Robert  Elliot Green
Robert Elliot Green

August 22, 1923 - December 7, 2016
Resided in Denver, CO
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Obituary

Robert E. "Bob" Green
August 22, 1923 – December 7, 2016
"Fair winds and following seas"

To say it was a remarkable life, well lived, would only start to tell the tale of this remarkable husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, patriot, leader, friend. From the day of his birth on August 22, 1923, at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, to the date of his death – Pearl Harbor Day -- December 7, 2016, after complex but successful surgery to reconstruct two broken legs, Robert E. "Bob" Green lived every moment of his life fully, passionately, full speed ahead.

Anyone who knows Bob Green knows the remarkable stories of his life. Born the third of four children to Harriet and Bernard Green, Bob's childhood was often economically challenged, yet to hear him tell the tales, it was more Oliver Twist than Grapes of Wrath. You will have heard the stories of working as a golf caddy with his brother Dick and walking home in the rain, eating the candy bars they bought with the change (as the whole dollars went to their mother toward the family's support). Bob Green believed in hard work and lived that example. He told stories of his youth selling peonies on street corners in Chicago or pumping gas at his Uncle Bob's gas station or excelling in his accounting work at the American Can Company. He won Leyden High School's accounting prize and continued to work reviewing invoices until a few weeks before his death. He played tackle on the Leyden High football team, and years later taught his children the Leyden High fight song, which they sang on family trips.

On Pearl Harbor Day, Bob enlisted in the United States Navy and attended boot camp in Farragut, Idaho, the first of many long journeys he would take in his life. He served as Storekeeper upon the destroyer USS Shaw 373, which saw duty and battle throughout the Pacific. As Storekeeper, he bartered for watches and candy bars, Hollywood movies and gedunks. Throughout it all, Bob kept his eye on the American flag and believed its strength and the strength of God brought him through. He believed in the greatness of America and Americans, loved the American flag and everything it stood for, and proudly wore his Tincan Sailor hat whenever the opportunity presented. His lucky number was 13 – the sum of the Shaw's numbers.

After his military service, Bob moved to Denver to be near his older brother Vernon. Bob joined the Colorado Mountain Club and climbed several 14, 000 foot peaks in the Colorado Rockies. He worked as a laborer and warehouseman for Public Service and Grinnell. He attended Denver University and joined the football team. Soon the rest of the family (including his mother Harriet) followed the boys to Denver and Bob went to work full time (studying at night school). Yet Bob saw the adventure in life, stopping at Sullivan's pub, where he couId get beer and a hotdog for 25 cents, on his way to night class.

It was not long before Bob met the love of his life, Mary Eleanor Szarkowski, while they were both singing in the YMCA choir. Married in February 1950, Bob and Mary were married more than fifty years, raised two daughters and now have a family of more than a dozen – children, grandchildren, spouses, great grandchildren. Theirs was a classic romance. They loved to dance together and would dance at any opportunity – at lunch to the combo playing in the Tavern at the Broadmoor, with their friends at the Dance Club, at the Bal de Ballets, when Bob served as president of the Denver Ballet. They traveled the country together, Bob making calls, Mary alternately pointing out interesting birds or sights, or dozing.

Bob worked in oilfield supply much of his life and in 1962 he started Pipe Valve and Fitting Co. With Dick Henke as his partner, they built what began as two desks and two phones in the corner of a warehouse on Blake Street into a supply business located in Denver and Salt Lake. He has been described by long-time colleague Bill Massey "as founder and president, who still stayed very much involved with the company all these years up until the day he went into the hospital last week. He was a good man, a tough and demanding leader, but a heart of gold that cared about his company and employees to the end."

Bob Green was a man of passions. He loved music – everything from Eddie Arnold's Lonesome Cattle Call to Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. He loved sitting in the dark by his lighted Christmas tree, listening to carols on the radio the whole night through. And he loved human triumphs – even on Wheel of Fortune, where he celebrated a contestant's win of $10, 000 or the car. He was passionate about Colorado, the Broncos, golf, his family – perhaps most of all, his family.

