http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/si ... -beach.csp
Schroeder: ‘Beach Boy Bob’ left an indelible mark at South
BY GEORGE SCHROEDER
Appeared in print: Friday, Jul 9, 2010
The obituary ran in Thursday’s edition. In five paragraphs and 142 words, we learned that Robert L. “Bob” Hanes of Eugene died Monday of cancer. He was 62.
Hanes was a graduate of South Eugene High School. He was once a baker. He sold sporting goods, owned a vintage record store in Portland and coached the pole vault and jumps at his alma mater.
But who was Bob Hanes? It’s impossible to encapsulate in an obit. Not in a column, either. And beyond the facts, there’s no good way to measure a life’s impact.
How to explain someone known as Beach Boy Bob, and Bob the Badger — nicknames bestowed because of one of his life’s passions, and the aggressive way he attacked obstacles?
How best to describe the “heartbeat of South Eugene” High’s athletic department, a coach who was much more to his athletes. How to describe someone who was much more, in general?
Tell a couple of stories, maybe, some memories from those who knew him best. But let’s start here, with Bob’s wife Kandy:
“His passion overflowed,” she says, and can’t say much more.
There is also a growing string of e-mails, written by Bob’s friends to Kandy. In saying goodbye, they serve as introduction to a man who left an indelible mark.
“You’ve lost a husband, friend and father,” a friend writes. “The rest of us have lost ... likely the most remarkable person we’ve ever had the privilege to know.”
Who was Bob? He was one of track and field’s most ardent ambassadors in a town filled with them. Not that the general public knew his name.
A very talented athlete himself — he still ranks high on South Eugene’s all-time pole vault list — Bob remained deeply involved in the sport throughout.
He served as an official at Hayward Field events, mostly working the long and triple jump. And for more than 20 years, he coached at South and for the Raising the Bar Vault Club.
The other coaches called him Bob the Badger, and everyone described his approach, on and off the track, as intense and high-energy.
“Ornery,” says Lindsay Beard, one of his former vaulters.
“Irreplaceable,” says South Eugene track coach Jeff Hoskins.
It seemed Bob’s minivan was always at the track, where he was ready and willing to help his kids — and not just in refining technique.
Bob pushed them hard, everyone says, except when he didn’t. Once when Beard was struggling with a difficult family situation, Bob ordered her not to vault. After the meet, they talked for a long time about life; their relationship soon was more like father-daughter than coach-athlete.
“He just cared so much,” she says — and ask others, they’ll tell you the same, that Bob’s coaching was fueled by his caring.
Then there was the music. Two rooms and Bob’s garage are filled with vintage vinyl, rare reel-to-reel tracks, and so much more. And one group dominated.
“I will never hear a Beach Boys song without thinking of ‘Beach Boy Bob,’ ” writes Jivin’ Johnny Etheredge, a disc jockey at Eugene’s KRVM-FM, in one of those e-mails to Kandy.
Yeah, Bob loved the rock group’s sunny California sound, right from the start, back when he was a teenager.
“The music,” Kandy says, “touched his soul.”
Fanship morphed into more, and merged with Bob’s passion for collecting. Bob was the owner of forgotten soundtracks, an unofficial historian and archivist for the rock band he thought was the best ever formed. He hung out with Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson, and was a good friend of Wilson’s band members, and was thanked in liner notes on Wilson’s albums.
Understand, Bob’s passions overlapped.
Track friends say Bob kept talking about the Beach Boys, and religion, politics, sports and more — all with firm opinion. Music friends say Bob always talked about track, and all of those other things, too.
Bob never did talk much about himself.
They discovered the lump on his liver 18 months ago. It was an aggressive form of cancer, but friends and family say Bob fought it. And also, that he remained firmly focused on his passions.
For as long as possible, he scheduled doctors’ appointments and treatments around track. Charlie Beard, Lindsay’s brother and another of Bob’s standout vaulters, remembers once — it was in Roseburg or maybe Medford — Bob coached with a chemotherapy pump on his hip and an IV in his chest.
There’s so much more to say, and no more space. We haven’t even discussed Bob’s voracious reading habit, or really explored his dedication to all things Axemen.
Maybe we’re left with this: Bob is survived by his wife, three sons, a sister and six grandchildren. And also, by dozens more whose lives were enriched by their relationship with him.
“He was one of those people you wanted to be with, because he cared,” says former South Eugene track coach Mike Yeoman. “He just knew how to pull something out of people, no matter who.”
Feels like Bob is still pulling, doesn’t it?
A celebration of Bob Hanes’ life is scheduled July 24 at 2 p.m. in the South Eugene High School gymnasium.