Posted on 05/13/2017
On April 24th, my step-father died unexpectedly from a heart attack. He had been dealing with a stomach bug and had gotten up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom (presumably to vomit). He collapsed on his way back to bed. My mother, who had been sleeping in a different room because she needed to sleep well before going to work, found him on the floor in the morning. This event was obviously very emotional, and I realized that we did not write a proper obituary or eulogy. Here is my attempt.
Bobby Lee Roy Frazier was born on July 7, 1962 and died on April 24, 2017. He is survived by his wife Joanie, sister Velda, brother David, daughter Tiffany, step-sons Josh, Donnie, and Christopher, and (step-)grandchildren Makyla, Justice, Reality, Blake, Lucas, and Elizabeth.
Bobby was very literally a simple man. He spent most of his life in an 18-wheeler, driving goods around the country. I believe he had been to all 48 continental states, most of his journeys behind the wheel of a semi-truck. He even drove some loads to Canada
and Mexico. He loved being a truck driver and loved talking about all the places he'd been and things he'd seen. Even his final visit to me in Tempe was filled with stories about how he had delivered such-and-such item to such-and-such place back in such-and-such year. Whenever anyone would call him while he was working and asked what he was doing, his response was, "Drivin' this truck." The smile on his face was obvious from the tone of his voice.
When I first met Bobby he was skinny and had a huge afro. We met at church while he was trying to get his life on track. He struggled with substance abuse and wanted to be a better person and father. He turned to God. A few years later, after he had a new haircut and added a few more pounds, he asked my mom on a date. They were married on July 4, 2001 in a small ceremony with about ten people in attendance. This was not either of their first marriage, but everyone kind of new they would be together for the rest of their lives. We were all correct.
Bobby was a very generous and loving person. I think his personality could be summed up in the following two quotes, the first from my uncle and the second from my mom: "He always had a smile for everyone" and "He always had a hug for you, whether you wanted it or not." He truly wanted everyone to be nice to each other and get along. I often hear stories about fathers and step-fathers having tense relationships. This was certainly not the case for Bobby and my dad. They were close friends and had a great relationship. In fact, many people told me that they were uncomfortable with how well they got along. I could only be thankful.
I cannot reflect on Bobby's life without remembering that it had many ups and downs. I recall speaking with him during one of his lowest moments where he said, "There is a reason I'm here and I'm going to figure out what it is." That is, even when things weren't going right for him, he always looked for the good that was going to come out of it. He found the good in that low moment, and I couldn't be prouder of him.
It is in this light that I reflect on Bobby's life, rather the end of Bobby's life. It came to such an abrupt and shocking end that I cannot help but to search for the good that will come from it. So far I have seen estranged family members speaking again and people getting their health issues in check. I'm sure it will be some time before we know exactly what good will come of this sudden tragedy, but I know Bobby would want us to find it.
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