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A Tribute to My Brother Rob

My brother, Rob, passed away on Saturday, August 26, after a three-month battle with Glioblastoma brain cancer. At times, toward the end of a person’s life, he/she might share valuable life-lessons. When Rob knew his time would be cut short, he didn’t disappoint. He provided heartfelt insight of his time on earth. I was asked by his wife, Patti, to “say a few words” at his funeral. Below is my ‘eulogy’ for my brother, Rob:

The 3rd chapter in the Book of Ecclesiastes opens with “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” This chapter is really about the seasons we experience in our lives – both good and bad.

How can I possibly share one, two, maybe three, poignant stories about my brother Rob in just a few minutes? I simply can’t.

Instead, I will provide my brief impressions of what I observed during Rob’s final few months while he was with us…as difficult as it may be.

Following Rob’s diagnosis and surgery in May, the reality of his longevity was no longer in question. Once he returned to Centerville from Des Moines, he wanted to spend quality time with family and friends – and many times it would involve the enjoyment of a cigar – or two, or three!

Now, to be honest, I am not a cigar aficionado – far from it. But in late June, I had the opportunity to enjoy a cigar with Rob.  During our “session,” I realized that my cigar had emboldened me to ask Rob a simple, yet possibly intrusive question – which I would attribute to my cigar being laced with a ‘truth serum!’

My question to my dying brother was simply this: “Rob, as you look back now, would you have done anything different in your life?” At that time in June, Rob’s mind was still extremely sharp, but he had great difficulty speaking, he often was only able to stitch a word or two together…which was a great source of frustration for someone who normally is very articulate with his thoughts. Rob looked at me with a resolute determination and responded, “HAVE NO REGRETS.”

Later in this same conversation, Rob was able to make a point that smoking a cigar was most satisfying or fulfilling during the final third of the cigar…I don’t know if the smoke gets thicker, smoother, or is loaded with additional flavor – but it seemed to be the best part of the cigar experience, according to Rob. I believe that Rob was making a point about his remaining time with us.

As I now look back at our simple, yet revealing discussion, I can’t help but make an analogy between Rob’s cigar experience and his own life. You see, maybe a full cigar represents one’s entire life. Each puff marks a season that defines who we ultimately become – whether by choice or by circumstances.

Once the cigar is lit, life’s journey begins, supplemented with a great amount of anticipation and hope, and yes, even peppered with setbacks and pain. Rob’s journey included countless joyous occasions, whether growing up in Fargo with his family and friends, his marriage to Patti, the birth of their four children and their marriages, and now their grandchildren. The tapestry of his life is full of so many examples.

Rob was a planter, both literally and figuratively.  We know about the greenhouse and his beautiful gardens – this was the literal part.  Every season at the greenhouse and with his garden, he would reap what he had sown.  But he also had the uncanny ability to establish (or plant) relationships with others that stood the test of time.

And, in the last few months of his life, he quickly learned that what he had sown with countless friends and acquaintances throughout his life, returned a bountiful harvest of love and cherished friendships that painted a beautiful landscape for him to enjoy. This most satisfying harvest, I truly believe, was Rob’s final puff in his life.

Patti, Liz, Pete and Alex, on behalf of our entire family and all who love Rob, thank you for taking such good care of him, especially during this most difficult time. Your love for your husband and father has been absolutely amazing!

To Rob’s friends and colleagues in Centerville and beyond, your outpouring of support and love for him has been both inspiring and gratifying – words cannot adequately express our feelings.

And, finally to Rob – thank you for sharing these life-lessons with us. You will be deeply missed.

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  1. Kevin Shetler says:


  2. Janette Fiedler says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your message was wonderfully written and a fine tribute to your brother.

  3. Kathy Krogmeier says:

    Nice, David.

  4. Brenda Plantz says:

    Tears all over again. Simply beautiful, David.

    • David Lind says:

      Thank you, Brenda. It was so wonderful to see Mark, Dena and you at Rob’s funeral. Words cannot adequately express my/our gratitude. :>)

  5. George (Corky) Rood says:

    Perfectly written and delivered by you at the funeral. Can’t imagine how hard it was for you to do this!

    • David Lind says:

      Thank you, Corky. Comparing a life to a cigar was somewhat of a stretch, but Rob’s comment about the final-third of the cigar being best was very poignant for me. :>)

  6. Paul von Ebers says:


    I am so sorry to hear about your brother’s death. Your eulogy is beautiful and I am sure he is looking out for you!


    • David Lind says:

      Paul, thank you very much. In addition to being my big brother, Rob was my dear friend.
      I hope that you are doing well!
      – David

  7. Barb Tigges says:

    David…So very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful and heartfelt message you have shared to honor and remember your brother! ❤️ Love his advice… “Have No Regrets!” As we each go through our seasons in life, what wonderful words to remember and put into action! Praying for you and that your loving memories will bring peace, comfort, and strength when you need it most. ❤️🙏🏼

    • Barb, thank you so much for your wonderful words of support! You have a special place in the hearts of the WDM Lind’s! Thank you.

  8. Kris Jensen says:

    David, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. What a wonderful tribute to him and incredibly timely advice for all of us. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Mark Colliton says:

    David. I have been recently reading your Dad’s book “Just Passing Through”. I read it many years ago but came across it again recently and decided to give it a re-read. It’s such a treasure. Growing up across the street from your family in Fargo so many years ago gave me so much inspiration even at a very young age. I clearly remember being in awe of your brothers Rob and Johnny cause they just personified “cool”;I admired them so much . Reading your tribute to Rob gives me even more insight to what a complete person he became and how much he meant to so many people. Reading your Dad,s book really makes me long to go back to those innocent days David. Your family really provided the building blocks to become the person I am today. Rob was a big part of that as well even though I’m certain he never realized he played such a role.
    Thank you too David for being part of such a tremendous family’! Mark Colliton

    • David Lind says:

      Mark, your words come at a very good time for me…our first Christmas without Rob. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to share your thoughts about Rob and our family! Dad would be so pleased that you took the time to re-read his book! Yes, I have been blessed with this family, but having the Collitons across the street put a cherry on the top of our storied past! I still consider your family as our most cherished friends – despite the relatively short time we were neighbors and our move from Fargo over 45 years ago!

      I hope that you are doing well, Mark, and certainly hope that we can visit sometime in the near future! Best wishes to you and your family in 2018 and beyond!

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