Bob Lovell was a doting father and grandfather, a successful businessman, a civic leader and a man blessed with a charitable and kind heart.
No one knew him better than his loving wife of 63 years, Mary Lovell. Asked to characterize her husband in a few words, she put it simply: "Bob was a warm and caring person who never saw a charity he didn't like."
Mary and Bob met while attending the University of Oregon. She was from Astoria, as was Bob, and he remembered her name from the first grade and struck up a conversation. It didn't hurt that Mary's grandfather thought Bob "a fine young man." Granddad's instincts were good, as Bob would certainly grow to be a fine adult man as well.
After Bob earned his business degree at Harvard, he and Mary returned to Astoria, where Bob joined his father's Chevrolet dealership. It was a perfect fit. Bob was a people man and his greatest pleasure in business was helping a customer and sending them away happy. Once he even went so far as to pick up a customer's car in Portland, drive it to Astoria, put on snow tires, and then drive the car back to Portland.
Bob knew that his success was because of his customers' loyalty. He felt strongly that anyone in business should help the people in the community they served. Bob was civic-minded and charitable, and his accomplishments and dedication to Astoria and Oregon were vast and varied. He helped build the Fort Clatsop replica 50 years ago. He served as a 60-year member of the Kiwanis Club and as a port commissioner. He served on the board of the Columbia River Maritime Museum and was active with the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce. He also served as a director for the Oregon Historical Society and even ran Gov. Mark Hatfield's two successful campaigns.
One of his more fun, but very accomplished contributions, was the Astoria Clowns. They led the way for the Astoria Bridge to be built and opened in 1966.
The clowns were honored in 2006 at the Astoria Regatta Grand Land Parade, with Bob enjoying every minute as the parade's Grand Marshal.
Why clowns? Well, Bob thought it would just be fun! Don Mogenson, whose dad was a fellow clown, remembered it well.
"I was the first son of a clown to be invited to join. What a fun time. ... What a man. He was a major influence on the way Astoria is today."
Helping young boys grow to be men of honor and ability was one of his greatest interests. He was a Boy Scout as a youth and as an adult carried on that tradition by serving as a Scoutmaster for 35 years, attending five national and five world jamboree events. Over those years, he helped countless young men find self-reliance and self-confidence with his constant mantra, "You can do it." Former Scout Craig Johnson remembers Bob fondly: "I appreciated Bob's calm and steady leadership. He set a great example. ... Bob was generous in sharing his vast experience with me." J. Erickson, who served as an assistant Scoutmaster, echoed that thought. "There is hardly a day goes by that I do not have, at least, a passing thought of Bob and all the young men he gave a helping hand to."
Aside from his community and business service, above all, he was a family man. Mary recalls, "He would come home from a hard day's work and still find the time and energy to play with our kids for hours while I collapsed on the couch from my work." He loved his grandchildren with no less ardor. One of his great pleasures was sitting up in bed with his grandchildren at his side reading the Sunday funnies.
Mary Lovell summed it up best when she recalled a comment from a church friend. "She said she would miss that twinkle, and I knew what she meant. Bob laughed with his eyes and it was catching. ... He always saw the good and the potential in everyone and looked at life as one great adventure."