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Re: Robb

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  • Rob Rohde-Szudy
    Damn straight, Curtis. Stick with it on that Rescue Minor. I m here for you when the going gets rough. Just this last week Robb and I were agreeing that I
    Message 1 of 4 , May 19, 2006
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      Damn straight, Curtis. Stick with it on that Rescue Minor. I'm here for you when the going gets rough. Just this last week Robb and I were agreeing that I should shoot for a Shoals Runner so we can all see how that Normand Stern works. I'm determined now. I wrote a little thing for Duckworks, but the Atkin gang needs a preview:

      Requiem for Robb

      Last week was a very sad one for the small boat world. We lost one of our foremost intellects, instigators and inspirations. Robb White of Thomasville, GA, and Dog Island, FL died on May 16, 2006. Most of us know him as the prolific writer whose articles appeared regularly in Messing About in Boats and occasionally in WoodenBoat. And of course he was also an innovative boatbuilder.

      To me he was also a friend. I only had the pleasure of Robb’s acquaintance for a year or so, and was immediately struck by not only his breadth and depth of knowledge, but his generosity in sharing it. Robb and I began our correspondence as he helped develop my mechanical ideas for a future Atkin tunnel-stern project. As the only person to have built a modern version of one of these incredible boats, Robb became something of a guru to devotees both of Atkin and of shallow draft powerboats. And his inexpensive mechanical systems are a work of art. I think most of us were skeptical that those tunnel stern boats could ever perform as advertised. But Robb was not afraid to take a risk.

      Indeed, he died during surgery that he knew was risky. But I think he felt it was better to shoot for a decent repair rather than risk subjecting his family to a slow degeneration. I hope I have the courage to make the same decision if I ever have to.

      Many didn’t like Robb’s rambling writing style. It’s true that you have to dig for the pearls of wisdom, but that sort of reflects what Robb’s life has been like. Growing up almost wild, he understood hunting and gathering on an instinctive level. In reading his words we have to wander the beach in search of oysters right along with him. And we get to find the pearls along with him too.

      I think is one of Robb’s best qualities is that he never let himself get forced into being a specialist. A true Renaissance man, he was educated in marine biology, but didn’t let it make him pretentious. He was an expert with wood and epoxy, but also could invent and build a push-button quick-release prop nut more or less on a whim. He was a writer and a scholar, yet perfectly capable of walking away from civilization and living off the land whenever he wished. And most of the time he was halfway there anyway. Furthermore, his life was devoted to helping others enjoy their time on the water, through both words and hardware.

      It is rare to find such a combination of qualities in one person. I miss him greatly, and no doubt many others will as well. He leaves a much bigger wake than any of his boats do. I am more determined than ever to get around to building the Atkin Shoals Runner we were talking about … could it be only last week? I think I’ll name it “Old Een”, or something like it. (Read his book if you don’t get it.) But it will be a while before I build it. The day Robb died, and before I knew about it, I was hearing this voice in my head telling me to spend less time building boats and more time sailing with my family. Now I think I know where the voice came from. I think I’m going sailing today, and to hell with the new sail ties.

      I extend my deepest sympathies to his family, and all others he leaves behind. Robb grew up and lived out his life at the edge of the sea. I have a feeling that now he’s somewhere where he can hunt shellfish without worrying about red tides, where the fish are always biting, and where the wind is always fair. Like the little cove where he wanted to run away to. (Except there ain’t no dadblamed no-see-ums.) Or maybe they took him from us too early ‘cause they were running short on tin canoes and needed an expert. Either way, I know Robb is the sort to keep himself busy until he gets to welcome his loved ones. So until we meet again, Robb, “Give you the joy of the coast.”


      Rob Rohde-Szudy
      Madison, WI
      robrohdeszudy@...




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    • Niels
      Thanks for the Requiem Rob... I just met Mr. White two weekends ago at the Cedar Key Messabout. Did not have very long conversations him, but the ones I had
      Message 2 of 4 , May 20, 2006
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        Thanks for the Requiem Rob...
        I just met Mr. White two weekends ago at the Cedar Key Messabout.
        Did not have very long conversations him, but the ones I had were
        good.
        My last meeting with him, He just delivered his last boat to a
        customer (retiring). While they were out on the test runs out to
        the Island and back the Honda 8 flywheel started to come off or
        something like that and they retured to shore. By the way if any of
        you have the older Honda 8 check and make sure it was not recalled.
        I guss he packed up and went home as I did not see him the rest of
        the weekend.

