Winthrop resident Bob Wilson used to always say “coming in hot!” and it seems that even in the afterlife, Bob has been able to retain that keep-you-on-your-toes mischievous spark of energy. Bob passed away late this spring, and has been remembered through a series of memorials in the valley and in the region, including his funeral at Chelan Lutheran and some eventful moments leading up to it.
Years ago, Dotti and Bob both signed up with the Neptune Society, which helps families create and execute cremation plans. When Bob died, Neptune representatives from Spokane came for him and arranged for cremation. “I was then in contact with them regarding getting the death certificate and ashes back,” says Dotti.
But three days before the planned funeral in Chelan, Neptune had not received the death certificate, so could not continue the process. Two days prior, all paperwork was in order, and Neptune mailed both paperwork and Bob back to Dotti at the Winthrop Post Office.
One day prior, Dotti checked her mail—no Bob. Dina at the Winthrop PO told Dotti it takes two days for packages from Spokane to arrive and said that if Dotti showed up at the Winthrop PO at 11 a.m. on Saturday, she would be able to claim Bob’s ashes, if they had arrived.
The funeral, however, was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in Chelan. Dotti called Pastor Palumbo, with whom she had been working on ceremony details, to break the news that Bob might not be present for the funeral, and the pastor agreed to change the service to accommodate that absence.
Now here’s where Methow kindness and straight-up serendipity kicked in. On the day of Bob’s funeral, Dotti and her daughter Sara were picking up Dotti’s son Mike at 8 a.m. to head to Chelan without Bob. As they were standing in Mike’s driveway loading up, Dotti’s phone rang. It was Louise at the Winthrop PO, saying that all certificates and Bob’s ashes had arrived, and that she would wait at the PO until Dotti could get there to pick them up. “Thus we arrived for Bob’s funeral, and so did Bob,” Dotti says, adding that the PO staff’s actions are “examples of the normal caring behavior of people in the valley.”
Another example of this kindheartedness was the Bob Wilson Memorial Bike Ride on June 16, where about 35 people showed up to ride from Bob and Dotti’s place to Steve and Leslie Harrop’s house on Wolf Creek Road. “It was all ages,” says friend and neighbor Jane Hubrig, “from Dani Golden’s youngest in a Burley trailer to [names redacted] in their mid-60s and beyond.”
Jane says, “We told stories on Steve’s front porch and toasted Bob with champagne, orange juice and lemonade.” Sparkly, sweet and slightly tart — just like Bob.
The final official memorial for Bob will be in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in August — an interment with full military honors — but the memories of Bob and the anecdotes about this compassionate and accomplished man will last long beyond that. For many around here, Bob will forever be “coming in hot.”