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How We're Remembered


Bob Sanford (l) and me.

Last weekend I drove to the Bay Area to attend my twin brother Bob's "Celebration of Life." His close friend, former professional baseball player Wayne Gross, along with his wife Patty, hosted the event. They welcomed around 40 of Bob's closest friends to their home, where we shared memories of Bob's personality, generosity, humor, mentorship, and friendship.


What stood out to me was how Bob's friends remembered him as a person, despite his impressive achievement of building an international software company with a presence in 80 countries. Here are a few shared memories:


"If you were Bob’s friend, he was your 4:00 AM morning person. He would do anything he could for you." This included rides to airports and dog-sitting. "I'm pretty sure he liked our dog more than us, and our dog liked him better too."


"Bob made good, lifelong friends wherever he went."


"Bob was generous. If he had it, he shared it." This was especially true in his last year. For one friend of his son David's family, he funded travel to visit them after they had moved to Texas; and arranged for her mother, who she hadn't seen in many years, to fly from South America to join them.


He routinely tipped servers with $100 bills just to make their day and he set up trusts to help others into the future. And he donated thousands of dollars to Rotary projects and other non-profits. His generosity was referred to as "Getting Bob'd."


One spoke of the time when the entire corporate staff celebrated Bob's birthday by dressing in Bob's signature outfit of khaki trousers and black polo shirts. And the women even sported fake beards that matched his. I remembered visiting him one time and he had me walk into the offices first. People did double-takes thinking he had finally shaved his beard. He took great delight by walking in 10 minutes later still sporting his full beard.


Mike Kerr, who founded Snowball Express, shared, "I knew how to drum up support and get corporations involved, but I didn’t have a clue how to handle the logistics of such an undertaking. Enter Bob Sanford."


"When I met Bob and told him about the mission, he was immediately onboard. You must understand how crucial he was to accomplishing this effort. It required tracking 900 people from the point they left their hometowns and began their journey, including flights, accommodations, and schedules, family members and even medical conditions. I had no idea how to do it. But Bob did. He handled all of it without asking for any money or recognition. The event never would have happened without him."


I shared a fun story about him negotiating with the Russian hotel company InTourist in Moscow over massive amounts of vodka. His son told about how he helped their family buy their first house.


I learned things about my brother I hadn't known before. But the most important lesson was that we're remembered not for what we do, but for how we make people feel. The legacy of the good we do for others far outweighs our professional accomplishments.

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Guest
2 days ago

Hello Ray, I met Bob in his last year through my neigbor, Vic up in Washington. Bob rolled in across the street in his RV and hung out for most of the summer at Vic's place. We met one night at the mailbox and had the most interesting conversation. We talked until the mosquitoes wouldn't let us talk anymore. That summer we had a great time getting to know each other. I still miss our summer evening talks and seeing him drive by with Vic in the golfcart on their way back home to enjoy one of Vic's wife's gourment dinners. And, you are so right about how people will remember him through how he made them feel. He mad…

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Guest
3 days ago

Ray, I am so sorry to learn of your loss. Like you, your brother sounds like a wonderful, compassionate man seeking to make this life better for others wherever he was. I lost my only brother at 54, but he is with me every day...

Blessings,

Bruce Birkeland

Laguna Niguel Rotary past president

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Guest
3 days ago
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Amazing respect, generosity, humor, and respect for all people. He set a high bar of love.

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Guest
4 days ago
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks Ray. Bob was an amazing person and a wonderful friend. His warmth and joie de vivre were his signature, his incredible fudge was a gift given to many, and his generosity knew no bounds - always willing to help in any way he could. I miss my friend. Steven

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Guest
4 days ago

Our sincere condolences on the loss of your brother. My husband has an identical twin brother. Bob sounds like he was an incredibly special human being. May his memory be eternal.

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