        I will miss the Old Salt,
        Niels

        Here is the what was in the Thomasville paper:

        "Robb White, local writer and boat builder, died suddenly on
        Tuesday, May 16, 2006. He was born on June 4, 1941, in Thomasville.
        A graduate of Thomasville High School, he served in the United
        States Navy from 1959 to 1963. He attended Florida State University
        and graduated from Valdosta State University with a degree in
        biology. He taught science in Jefferson County, Fla., for 10 years.
        He is survived by his wife Jane; and his sons and daughters-in-law,
        Sam and Pam White and Wes and Erin White. He was the grandfather of
        Rosalie, Will, Neil, Rebecca Jane, Claudia and Allison White and the
        brother of June White and Barbara White. In accordance with Robb's
        wishes, after cremation his family will lay him to rest without
        ceremony. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Birdsong
        Nature Center. — Allen & Allen Funeral Home"
      • John Kohnen
        Thanks Rob, that s a very nice requiem. I also appreciate your passing Robb s last email to you on to us. That sure sounded like the Robb we knew and loved.
        Message 3 of 4 , May 22, 2006
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          Thanks Rob, that's a very nice requiem. I also appreciate your passing
          Robb's last email to you on to us. That sure sounded like the Robb we knew
          and loved. <g> Robb White was a good friend to Atkin & Co. even if he
          couldn't be made to follow the Atkin plans. <g> Mrs. Atkin's blood
          pressure may go down now that he's not around, but we'll miss the old
          Coot. My boating buddies know that being called an "old Coot" is a high
          compliment indeed around here, and Robb White richly deserved the title. I
          wish we'd had a chance to drag him to one of our messabouts... I'm sure
          going to miss the fatuous prolixity of his prose every two weeks in
          Messing About in Boats too. <sigh>

          This is what Mrs. Atkin wrote me, "Reading of Robb's death I am more then
          ever determined to live by my own code! I know you do, and it is great.
          We certainly don't know what the future holds, do we? Peace, Pat"

          Robb was drooling over Little Water before he died. I guess it's up to one
          of us to build one now.

          On Fri, 19 May 2006 08:27:21 -0700, Rob Rohde-Szudy wrote:

          > ...
          > Requiem for Robb
          > ...

          --
          John <jkohnen@...>
          As for myself, the wonderful sea charmed me from the first.
          <Joshua Slocum>
        • Rob Rohde-Szudy
          Indeed, John. But I think one of our number HAS a Little Water waiting for the right person to save it! Check the photos section. I talked to the guy last
          Message 4 of 4 , May 22, 2006
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            Indeed, John. But I think one of our number HAS a Little Water waiting for the right person to save it! Check the photos section. I talked to the guy last year, but I passed on it because I realized it draws too much water for the thin stuff near me. I seem to remember it needs a couple frames and a couple planks. It'd be a wonderful boat for someone in a little deeper water than me. (Most of the Lower Wisconsin River really does require the 6" draft of Rescue Minor/Shoals Runner. You can only drop an outboard in the narrow "main channel".)
            Best,
            --Rob

            Message 5
            From: "John Kohnen" jkohnen@...
            Date: Mon May 22, 2006 0:56am(PDT)
            Subject: Re: Robb

            Thanks Rob, that's a very nice requiem. I also appreciate your passing
            Robb's last email to you on to us. That sure sounded like the Robb we knew
            and loved. Robb White was a good friend to Atkin & Co. even if he
            couldn't be made to follow the Atkin plans. Mrs. Atkin's blood
            pressure may go down now that he's not around, but we'll miss the old
            Coot. My boating buddies know that being called an "old Coot" is a high
            compliment indeed around here, and Robb White richly deserved the title. I
            wish we'd had a chance to drag him to one of our messabouts... I'm sure
            going to miss the fatuous prolixity of his prose every two weeks in
            Messing About in Boats too.

            This is what Mrs. Atkin wrote me, "Reading of Robb's death I am more then
            ever determined to live by my own code! I know you do, and it is great.
            We certainly don't know what the future holds, do we? Peace, Pat"

            Robb was drooling over Little Water before he died. I guess it's up to one
            of us to build one now.



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