Jul 8, 2009

On the Death of Dr. Robert Brundage

oil portrait of Robert Brundage by artist LisabelleLeft: oil portrait of Robert Brundage by artist Lisabelle

It saddened me to learn late yesterday of the death of Dr. Robert Brundage, a community activist, Renaissance man, and an all-around special human being. Dr. Bob clung to life for two weeks after being attacked by a teenager who stole his bicycle, an old 10-speed worth about a dollar per gear.

I only briefly knew Robert Brundage in passing, as he was one of those people who seemed to be traveling in some of the same circles as me. Yet the many testimonials from people who knew him better help me realize what a tremendous human asset this area has lost.

As for the bike-stealing thug: I will not wish him to rot in hell, but I have no problem with an especially long sentence being doled out. Dailahntae Jemison turns 16 next month, so the job of pushing for him to be tried as an adult is easier. It would be a shame if Jemison was tried as a juvenile and he left a detention facility at age 21.

I suspect Jemison's attorney will first fight to maintain juvenile status, and if that fails, that his attorney will seek a plea bargain for manslaughter or negligent homicide. Despite my outrage over this senseless killing, it is unlikely a jury would convict the young idiot Jemison of aggravated murder in what appears to be a robbery-gone-horribly-wrong.

Yet my thoughts keep returning to Robert Brundage, a man I wish I knew better. In re-reading a bunch of his old Toledo Talk posts, I realized how much wisdom I might have gleaned from him had I become his friend.

More importantly, though: Northwest Ohio and the world lost a caring and decent man who gave so much and asked for so little in return. Dr. Bob eschewed the trappings of material wealth in favor of a simpler lifestyle, and he championed causes that benefitted everyone.

Even the teenaged Dailahntae Jemison.


annabelladonna said...

Dr. Bob will be missed. Thank you for your kind words!

historymike said...

If I could, I would rather instead to thank Dr. Bob for his work.

microdot said...

Thanks for the words on this great guy. I met him briefly a few years ago through a friend who is very politically active in North Toledo.

GTAA said...

It's nice to see him getting so much appreciation. Bob was a good friend, and had a lot left to contribute.

Personally, I had the privilege of spending some time with him just a couple days before this all happened. I made it a briefer encounter than it needed to be, though, and I'll always regret that.

He was one of the most genuinely caring, thoughtful people I've ever been lucky enough to meet. He had criticisms and concerns regarding damn near every facet of modern civilization, yet he still managed to have that optimistic attitude and that beautiful smile on his face every time I saw him.

As ready as I was to get my crowbar out and go looking for the assailant the night this happened, I was floored with the pathetic senselessness of it all when I learned it was a 15 year-old child that was responsible.

Bob, no doubt, would have had a lengthy explanation for how and why something like this could happen. Video games, poverty, asphalt roads and a generally, very sick culture all would have taken some blame, I'd bet.

This kid will be in the strange and lucky position of having friends and relatives of the victim likely coming to his defense.

And, maybe I'm just being optimistic here, but I have to believe that maybe he'll come to realize who his victim was, and what a loss this is for all of us.

-Sepp said...

All too common in this day of thug glorification.

Anonymous said...

I knew Bob when he lived in Boston. Haven't seen him for a number of years, and am very shocked to hear this news. He was a brilliant man. Whether it was bio-physics, classical music, sound engineering, or what have you, he had a wealth and depth of knowledge that ventured beyond the norm. I was fortunate enough to have his assistance on several projects and he was always very generous with his time. Rest in peace~