This coming weekend I'll give a eulogy for an old friend and mentor. Bob came into my life when I was flailing around in an angry teen period, and his presence and guidance helped to keep me from going too far down a wrong path. He was a good role model, instilling or enhancing feelings in me of adventure, confidence, passion for life, and a drive to leave this world a bit better than I found it...just like every campsite we ever visited.
I was honored when his son, my oldest and dearest friend Blake and Blake's wife, Janet, asked me to write his obituary. It was more difficult than I'd expected, but I'm glad I did it. Read about Bob if you have a minute, not because reading obituaries is super fun, but because how he lived is a lesson we could all benefit from hearing once in while.
Have fun camping with God, Bob. And make sure he knows the RIGHT way to make chili, beans, and rice.
Robert Ahrens Meyer, better known as Bob Meyer The Mountain Man, left this earthly trail to go camping with God on July 10, 2018. Never was there a man who loved nature more, and never was there anyone better suited for showing such wonders to others.
Bob was born in LaGrange, Texas, August 7, 1932, the second son to Edward B. Meyer Sr. and Anna Louise Kriegel. His childhood was an idyllic one, blessed with parents who encouraged his sense of adventure and humor. Despite periods of family poverty, Bob’s love for the outdoors and passion for life fostered memories of true happiness and Texas-sized dreams. One of Bob’s earliest memories was of his first solo campout, an outing for which his mother sent him off with an iron skillet and bacon. That night Bob told God that being under His stars, hearing His sounds, and seeing His beauty was how he wanted to spend his life.
That love for nature and a drive to teach and mentor others led him along a path that included earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from Texas A&M, rising to the level of Scout Executive for Boy Scouts of America, becoming Texas’ first Supervisor of Conservation Education and a classroom teacher of Earth science, and eventually starting the camping business that fulfilled his destiny.
Meyer’s Mountain Men, a venture he launched in 1958, was the realization of Bob’s dream, combining his love for the outdoors with his ambition to mentor young men. Each summer Bob guided groups of boys camping through the western states, Canada, and Alaska, in a custom-built blue and white school bus sporting enormous elk antlers. Each trip offered adventures in hiking, rock-climbing, fishing, boating, survival skills and woodcraft. Along the way, Bob also imparted wisdom, confidence, and a passion for adventure to thousands of young men over the span of five decades. Perhaps most importantly, Bob daily demonstrated in word and action what it meant to be a strong, enthusiastic and gentle man.
Bob Meyer The Mountain Man reached his final days with a smile, in his home—aptly named Fort Meyer—surrounded by family and knowing he was loved, listening to John Denver music, flirting shamelessly, and fully confident he was going to meet his Maker able to say, “Look at what I did with all You gave me.”