Dr. Robert Dennis was the best mentor I ever had in my life! I worked for him as a work study student 1965-69 when he was Chief Extension Agronomist for the University of Arizona and I was an undergrad.
I also worked for him summer of 1972 after I got my Master's degree in Wisconsin.
He taught me everything about running an office, how to answer the phone, how to deal with farmers in the field, how to conduct field and greenhouse research, how to file, how to write reports, in short how to be a professional in all that I did.
I spent the next 41 years of my life as an educator and there wasn't a day that went by that I was not influenced by Bob and all that he taught me!
We kept in touch all these years - Christmas cards, and occasional visits in Tucson.
My wife Kathy and I last had dinner with him at his care center in July.
He was most gracious, as is his manner, and he toasted me as the only student who still kept in touch.
We called his phone # Dec. 12 to set up a dinner date with him next week when we came to Tucson to see my mom, only to be told his phone was no longer in service.
My bowels turned to water, and sure enough, a call the care center confirmed his passing July 23.
I regret deeply that I didn't know, didn't get a chance to say goodbye one last time at his memorial service or say hello to his family that he was always so proud of!
He was more than a mentor to me, he was a friend, a father-figure, a colleague.
I will miss you, Bob! RIP