clark and his new bride Havilande Green), and Pete’s new bride, the former Hailey Walters, brought spirited, even riotous family dinners and other fun to Bob’s 90s. Life for us can no longer be as enriching as it was with Bob. Still, because he was always so quick to point up the positives and the arc of possibilities, he made sure we appreciate all of the beauty and humanity left in the world after his dear departure. _ _ _ Please join us and celebrate “Just One More With Bob” on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 6-9 pm, Meridell Park Farm and Event Center, 5754 S 5th Ave, Pocatello ID 83201.

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