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< Grief and admiration | Main | Midday: Einstein >


A little more about Bob Reha

Posted at 10:09 AM on June 11, 2007 by Melanie Sommer (1 Comments)

Forgive us if we seem a bit indulgent in talking more about our friend and colleague, Bob Reha, who died Saturday after a six-month battle with leukemia. Bob was one of the two reporters in MPR's Moorhead bureau, and a good friend to many of us here in St. Paul. He and I bonded over our mutual love of the Green Bay Packers -- he stood by our team even in its darkest days. We often traded sob stories on Monday mornings over the latest loss, and reveled in the heroics of Brett Favre.

Even when his prognosis was not very good, Bob continued the fight to beat his leukemia, reminding us all that he was "no quitter." He endured several rounds of debilitating treatment, but in the end it wasn't enough. His words to us in an email last week: "As of June 5, 2007 - I didn't make it."

So many MPR folks tried to help in whatever ways we could -- raising money, cooking food for his family, visiting him regularly. In some ways, many of us felt that if we just did one more thing, made one more visit, said one more prayer, Bob would somehow recover. As you know, though, that's not the way it works sometimes. So we say goodbye to one of the warmest, friendliest, funniest guys we have ever worked with... someone who also taught us a few things over the course of his illness.

Bob was especially close to the other MPR reporters who work in bureaus outside of St. Paul -- those in Rochester, Worthington, Bemidji, Collegeville, Duluth and Sioux Falls -- and their editors Kate Smith and Euan Kerr. You can get a fuller picture of the kind of guy Bob was by reading some of their comments about him.

"Bob wants to make sure that we laugh, hard, and often. He made sure that we did. We'll need to remember to do that. In the past few months, Bob taught us that it's really OK to say 'I love you,' especially when it really matters. 'Is this in the editor's job description?' is what he asked as I shaved his head. 'No,' I said. 'But if you like how it comes out, we can change that.' What more can there be?" -- Kate Smith

"Talking to Bob is like reading a good book. You would start on a topic but you were never sure quite where the conversation is likely to end up. Trains, fishing, football, cigars, coffee, there is always a connection if you just thought about it for a moment, and Bob is all about thinking. The tough thing about the news business sometimes is the lack of time for those long conversations, but Bob knows their value and revels in them." -- Euan Kerr

"It's one of life's rare pleasures to work each day with a colleague who is also a dear friend. A day without a belly laugh was a rare occurrence in the Moorhead bureau the past seven years. For that gift I am deeply grateful." -- Dan Gunderson, Moorhead

"I'm so proud of our friend Bob (who will forever be "Mad Dog" to me). He showed loads of courage and fought the good fight. Now the words I've been dreading to hear from Bob have come. The damn cancer has won. It'll be hard to say goodbye to this lovely character. The only thing that makes things bearable is the gentle grace that Bob has shown throughout his fight. He knew what he was up against and he did the best he could. Now he can relax. I'm most grateful that Bob is surrounded by amazing, caring people. His family and friends have stood beside him all the way to the end. With their help, Bob managed to keep his humor in a situation that's difficult to imagine." -- Tom Robertson, Bemidji

"Bob surprised me all the time, and he still does. His strength, his fortitude, I marvel at him as much in his slipping away as I did in his stories of community theatre and John Wayne movies. It's funny what people teach us when we aren't paying attention." -- Sea Stachura, Rochester

Our friend Bob knows he matters, he made a difference and that he is loved. He's told me as much. I'm not sure when the word love first came into a conversation -- I'm not even sure it's appropriate in a work environment. But the closeness we share and the love we feel are real and lasting. Life is short -- it's a lesson we are learning the hard way. But when there is love and loyalty and friendship in that life, it is a good life. Bob had a good life. He made us all smile, he made us laugh, and through his life he has made us love." -- Cara Hetland, Sioux Falls


Comments (1)


Thank you all for your kind words and friendship.

Scott M. Suhr
Nephew in law

Posted by scott m. suhr | June 14, 2007 2:42 PM