Mondays with Mike: Here’s to Bobbie

August 14, 2017 • Posted in Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike by

Last week Beth and Whitney and I traveled to South Carolina to attend the church service for Beth’s sister Barbara (we call her Bobbie), who died the week prior at the age of 78.

Photo of Bobbie with Beth and Mike's newborn son.

Bobbie, holding our then newborn Gus, with Bobbie’s granddaughter Jamie.

Bobbie was a lovely woman. She did not want for material things, but she never lost touch with what mattered even more to her—simple day-to-day gestures of kindness, and her spiritual life. She had a superb sense of design and color, which was on display in her home and in her wardrobe—and at our wedding, which she and her husband hosted in their glorious back yard back in 1984. (“Yard” really doesn’t do it justice. It was a small botanical garden.) She had a generosity of spirit that helped keep us afloat when Beth stayed with Bobbie when she was out of the hospital, between eye surgeries, while I went back to work in Urbana during the week. Bobbie was the oldest of the Finke siblings; she and Beth were bookends separated by 20 years, and pals to the end. I’m so lucky to have known her, and I already miss her.

It was good to be together with everyone, and as happens during these things, as conversations played out, everybody learned something new about their siblings and parents—who did what, when, etc. The collective memory is a lot better than one’s own.

And Whitney? Well, let’s just say that we convened at a lakeside house with a pier and a box that held a tennis ball. Whitney helped keep us all entertained.

During our stay in South Carolina, I avoided the news pretty successfully. We got home Friday night, and Saturday I made the mistake of checking the news as I gradually re-entered my routine.

Let’s just say the news didn’t cheer me up. I’m at a kind of loss in every way. There’s no way to reconcile the loss of a beautiful soul like Bobbie’s and that ugliness. Except remember that Bobbie did everything she could to make life a little better, so I’ll try to do what I can do, in my way, in her honor.

I’m going to start by doubling down on support for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and by leaving you with a post I wrote awhile back about hearing SPLC’s Morris Dees and Richard Cohen speak.


Karen steiner On August 14, 2017 at 7:20 pm

I remember meeting Bobbie and Harry (the lips!) and Bobbie’s beautiful garden. For the life of me I can’t remember why I was at their house or when. So sorry to hear the news. Fondly, K

Marilee On August 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Thank you Mike.

Hank On August 14, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Beautiful tribute. Thank you, Mike.

Fancy nischer On August 14, 2017 at 7:59 pm

I feel the same way ,Mike. . You can avoid the news with an awesome week of family…but the world is not a better place these days. Thanks for sharing!

Regan Burke On August 14, 2017 at 8:01 pm

I love every word, photo and video of this.

Pick On August 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Bobbie was the quintessential Finke…so generous and genuine. She set a beautiful example. Thanks for reiterating her special qualities. You are a member of a unique family. Peace and love to all.

Lois Baron On August 14, 2017 at 8:37 pm

So sorry to hear about Bobbe’s death. She sounds wonderful and it’s at time like these we have to be sure to hang on to all of the goodness in the world so that it doesn’t get drowned out.

Jennifer Fischer On August 14, 2017 at 9:10 pm

Nice tribute Mike. So sorry for you and Beth’s loss.

nancyb On August 14, 2017 at 9:37 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about Bobbie. What a nice tribute, Mike. Love seeing Whit running into the lake!

Bev On August 15, 2017 at 6:43 am

Thank you, Mike. And thank you Whitney for reminding us that can be found in the simple things.

Susie On August 15, 2017 at 9:24 am

I am so sorry for your loss! I also was blown away with your wedding and that garden!

Bev On August 15, 2017 at 10:10 am

that *joy* can be found in the simple things ….

Jean Thompson On August 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

Very sorry at the loss of your sister. And yes, let’s all support the Southern Poverty Law

Kathy Moyer On August 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Bobbie is the example we all need to remember when events are so tragic. Thanks for the
beautiful testimonial of a lovely lady.

Mike On August 15, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Thanks for all the kind words and thanks for reading. And yeah, if you were in that garden, you won’t forget it!

Nancy Faust On August 20, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Beth’s entire life was shared with Bobbie . Wonderful that you and Beth can share the love and memories you both clearly hold dear. Sincere condolences from Joe and Nancy

A thousand words are worth a picture • Beth Finke On September 1, 2017 at 8:39 am

[…] sister Bobbie died a month ago today. Mike wrote a tribute to her after we got home from her memorial service a few weeks ago. Today I’m sharing an excerpt from an […]

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