Filling the memory bank: Daughter of Bob Willey collecting memories of father on eve of scholarship run
Willey Coyote 5K Scholarship Run
When: 9 a.m. Saturday, with race-day registration starting at 8 a.m.
Where: Glenwood Springs Middle School, 120 Soccer Field Rd., West Glenwood.
Who it benefits: Race proceeds help benefit the Bob Willey Scholarship fund. Each year, the fund awards a scholarship of $1,000 to one student in the Roaring Fork School District.
Where it goes: From the middle school parking lot, the course goes north on Soccer Field Road and turns west on Donegan Road before heading north on Mitchell Creek Road toward the Glenwood Springs Fish Hatchery. The course will then loop back to the start/finish line at the middle school.
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 on race day.
Where to register: http://www.active.com, Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop, 309 9th St. in Glenwood Springs, or Independence Run and Hike, 586 Highway 133 in Carbondale.
Information: Joe Mollica, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Cassidy Willey could write a novel based on the photos she has of her late father, Bob, if she took the time to describe them all.
Her Hotchkiss wedding to Eric Lamb in 2013 is one of the more cherished memories that include her father, a longtime teacher, runner, coach and thespian from Glenwood Springs who passed away last year following a stroke and a battle with lung cancer. She also has many more memories she’s shared with her family and friends that aren’t in pictures, but in the collective memory bank of everyone who was there.
Now she’s looking to add to her already-large collection of memories on the eve of the Willey Coyote 5K Scholarship Run — the second running of an event organized in her father’s name. When the 5-kilometer race named after her father takes place Saturday morning, Cassidy hopes more people will be willing to share any of their experiences with Bob Willey.
“This first year after his death, to say that it’s been really tough would be an understatement,” Cassidy said. “Obviously, memories fade over time. Hopefully, people still have a lot of great memories that they can share about him as a way of remembering him.”
Runners, thespians and anyone who knew Bob Willey have a chance to do that during the race, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at Glenwood Middle School at 120 Soccer Field Road in West Glenwood.
“I’ll be on hand at the race to listen to or take down any memories people might have,” she said.
The inaugural race, which was simply called the Willey Coyote 5K, drew approximately 270 registrants in an effort to aid in Bob Willey’s medical care. This year, race proceeds will fund the Bob Willey Scholarship, which will go to one student in the Roaring Fork School District who displays the kind of passion Willey displayed during his lifetime.
Cassidy said she’s received emails at email@example.com from 15 people sharing their memories. They’ve come from a variety of people, ranging from siblings to former students to former college roommates.
Cassidy’s ultimate goal is to compile each of the memories she collects into a book that can be shared with the community as well as her immediate family. She added that the impact her father had on the lives of so many people in Glenwood Springs and beyond would make such a memoir worth sharing with the community.
Bob Willey was a counselor and a performing arts instructor in the Roaring Fork School District during a teaching career that spanned more than three decades. He was a staple in numerous community theater productions and was annually part of a production put on by the Frontier Historical Society during Halloween Walks in late October. Willey played a grave digger.
He also ran in 35 of the 37 Strawberry Shortcuts until last year, when he served as an honorary starter for the 5K race. During some of those races, he would serve as the public address announcer for the race almost immediately after he finished either the 10K or 5K himself.
Cassidy has plenty of her own memories. She said her wedding in Hotchkiss was “just the perfect, magical weekend full of love that we were lucky enough to share with him.” Other memories included a time when she played an orphan in the Glenwood Middle School production of “Annie,” noting that her dad helped her overcome her shyness. She even recalled some memorable awkward moments, making note of how those moments made him special.
With any luck, she hopes a few more people will step forward to share the special moments they had with her father.
“I really just want to focus on the great life that he led,” Cassidy said. “We’ve all lost someone extremely important to us in different ways. I’d love to hear about the moments we were all able to share.”
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