Robert E. Kilgore
Ithaca - Dead! That's what Robert E. Kilgore, age 74, of 25 Woodcrest Avenue is.
This was Robert's (or Bob's or Kilgore's or Keldore's to his friends) favorite lede. He did not expect to see it run when he took a leap of medical faith earlier this week, after a tenacious and protracted engagement with compounding health problems. And of course, he didn't see it run, because he is, as we reported, dead.
Robert Edward Kilgore was born in Dyersburg, TN, on January 25, 1945 to Edward E. Kilgore and Vera Kay Belt Kilgore. Ed was an airline pilot and Robert (Bobby then, but not recently) came up with wide experiences of the world in Texas, Boston, Long Island, Saudi Arabia, Kansas City—wherever Trans World Airlines took them.
Trained as an engineer at Cornell, Bob settled in Ithaca to become a very early systems designer and then marketing executive; first for Babcock International and then for that rambunctious Ithaca startup, The CBORD Group. His ability to sell snow to Alaskans was widely admired.
Robert spent his professional life in marketing, but he was an inveterate tinkerer, craftsman, and artist in many media for all his years. His love of and fascination with the natural world was a consistent driving force for him, and this enamoration with physical existence was all tied up with the half century he spent in Ithaca, which he disliked least of all places.
Bob appreciated beautiful, well-made things, read widely and deeply, resisted any and all authority, trained dogs, fed the birds, ran or walked miles a day, smoked and drank like it was a contest, enjoyed and shared every form of transgressive humor, and railed against every administration left of Tenzin Gyatso. He never won Powerball, but he tried, and we have, at his request, cancelled his rumba lessons.
Those who knew Robert know that he was a man of strongly held and widely (if not gently) disbursed opinions, but also that he was generous well beyond a fault; a profoundly kind and compassionate soul. He could ever be relied upon to roundly entertain his wide acquaintances, who loved him dearly. We are comforted in our loss by the understanding that he's fiercely criticizing the accommodations, wherever he is.
Surviving him—if only just barely—are his beloved son, Benjamin, his brother John Ray, and sister Susan and their children, and his companion and very good boy, Gus. Also assorted ex-wives and hangers-on.
A Gathering to exchange war stories and amusing anecdotes of Life with Bob will be held at 25 Woodcrest Avenue, Ithaca, NY, on Wednesday, September 25, 5-7 p.m. or until the refreshments are gone. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Robert's name to the Sierra Club.