When I first arrived to campus, there were many people who helped me learn about my newly adopted campus and local community. Colleagues I now consider friends helped me settle in. I immediately felt at home with the generosity of strangers.
One such stranger to me was Bob Thompson. He and his wife, Nadine Sine invited my family to their home in Fountain Hill for dinner. It is a lovely home, close to campus, with a spectacular backyard view of the Bethlehem star. I was nervous that my toddlers would break something precious, so we ate on the side porch. Throughout dinner, Bob told me stories of the people and the city of which he was very proud. We talked about art, community and civic duty.
When I would see Bob at a Music Department concert, he would always smile and want to chat a little longer; even when the house lights were dimming. He always made me want to slow down and appreciate his company.
It happens too often that we learn about the amazing life of a person after they have died. I learned more about Bob’s beautiful life by hearing other peoples’ stories. He was a champion of the youth in our community, an advocate for equal opportunity and preservation of local history. He embraced all people with generosity, respect and patience.
The community will come together to remember Bob Thompson next Tuesday in Packer Chapel. We will gather to honor a man who has done much for the city. And to learn how one man’s life touched so many.