Robert L. "Bob" Bluemle

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Bluemle, Robert L. "Bob"
80, retired attorney and magician, died Thursday, May 8th, surrounded by family in Williston, Vermont. The son of Orville Wesley Bluemle, newspaper editor, and Marguerite Fadely, court clerk, organist and pianist, Bob spent his youth in Anderson, Indiana, and Phoenix, Arizona. He earned his bachelor's degree and MBA at Indiana University, where he served as Student Body President and was voted outstanding graduating senior in 1955. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in 1959. In 1960, Bob moved back to Phoenix with his wife, actress Sarah Jane Miller, where he launched a long and successful career in securities and tax law and raised two daughters, Tiffany and Elizabeth. Together, Bob and Sarah also had an active creative life, hosting international theatre troupes, writing and producing variety shows for the Arizona Bar Association, and helping to found the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Known for his lightning-fast wit, mischievous sense of humor, and dashing sartorial style, Bob's greatest passions were magic, travel, photography, writing, and family. At the age of ten, Bob discovered Bert Easley's Magic Shop, and a young magician was born. Known to fellow performers as Dr. Juris and to children as "Magic Uncle Bob," Bob specialized in close-up magic and mentalism. He was an active member and officer of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians, and Ring 55 in Phoenix, and was a regular contributor to magic periodicals, including The Linking Ring and M.U.M. He also wrote film reviews and articles on travel, as well as an unpublished biography of European magician, Dr. Stanley Jaks. Bob's college stint as emcee of a USO show sparked his love of travel that included visits to over 100 countries. An intrepid adventurer, he was especially drawn to places of mystery or shamanism, among them Easter Island, Nazca, Macchu Picchu, Stonehenge, Nepal, China, Africa, and Tibet. By his own account, Bob found the greatest joy in being a husband, father, and grandfather. He was both dignified (rarely seen without a tie and blazer) and playful, whether fashioning dancing ballerinas from table napkins or pulling coins from a child's ear. An accomplished prankster while on a tour of English crop circles, Bob wielded a cleverly concealed laser pen to convince fellow tourists they were seeing a UFO. In 2001, Bob moved from Phoenix to Burlington, VT to be closer to his family. He was predeceased by his daughters' mother, Sarah Jane Miller, and his second wife, Carol Bidstrup. He is survived by his daughters, Tiffany and Elizabeth Bluemle, daughters-in-law, Liz Shayne and Josie Leavitt, and grandsons, Will and Jake Shayne (all of Burlington, VT) and his last romantic companion, Gloria Russell of California. Bob's family is grateful to the amazing Dr. Karen Sokol and to his many wonderful caregivers at Shelburne Bay, particularly his trusted friend and caregiver Elizabeth Wathugi, and the Vermont Respite House for their caring support of Bob in his final years and days. A tribute to Bob's life and spirit will be held in Burlington on Sunday, June 8th from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. in the Lake Lobby at Main Street Landing (entrance at the corner of Battery and College Streets). Please let family members know if you are planning to attend by emailing In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Vermont Respite House at 99 Allen Brook Lane, Williston, VT 05495.

Published in The Arizona Republic on May 18, 2014
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