Bob Green loved family and friends. If you were his friend in high school, you were his friend now. If you were his neighbor on Fillmore Way, you were neighbor in his heart for ever more. He remembered guys with whom he played volleyball at the DAC decades ago, and he remembered all of his cousins and their children and their children's children. He loved his Texas nieces and nephews, and he loved his nephews in Colorado and in Nevada. He avidly followed his children's and grandchildren's and great grandchildren's interests and successes, and with some of his last admonitions, urged them to work hard and do good work.

Bob loved cars and kept his immaculate. He was well known at the carwash and strictly guarded against eating and drinking in his vehicle. He and Dick Henke also drove the country, making calls, and would head out well before dawn, making it to Cheyenne for breakfast. And he loved to travel, taking a series of cruises with Mary, traveling to Portugal, Spain, and Morocco.

He considered himself something of a cook – Spam omelets or a trademark version of Chop Suey or recently his salad supper that included mini-York Peppermint Patties and blue cheese dressing. Most days he would make his special sandwich – cinnamon raisin bread, port wine spreadable cheese, ham, Swiss cheese and a dill pickle spear. And he loved shrimp cocktail. He enjoyed Bobby Flay's cooking show and loved See's California Brittle and Enstrom's toffee and turtles. Even more, Bob loved ice cream, especially hot fudge sundaes. He believed in a vodka soda with a lemon twist – every day, for longevity. Bob rang in every New Year with herring and rye bread, backed by a hot fudge sundae.

A creature of patterns and loyalty, every Friday night for decades, Bob ate dinner with Julie and John Rager. They'd try new restaurants, return to favorites, and gather at the DAC to listen to the piano bar with dinner. And he'd talk his daughter Roberta through her 90 minute commute home, chatting every night for decades, right up until the Thursday before his death. He'd watch every Bronco game (don't call the house during the game!) and watch the PGA, filled with admiration for Phil Mickelson. He played golf with the same foursome, give or take, for decades at Parkhill, followed by a chocolate shake. He and Mary lived in the house on Fillmore for more than forty years.

In recent years, Bob's mobility became an issue, and he recently remarked that he had not walked without a cane since 1975. Nonetheless, he said he would have played football even with the wear-and-tear on his body, that he would not change the life he had lived, not even a little bit. He worked so hard to stay active, loved to ride an exercise bike even now.

So those of you reading this remembrance may recall these stories another way, may question some of the facts and dates, may recognize yourself between the lines. That's okay, because those of us in the family recall these variously as well. What is important is to stop, remember Bob Green and some remarkable story you have of him, and hold him and that story in your head and heart as you go forward. Bob Green – family man, businessman, patriot. Hard working, hard living, generous to a fault. Passionate, loving, a giant of a spirit from the day of his birth to the moment of his death and beyond. Well, well loved. Sadly missed. An excellent life, well lived.

Bob Green is survived by his daughters Julie Rager (John) and Roberta Green (Hal Foss), granddaughter Mary Menardi (Gary) their children Matthew and Eleanor; granddaughter Anne Ward (Keith) and their children Gary and Adam; and grandson Robert Rager (Erin). Bob's life was filled with a bountiful family and legions of friends, too numerous to list here but well-loved and fondly remembered.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Boy Scouts of America or the Little Sisters of the Poor.

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Services

Visitation
Horan & McConaty - Colorado
1091 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO US 80246
Sunday, December 18, 2016
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Recitation of Rosary
Horan & McConaty - Colorado
1091 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO US 80246
Sunday, December 18, 2016
7:30 PM
Funeral Service
Horan & McConaty - Colorado
1091 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO US 80246
Monday, December 19, 2016
10:00 AM
Cemetery
Fort Logan National Cemetery - Area "C"
3698 South Sheridan Boulevard
Denver, CO US 80235
Monday, December 19, 2016
12:15 PM
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