By Jordan Kimbrell, CFCA Writer/Editor
The last two weeks I have looked at many photos from around the world as the CFCA family gathered together in their communities to remember Bob Hentzen. From his funeral in Guatemala to the memorial gatherings in India, the impact Bob created in the world is clear.
Yesterday in Kansas City, we celebrated Bob’s life.
Bob grew up attending the Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist) Church in Kansas City, Mo., just a couple of miles from where our world headquarters is based.
With such a short distance to go, many of us chose to walk from the office to the church, honoring Bob with each puff of breath misting in the cool air.
After taking a group photo to commemorate the tribute, the walkers were invited on another short trip.
Paul Pearce, CFCA director of global strategy and organizer of the memorial walk, called out to the group asking if they would like to see the home Bob grew up in, just half a block away.
Visiting these places from Bob’s childhood, places I have passed regularly without a second thought, is a humbling experience.
These were the spaces that helped form a child who would grow up as such a humble, loving and inspiring man.
As I sat in a pew waiting for the Mass to start, songs from Bob’s CD played.
His voice echoed through the vaulted spaces of the church.
I kept expecting to see Bob standing next to Barclay Martin, a staff member and singer/songwriter, tuning their guitars together.
More and more people filed into the pews, tears mingling with the joy of being reunited with loved ones and friends not often seen.
During the service, Father Richard Quinn shared a story from when he and Bob were children growing up together.
He remembered Bob standing on a baseball field, in front of home plate in his catcher’s gear, shouting out directions and encouragement to his team.
Leadership was a natural talent in Bob.
Father Quinn also recalled once asking Bob how he and the other co-founders got started on all this, meaning CFCA.
Bob said, “We have a big family, a strong family and a good family, but we’re not doing enough good.”
And Bob truly reached out and made us all his family, inspiring us to do good in the world.
This became evident as we all gathered back at the CFCA office after the ceremony.
It felt like a big family reunion, with everyone sharing stories of Bob.
Ramiro Zelada, director of Sponsor Services at CFCA, shared the story of how he first met Bob.
Ramiro had gone up to Bob and addressed him as “Mr. Hentzen.”
The reply he got was, “No, I’m Bob.”
Enrique Espinosa, also from Sponsor Services, said, “[Bob] always came to my cubicle when he was in town to say ‘Hello’ and shake my hand.”
I remember seeing Bob in the office on occasion. He never expected to have his own office or to have someone give up their desk for his use.
He would set up his laptop on an available tall bookshelf and stand as he worked.
Yesterday we gathered to celebrate Bob’s life.
Just as his family has for so many years shared Bob with the rest of us and the world, so did they join with us to share their grief over his passing.
But more than that, we all shared the joy we had in knowing Bob.