Sun. Jan 21, 2018 A sad day for all of us

By on January 21st, 2018 in guest post - nick, Uncategorized

12:40pm. Bob passed away last night at the rehab center around 9pm. I had spent the afternoon with him. He was talking fairly clearly but coughing up a lot of junk from his lungs. I was at home when the rehab center called me last night. The nurse had just been in to check on him to settle him for the night. She went back in a few minutes later and he had stopped breathing. EMS got tried for everything but he was just too weak. His heart just could not take the strain of all the fluid. He had been battling that lung issue for about six weeks and it was not getting any better. The rehab facility was taking good care of him especially the respiratory folks. Frances and Al were at the rehab center when I arrived. Once the funeral home came to take him we left for their house. Al drove up about 1:15am this morning. I am doing a few things here then heading back down to WS. There will be no funeral service. My friends are mostly in Winston. His are all over the world. I will be seeing friends at Frances and Al’s on Tuesday afternoon. I will not be back up here until later this week.
Hayworth Miller Funeral Home in Winston-Salem will post his obituary sometime later today or tomorrow.

Nick, I pass the baton to you.


My sincere and heartfelt condolences to you Barbara and to your friends and family.  Bob’s death is a shocking loss.

Our continued best wishes to OFD and his family, and anyone else in our extended circle…



129 Comments and discussion on "Sun. Jan 21, 2018 A sad day for all of us"

  1. KurtB says:

    A sad day. Rest in Peace.
    You have so many more children than all of us, those you helped learn science through your kits. They will pass your legacy on to mankind.

  2. Norman says:

    My condolences to you, Barbara from across the pond.
    In the scheme of things I’m a fairly recent visitor to Bob’s site (via Jerry Pournelle), Bob’s humor and wide ranging knowledge will be missed.

  3. Dr Bob says:

    @Paddy Mcdonnell…
    Been following RBT for years since Jerry Pournelle referred. Hoping for a positive outcome to these recent health issues but so sad to read today’s news.

    Yes, it must have been a link from Jerry Pournelle that started me reading RBT, back in the days when he was building and writing about PCs. As someone else commented, it was possible to disagree with Bob without things getting out of hand, and his views were usually stimulating.

    Like Jerry, Bob will be missed.

  4. Joe Y says:

    Please accept my condolences for your loss
    I have been a fan of Roberts work for many years
    His enthusiasm for the subject and wealth of knowledge will be hard to replace

  5. ayj says:

    best regards, I read here since 90s


  6. MarvS says:

    My condolences to Barbara and the large number of friends and family in mourning, I have followed Bob and Barbara for years and helped review some early computer books. His and Jerry’s passing are a loss to the world. The legacy of their work and thoughts will continue to challenge and inspire us all to think, to question, to wxplore and to learn, I know that they are continuing their work, together in a better place,RIP.

  7. Clayton W. says:

    The world is a lesser place today. I was also one introduced to this site by Jerry Pournelle, and I bought RBT’s book largely on Jerry’s recommendation. I have read this blog nearly every day for years.

    Barbara, I hope it is some small help to know that Robert was held in such high regard by so many people. He will be sorely missed.

  8. Roger Ritter says:

    What horrible news. My deepest condolences to Barbara, and even though I never met Bob I will miss him.

    I’m so sorry and sad.

  9. JimL says:

    My deepest condolences.

    The ability to disagree without being disagreeable is/was one of the defining characteristics of Western Civilization.

    This is one of the reasons I come here. Many minds with as many opinions as minds. And people respect one another’s opinions.

    RBT will be missed.

  10. Ed says:

    My condolences to Barbara and family.

    We’ve all lost a friend and counselor here. I was too shocked to say anything yesterday, I just had to set down the tablet and walk away.

    I think I found RBT when I was building a SOTA 2.8Gh Penguin 4 box a while back. I was unsurprised to find he knew Jerry Pournelle, brilliant minds both.

    The world is a lesser place for his passing.

  11. Damn, that wasn’t supposed to happen. Despite the assurances, it sounds like the rehab center dropped the ball. As for the doctors, in hindsight, I suppose they should have let him recover fully from the pneumonia first, rather than rushing to cut him open. But modern American medicine pays well for doing procedures, and pays poorly for intelligent thinking.

  12. Kerry Liles says:

    My sincere condolences. I have been reading Bob’s blog for *years* and I am truly shocked at his passing. I will miss his keen observations and interesting analysis of the world.

  13. bcl says:

    So very sorry to hear about RBT’s death. He was an inspirational guy and I have enjoyed reading his blog for longer than I can remember. Nick, yes, I got your email. Thanks for that, since I don’t check in as regularly as I used to.

  14. Terry Lavely says:

    Barbara, so sorry for you loss. Long time lurker, like may others here, found this site via Pournelle’s blog. I’ve learned much over the years from reading the discussions here and hope they will continue in some form or another. Please add my email to the list.

  15. lynn says:

    “I disagreed with some of his opinions ”

    Lot of variations on this theme, and I’d say “Hooray!” That is what made this site different from so many others on the internet. People here could disagree, and it wouldn’t quickly descend into name calling and Godwin’s Law. The ability to disagree and still find something of value in another person and their ideas is lamentably rare.

