Oct 18, 2010
posted in Becca's life with 13 Comments


Pastor Tom articulated it well.  Bob was taken too soon.  But he lived a life pouring into the proper things, so he was able to leave a legacy of no regrets.  He invested his life in his family.  Case in point- instead of pursuing a career in professional basketball, he chose to get married and invest in being a husband and father.  One of the trademarks of the Zender family life is their weekly Sunday dinner, where Bob would whip up gourmet meals for his wife, three sons, and their families.  My friend Kristin tells me that he just kind of cooked and prepared quietly, with joy on his face, always one ear on the conversations happening as he prepared the meal.  He is often described as a gentle giant.

Patty and Bob fell in love at KState, where he was a basketball star, and so it only made sense to bury his ashes in one of his happiest places- the Flint Hills.  After a quiet service, surrounded by tall waving grass and grazing cows in the distance, a barbecue ensued with all of Bob’s favorite things- good food, family, and friends.  The Zenders gave me the incredible trust and honor of photographing Bob’s burial in the Flint Hills.  I think it is so brave to have these intensely vulnerable and personal moments photographed.  Being around a family mourning the loss of their father is so incredibly powerful.  There is just no way to get that close without being deeply affected.

I never had the opportunity to shake Bob’s hand, or sample his cooking, but he made a mark on my life as he has an innumerable amount of people.  He is an example of the kind of person I want to be- focused and centered around relationships.  And I get to see his life extending through his son Matt, who is marrying my best friend Kristin this year.  Like his dad, Matt is the strong quiet type, the most loving and serving partner, thriving in hospitality.  Thank you Zender family for inviting me into your family in such a meaningful way.

The journey itself was meaningful- felt like a pilgrimage


Patty stands with her friend, musician Funky Mama, and they share a meaningful glance before the service starts













KState Wildcats and cowboy boots were worn with Bob in mind


Here Bob’s sister shares a moment with her son.  Reminded me how much death makes we appreciate the ones that are still with us.


Patty and my friend Kristin.  I just met Patty for the first time that weekend, but she is so impressive in how she loves others.  She hugs you and looks in your eyes like you are the only person in the world.


Here are a few more words about Bob

  • WOW! Thanks for sharing. You did an amazing job of capturing all the love in the Flint Hills.
    XOXOX to the entire Zender family!

  • Diane Woodard

    Bob was a kind, loving, patient and warm, father to my daughter, Adriane. For that I am grateful. He was a loving and tender grandfather to our grandchildren. The void he leaves in our family is great. We think of “Bubba” every day, and I imagine will do so forever. I will do all I can to contribute to keeping him alive for Olivia and Charlotte.

  • Jacki G.

    You did an absolutely wonderful job in capturing the heart and spirits of the Zender family. Andrew, my co-worker, whom I refer to as “my little brother” shared this page with me today, Oct. 19, and it has moved me, and touched my heart deeply. Thank you for being there for them that day, I know these captured moments will ever remain in their cherished memories. Ms. Jacki G. CSPAC

  • missy mctamney

    What a lovely tribute to a guy who sounds like his only regret would be not being there with you at the gathering.

  • Ann Hays

    The pictures are beautiful. We were out of the country when Bob died and missed this service in the flint hills. These pictures helped bring it alive to us. We will always remember Bob, his integrity and zest for life as well as his deep voice, dimpled cheeks, welcoming smile and an always ready laugh. Weren’t we all lucky to have had him in our lives?

  • Kris

    I feel like I am there all over again. I miss my younger brother a whole bunch. Will not be the same facing the future without him. I was counting on his strength and wisdom. Will have to reach deep down in my heart and pull it out.

  • vicki westlake

    I can’t describe my feelings after seeing those beautiful photos. What a blessing to have them and share with others who could be there that day. Thank you for capturing beautiful Patty. There’s no one like her-we can all see why Bob fell in love with her!!!

  • Incredible photos depicting the love of a family for their Husband and father. Bob was an inspiration for so many of his family members and his friends. We feel so fortunate to be among his many friends and we cherish those times that we were able to spend together. Special love Patty–Bobby–Matt= and Andrew.

  • Dr. Dina Bennett

    Thank you for sharing these private moments with us. God’s blessings to the Zender family.

  • Janice Brownlee

    I’m so sorry we were unable to be there. You have been on my mind a lot. Eight years ago tomorrow I lost my best friend, my Mom, to cancer. My Dad died 22 years ago of cancer also. I’m so glad you have a wonderful family and plenty of friends to help you with your loss.

  • Matt Kenton

    Wow, great job Becca. As I was unable to be there that day, seeing this brought me as close as possible. Thank you. Much love and support to the Zenders.

  • Annehara Tatschl

    Beautiful family with much love to sustain them as they cherish all those memories of their beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend. These photos are so moving. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kate Jackson

    Beautiful photos. I can imagine that wasn’t easy. Love to you and all the Zenders.