Bob Willey passed away peacefully on July 31, 2014. He was a longtime member of the community and was deeply loved by many. His generous spirit, positivity and passion for life and relationships will never be forgotten.
Bob was born in Albert Lea, MN, on March 22, 1948, to Forrest Leo Willey and Lucille Adella Bakke. He was the second youngest of five siblings. Bob’s father, Forrest, was also a passionate educator and inspired Bob in his lifelong career as a school counselor. Bob loved kids and saw the good in everyone that he met. He valued his students and colleagues as individuals and made it a point to reach out to every person he passed in the halls of the high school and junior high. Upon moving to the valley in 1976, he taught English and Drama at Aspen High School. After receiving his Masters in psychology, he transitioned from teaching to counseling in 1979 at Glenwood Springs Junior High, Middle and then High School. After retiring in June of 2006, Bob went back to work in January because he missed the energy and flow of school. He was a counselor at Basalt High School and then Bridges High School up until his diagnosis of cancer this spring.
Bob loved the community of Glenwood Springs. He enjoyed giving back to the town in many ways — emceeing community events, acting in local performances, being involved in The Ghost Walk with the Frontier Historical Museum, coaching softball, and much more. At the softball field, Bob felt and acted like a kid again. That same child-like energy also influenced his philosophy with theatre: there is enough sadness in the world — he wanted to bring people joy and make them laugh. He was a wild man on stage in many musicals and comedies. His passion for theatre is one that he shared many times with his daughter, Cassidy. Bob loved to be surrounded by people. He enjoyed camping, playing poker, running, and having a good time with his buddies. He loved sharing the serenity of his cabin in Marble with his wife, Michele, family and friends. Of course, running brought Bob an enormous amount of joy in his lifetime. His wide network of friends was his “Colorado family.”
Above all, Bob was a wonderful husband of 39 years to Michele, and a loving, supportive father to daughters Cassidy and Betsy. His family meant the world to him and he would do anything for them. He inspired them and loved them in ways that are beyond thought and understanding. He shared with them his love of nature and the ability to see beauty and appreciate all that surrounds us. He took the time to stop and enjoy the view, look at the moon, stand in awe and wonder.
Bob is survived by wife, Michele; daughters, Betsy, Cassidy and her husband, Eric; three sisters, and one brother; along with countless other friends and family. The ripples that Bob left in the pool of life will be long felt. Peace be with you, Dad. We love you. We will love you forever.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held on Friday, August 8th, at 4 pm, at the band shelter in Two Rivers Park — rain or shine — followed by a picnic hosted by the Elks Lodge #2286 BPOE. Please wear casual, comfortable, colorful attire. Bring your own chairs/blankets. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Bob Willey Scholarship Fund at the Bank of Colorado.