Monday, November 4, 2013

#308 / Bob

Bob Lissner died on Tuesday, October 29th. I read his obituary in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and that is where this picture comes from. I certainly didn't know Bob in his Coast Guard/Navy days, and the man I remember didn't look much like this picture. He was less fresh faced. 

The Bob of my experience was a veteran teacher of government at Santa Cruz High School, and a union man, and a Democratic Party activist. Somehow, my own politics kind of rubbed Bob the wrong way, and I never knew quite why. We had a lot in common, looking back. 

I went to Stanford. So did Bob. I went to sea, as he did (though I definitely did not ship out to sea in any military capacity). Bob was a lifelong Democrat. Me, too. And Bob was also a great union supporter. Me, too, though my work history as a lawyer and elected official didn't put me in a position officially to join up, so the only time I was an actual, card-carrying union member was during my brief merchant marine stint. Now that I am teaching, and qualify, I have become a member of the American Federation of Teachers, or AFT, Bob's old union. 

My best memories of Bob are of Bob in his classroom, where I frequently came to provide my services as a kind of "guest lecturer," and as a real life example to Bob's students of the kind of politicians that Bob talked about in his classes. 

Bob believed in government, and in the idea that we, together, can create a future that meets the needs of all of us. He inspired generations of students with that message. Santa Cruz County, and the world at large, is a better place because of it.

Salutations and "thank you," Bob Lissner. 

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