Broomfield Pioneer Bob Seeber Dies
One of Broomfield’s pioneers — a lifelong educator, civic volunteer and World War II veteran who committed himself to raising a family and community — died Oct. 4.
Robert “Bob” Seeber, had been the last living veteran who was a founder of the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum.
“Those guys came back from World War II determined to build families and to build community,” Seeber’s daughter, Sally Seeber Smith, said.
Seeber didn’t talk about the war at all until the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, she said. It wasn’t until that day that she saw her father cry as he talked about his best friend being killed.
“If he came out alive, he knew he was going to serve in the name of his buddies that didn’t make it back,” she said. “So many veterans felt so passionately about giving back.”
Seeber served as a sailor in the U. S. Navy where he was a radioman on the Destroyer Escort USS Eisele where he saw action in Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
After the war, Seeber attended the University of Denver on a track scholarship and the GI Bill and met Ottilie Stafford, who would turn out to be the love of his life and wife of 69 years.
In 1956, they became the 97th family to settle in Broomfield — back when houses were built before paved streets and families had to park cars on U.S. 287, put on galoshes and then trudge through the mud to their home on Garnet Street.
Even though he was 92, his death still was a shock to his family because “he was a really young 92.”
His daughter Sally, who lives in Parker, had spoken to him over the phone Thursday before heading to his home to pick him up.
“I got to chat with him one more time. I got to say ‘I’m so excited to be with you today.’ I said ‘I love you so much, daddy,’” she said.
Seeber’s oldest daughter Cindy Stricker, who lives in Broomfield, will deliver a few remarks about her father at Tuesday’s Broomfield City Council meeting. Council is expected to proclaim Oct. 13 as Bob Seeber Day.
A funeral will be held 10 a.m. Oct. 13 at the Broomfield United Methodist Church, 545 W. 10th Ave.
“He’s leaving quite a legacy,” Sally Seeber Smith said. “For Broomfield it’s a legacy of service.”
Her father started Broomfield’s first ambulance service, organized what would become Broomfield Days, and helped establish the town’s first grocery store.
“I remember as a child moving shelves in the basement of Empire Savings, which was our grocery store, on Sunday morning to have church,” she said.
One childhood memory was of Broomfield’s beauty pageant days when contestants came to their home to have pictures taken in their gowns. And another was hosting Mamie Doud Eisenhower at their home when she came to Broomfield for the library dedication when it was still in Garden Center.
In 2001, he founded the Veterans Museum along with John Atkinson, Vic Boccard, Paul Murphy, Bob Davenport and Bill Humphrey.
He stayed active with the museum and spoke to middle and high school students about Veterans Day events. On Oct. 25, the museum has planned a ceremony to celebrate its expanded space and Seeber had been invited to speak.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum, 12 Garden Center.
Seeber’s friend and neighbor Joe Weibel, who met Seeber back in the mid to late 1980s, remembered his friend as “quite the character” who had a dry sense of humor, a “good, healthy laugh” and a love of telling jokes.
He knew him as a hard-working man who sang in his church choir, served on the board of directors for the Broomfield Senior Center, and after they retired, helped his wife host a melodrama performance every year at the senior center.
“He was a person that if someone needed a little help or whatever, he would be right there to help them,” Weibel said. “I lost my driver’s license due to vision, and he would pick me up and take me to breakfast with the group that was involved with the Veterans Museum.”
A month ago, the two were out for a meal, and when Weibel went to pay the bill, a waitress told them a gentleman picked up the tab as a way to thank them for their service.
Seeber was a Heart of Broomfield Angel Award recipient in 2005, a year or two after his wife was honored at the event.
Seeber is survived by his four children and their spouses, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren. His wife passed in March.
As passionate as Seeber was about his community, he was even more passionate about his family. His family said he was an “amazing caretaker” for his wife in the years before she died, and he didn’t seem to age until she passed.
“We were the recipient of his brilliance and love,” Sally Seeber Smith said. “I lived a charmed life in Broomfield and grew up with such a sense of community. I was always so proud to be Bob and Ottilie’s daughter.”
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios