Saturday, January 28, 2012


Editor's note: The Commander, aka "my Bob," passed away January 21st at age 80 after a three week battle with pneumonia, sepsis, a heart attack, and a small stroke. He fought so very hard, but was just too weak to overcome the damage done, especially to his lungs. I was with him that Saturday afternoon and can assure you he passed peacefully.

During the summer of 2008, he lost three of his closest friends (Michael J. Kiley, Jim Freeman, and E. Berry Smith) in a matter of just two months and that weighed heavily on him. He began to think of his own time left and on March 15, 2009 wrote the following blog. He sealed it in an envelope and told me it should not be opened until he departed. I followed those instructions. It was read by his son at his interment service January 26th.

As my age clock continues to rapidly move beyond my 77th year, I have been thinking about the advisability of composing a last essay. I know not when my Lord Jesus Christ will elect to take me from this wonderful life on Earth, but one cannot know and only hope it will not be soon.

When that time comes, I want my loved ones to know that they were the most important thing in my life, and they were responsible for making my years memorable and enjoyable. The most precious things in my life have been my loving wife, Dianne, and my dear children, Kenneth and Karen, who in their own right gave me four magnificent grandchildren: Matt, Angela, Robbie and Teegan.

Looking back, there are several sad issues that have haunted me for many years, but one cannot go back. My divorce took me away from my precious children at a time they needed me, and I lost those valuable years of their early development. Their mother is to be complimented for doing a good job in their growth.

Additionally, I look back and wish that I never had my first drink of alcohol or that first cigarette. Both will negatively impact your life and health, and I paid a price for that over-indulgence. Thank God I was able to stop.

Hopefully, in my next life (I believe that something as unbelievable as life has a next chapter) I will be reunited with my wonderful parents Genevieve and Fred Kalthoff. I owe much to the quality of life I lived to their efforts in my early development. Looking back, no child could have had more wonderful years. While the Great Depression was serious, I never wanted for anything and I now know that my parents made many sacrifices to assure my lifestyle.

Highlights to the years are my summers at Culver, which influenced every part of my life to my dying day. My years at the University of Illinois were great, but Culver remained #1. The four years that I spent proudly serving in the United States Air Force were the best thing I ever did. I matured into adulthood and learned to stand on my own even in an evil, foreign land. Some days I wish I had remained in the military, because I felt it an honorable occupation and I was proud to serve our great country.

My many years in the advertising and broadcasting business led me to many marvelous experiences and travel across America and even foregin lands. After all the years of air travel, I am quite comfortable to stay on the ground, but in those many years I met many wonderful people and a few bad apples along the way. I learned from both types, but remain soured by the negative influences that used people to their own advantage. One lives and learns only from experience, but your early foundation can be counted upon to ultimately keep you on a solid track.

Looking back I cannot stress the need to maintain one's health, because once it goes bad, there is no going back. I will never forget getting that phone call one Friday evening telling my wife that she had cancer. We both pryaed and got through it with a good result. Dianne never deserved to have to suffer through that experience, and I pray that it never returns.

I never forget out dear grandson, Robbie McFeely, because he was the strongest person I ever knew. He suffered from his earliest days with a disease that could not be beaten, but never gave up and never complained. I know that God continues to cradle Robbie in his loving arms. Hopefully, I will see Robbe again and we will head directly to Marshall Field's big store along with Grandma GiGi.

My retirement has been great, and recently I found a wonderful outlet for my frustrations in the shortcomings of mankind with the creation of "F. Robert's World". I know that I tended to get too negative, but my concern for the preservation of our great United States is endless. Greed is the root cause of most our our problems, but the deterioration of basic morality is right up there, too. Lies, filth and corruption run rampant and are no longer challenged. I have come to the conclusion that life back in the 1930s, despite the Great Depression, was really better than life today. There was mutual respect and the spirit of hard work was real. Our great country is in real danger with the womb to tomb entitlement mentality ruling supreme.

I must include in this memo my friendship with both E. Berry Smith and Jim Freeman as very important to me. They were there as true friends when I needed a friend and support. I plan to buy them lunch when we next meet.

It would be wrong to exclude any mention of my great years with J. W. "Bill" Knodel. He was a friend and mentor who believed in me at a very young age. I learned much from Bill, both good and bad. Few were more complex than Bill, few had more lady friends than Bill, and no one had greater stories or Kansas expressions than "Big Bill from Kansas."

Know Karen and Ken, that I love you more than I can express. I love your mates, Mike and Alice, (Editor's note: Alice left the family in November, 2009) and the thing that makes your old Dad most proud is that you have succeeded in a very competitive world and raised magnificent children. You both have a strong moral compass that will hold you in good stead in the years ahead.

In closing, I already miss my dear wife Dianne. I owe her much, because in my later years I have been unable to do many things due to my physical restrictions. We have had one hell of a great life together and know I'll be waiting for you on the other side. Please take good care of yourself and enjoy the years that the good Lord provides you. I will be waiting no matter how long it takes for you to join me. You will always be that beautiful young girl I should have hired when I first met you, but I was very fortunate that our lives passed again and I was smart enough to snag you for many wonderful years of marriage. I love you, Dink.

It has been a great life and a beautiful ride. I wish I could do it all over again, but that is not possible. Something as unique, marvelous, beautiful and rewarding as life is precious. Enjoy every minute and every day, because someday it will all be over. I do not want it to happen, but I cannot stop the ultimate conclusion. In the meantime, I plan to fight like hell for every possible day and minute on our wonderful planet Earth.

See you on the other side.

With deep love and affection,

Frederick Robert Kalthoff
Commander Granger

1 comment:

eyesofthestreet said...

I will always remember Bob as being witty, wielding a master vocabulary, and patriotic. Bob's sense of humor was brilliant. His mastery of the English Language was enviable. The way he thoughtfully but seemingly effortlessly strung words together was astounding. In regard to his patriotism, it was not only spoken but acted upon as well. Bob encouraged others to become knowledgeable of the Constitution he so proudly served to protect. Not only was he versed in politics but encouraged others to become involved by contacting their Congressmen, as well. Bob's political knowledge lead to a fantastically written blog which kept us appraised of current events while his true personality still shone through. Bob's speaking voice commanded respect and resonated for all to hear. His love of family was evident in every conversation. His life with Dianne, his children, and his grandchildren were always favorite topics. Bob started in Broadcasting in its infancy and continued, far beyond retirement, to work to ensure high standards and integrity within the broadcasting community he so loved. Bob will be missed dearly by all who had the privilege to know him, work with him, and laugh with him.

My family was blessed to have him in our lives,
Todd Brangan