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
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