All those who knew Robert were aware that he had an "alternate life" fighting crime and foreign aggressors, in either a police or military capacity. This is because, at the bottom line, he hated criminals and corrupt politicos--and he recognized that there was no difference between them. Being on the right side of the equation was important to him, and was a part of him.
While he couldn't participate, he could live a vicarious life through others who were putting check on the "world's assholes," endeavors he always respected. Many of his friends may not even realize it, but there, for the lack of some proper wiring, probably went a cross between an infantry officer and a Doc Holliday. Of those that he rubbed shoulders with at family gatherings, one brother-in-law was a Police Captain (Robert's statement that his brother-in law was Chief of Police wasn't as far out as some thought); his stepfather, a career military officer, actually flew in the airdrop of the 101st Airborne Division into Normandy in the wee morning hours of June 6, 1944, as Communications Officer for the 439th TCG (his photos appear in the book Into the Valley by Col. Charles Young); his brother (me) was involved in Federal anti-racketeering operations, and subsequently drove the lead limo in some of the White House motorcades during the Reagan Administration; and his nephew, Tom, spent 16 years in the Air Guard, serving a tour in the Middle East. Robert once expressed his personal appreciation, to me, for everyone's efforts at "keeping the world's jerks out of everyone's hair." He had a great personal solidarity with that.
Robert's empathy with the plight of people in any bad circumstance, individually or collectively, and his desire to do something about it, was a life-long characteristic, even reaching back, as his mother has testified, to his childhood. That part of him was never short-circuited.
After everything was sorted out, what was to be heard? The thing to be heard from Robert was just the thing most people needed to be told: "I love ya, Babe." And it was heard without doubt.
Many thanks for this post, Dennis. I knew about Robert's step-father's military service, but didn't know the extent of your family's service in these other ways. Certainly Robert's similar concerns were part of an ongoing "family business": he got his desire to fight for justice from the example of you others who were doing so.
I also really appreciate getting a post from someone in the family. I know that Bob had his family life, on the one hand, and his State Street life and friends on the other. The thing that links the two, now, is the fact that both will miss Bob and his brilliant spirit.
My condolences to all of you, especially to Bob's mother, whom I only met on one occasion but remember well. As the Capital Times article made clear, Bob was lucky to have such a family backing him up.