    It was possible to have an honest discussion here and not just shout past each other.

    Amen. Kinda reminds me of those fabled old gentlemen clubs where guys went to read newspapers and hang out. And I don’t understand how it stayed that way.

  16. DadCooks says:

    @Norman Yarvin, sorry to say that is my observation and opinion too. Yes, I had higher hopes and prayed for a better outcome.

    It matters not if you believe in The Creator or not, He will decide the time and all the doctors cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    There is a lesson here folks.

    Don’t let the Medical Establishment take every last dime from you and your Estate with procedures that have really not been proven to extend life or provide quality of life. The Medical Establishment is self-serving and rare is the doctor who knows from where his skill really comes.

    A person’s life is going to end some day. Make every day the best you can and be appreciative of it.

  17. Ralph says:


    I definitely agree with your last line. Make the best of every day. That was brought home to me personally a little over a year ago. I don’t want to go into details as this isn’t the proper time or place but it is definitely the way I been living since then.

  18. Jim Fong says:

    I’ve been reading this blog at least once a week since the early/mid 90’s. It’s sad to hear of Robert’s passing. He’s been a part of my life for such a long time….my condolences to the family.

  19. Bob Mays says:

    Damn it! Barbara, I am so shocked to hear of Bob’s passing. You have my deepest condolence. Though never having met Bob I have been reading his journal for almost twenty years. He was a friend I just hadn’t met yet. I’m going to miss him.

  20. Matthew Farr says:

    My deepest condolences to Barbara.

    Another great mind silenced.

  21. lynn says:

    Don’t let the Medical Establishment take every last dime from you and your Estate with procedures that have really not been proven to extend life or provide quality of life. The Medical Establishment is self-serving and rare is the doctor who knows from where his skill really comes.

    In some cases, this is very true. My mother-in-law had about 6 or 7 heart attacks from age 38 to 56 (who counts after the first 5 or 6?). She made my father-in-law promise that he would not do anything when she had another one as her heart was 60+% dead. At age 58, she had an atrial fibrillation attack and passed out. My FIL called the paramedics and by the time they got there, she had no blood to the brain for 18 minutes. So, the doctors spent a week frittering around her brain dead body before recommending to let her go. We actually had a death panel with the neuro doc showing her brain waves while hooked up to a monitor.

    So they pulled the respirator and she started breathing on her own. It was weird, you could talk to her or touch her and her eyes would open and she would move her head but, nobody was home. So my FIL cut off her fluid drip and she passed away in three days. If my FIL had just let her go as he promised her then all of that work would have been saved. It is tough though, very tough to do that. And my FIL was a medtech, he knew she was gone and could not stop himself from calling 911.

    But other times, it is hard to know. And once you get in a hospital, it is dadgum hard to get out. The last heart incident that I had, they got my heartbeat slowed and back in rhythm with a boatload of Lopressor. And then they checked me into the hospital from the ER to run a bunch of tests. I spent the night and decided to leave. I would do the testing on my schedule at my cardiologist. After all, I knew that I had a totally plugged right coronary artery already and significant heart damage. So I told the duty nurse that I was leaving and started putting my clothes on. She ran out and got a form stating that I was leaving against medical advice. I signed it and the orderly wheeled me to the front door, I could have walked it just fine.

  22. Jojit says:

    Condolences. A great loss.

  23. John Tucker says:

    As are so many others, I am saddened and dismayed by this loss. Condolences to all, he will be missed by many.
    I had exchanged a few emails with Bob about books read and enjoyed those exchanges.

  24. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Shocked and saddened. Condolences to all of Bob’s family. He was a rare treasure and an exceptional thinker.

    I have not been here in quite a while. This was one of only two forums I ever participated in, and that began at the very start of the Daynotes gang. Life has gotten busy enough (or else I have gotten old enough) that time constraints caused me to drop out of both forums just to keep my head above water.

    This news has been the saddest to receive in quite some time. Bob touched so many lives in important ways that it is going to be a significant loss for many of us for some time to come. I am never going to take his books off my shelves. Add my best wishes to Barbara, the family, and everyone who stopped here for the challenging uplifts and discussions this place has represented.

    And my best from Tiny Town to OFD’s full recovery.

    –Chuck Waggoner

  25. SteveF says:

    Good to hear from you, Chuck.


    (or else I have gotten old enough)


  26. MrAtoz says:

    Howdy, Mr. Chuck.

  27. Julián says:

    It’s sad to get this news. I got here, like many others, it seems, from Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor. Now that they are gone is like a chapter that finishes. PCs has changed a lot in recent years but 20 years ago when I begun reading Jerry’s column and later his blog, a good advice was really welcome. Then “Building the perfect PC” was the bible. I will miss both.

  28. nick flandrey says:

    Jerry’s trouble-shooting advice that “It’s usually the cable” has served me well over the years. Some of his other observations have been as good and as long lived too.


  29. Phlogiston says:

    My condolences to Barbara and all who will miss him.
    First Jerry and now Bob….
    Thanks to those who made the world a better place.
    You will be remembered.

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