Life Story for
Bob was born in Pasadena, California to Ernest and Emily Niehoff. One of three boys, Bob has remained closest to his ‘baby’ sister, Donna Alder, who still resides in Alaska. The son of an Army Warrant Officer, he ‘grew up’ nearly everywhere. Bob started kindergarten in Alaska, attended the second and third grades in Hawaii, and finished elementary school in South Carolina, where he made the high school football team—as a sixth grader. Bob also played for the Columbia Red Midgets undefeated junior league baseball team. The other teams kept trying to make him prove his age since he was so tall (and hit a homer every game). He attended part of junior high in Maryland before the family was transferred to Germany, where Bob showed his skill as a swimmer; winning meets throughout the latter part of junior high. Bob then came full circle to graduate from Anchorage High School in Alaska, where he won a ‘Golden Hammer’ award from Popular Mechanics magazine for his design of a grill constructed from a fifty-five-gallon drum. He was proud to be there when Alaska officially became the forty-ninth U.S. state.
One day an armed robber tried to rob the PX where Bob was working. Bob disarmed the robber, and his report led to the miscreant’s capture. He received a commendation--but this was not the last time Bob was a hero; he also assisted in search and rescue flights while in the Alaska Air National Guard. He served in the ANG and the USAF Reserves for a total of six years.
A little known fact about Bob is that he had a beautiful singing voice. He was a member of the Glee Club in high school, and the choir recorded an album of their songs. Bob also sang in church choirs in Thornton and Security, Colorado. Always the comedian, Bob was ready and willing to share a joke. His co-workers remember him for leaving Cheerios on their desks and saying they were ‘Swedish Donuts.’ Bob loved woodworking and building, and would often sport a wooden tie at the office.
Bob met his beautiful wife Ilene at church in Colorado Springs, and they were married in 1964. They welcomed their first daughter, Roxanne, the next year. Three years later brought another daughter, Michelle. During the girls’ youth, Bob and Ilene spent countless hours (and dollars) on involvement with the Job’s Daughters youth group. Bob offered endless joy, really bad jokes, and undying support to hundreds of young women throughout Colorado. He once cut nearly one hundred names out of wood to give as gifts to girls in leadership positions.
Bob was thrilled to gain Bob Szydlowski (Michelle) and Tim Thorvaldson (Roxanne) as sons-in-law. Bob leaves behind three grown granddaughters—Chelsea Gragg, Kesia Szydlowski, and Shelby Thorvaldson; two grown grandsons, Nick and Zach Thorvaldson; and a grandson-in-law, Skyler Gragg. Bob has been reunited with his first-born granddaughter, Alyssa Velasquez, in heaven.
Work and Volunteering:
In 1979, Bob opened a Broomfield savings and loan for Golden Savings. He ran one of the most successful new banks in the area, and went on to serve an executive role in several banks. After thirty years in the financial industry, Bob decided to enter what was then called ‘disaster planning.’ As a Certified Business Contingency Planner, Bob’s job was to plan for any type of event and be ready to prevent loss of life or business continuity. He served as director of his local chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners, and as the co-chairman of the President’s Council for the National ACP. Bob also served on numerous volunteer boards, church councils, advisory councils, the Board of Realtors, Broomfield City Council, and the Chamber of Commerce. He worked with FEMA, the Red Cross and local groups on emergency preparedness. Bob assisted with the Colorado State Emergency Center’s relocation effort for Katrina survivors. In addition, Bob taught night school training folks about savings and lending programs.
While working at Oppenheimer funds, Bob co-wrote and implemented disaster plans for the company, which were then regularly practiced by staff. When the worst imaginable event happened on September 11, 2001, this plan paid off. Oppenheimer was located on five floors of World Trade Center Tower Two. When the planes hit, the team jumped into motion and followed the evacuation plan. Not a single life was lost in the company that day. Bob was honored in Broomfield last year on the anniversary of 9/11 for his service.
A forty-six year resident of Broomfield, Bob was very proud to serve as a member of the Broomfield Home Rule Charter Commission and later as a city councilman, as a Meals on Wheels driver, a Grand Marshall of the Broomfield Days parade, on the transportation committee of the Broomfield LCC, with the Healthy Hearts lunch program, and assist his lovely wife with the Healthy Hearts Walkers group. Bob and Ilene were honored with a 2015 Heart of Broomfield award for their many years of volunteering at the senior center. Bob loved serving as an AARP Driver safety instructor for nine years, and only retired from this volunteer job when he could no longer stand up and teach.
For the last three and a half years, Bob has run an online support group for people with ICDs (implantable cardioverter-defibrillators), serving over 2500 people globally. He made friends and offered support to people all over the world through this website.
Bob will be sorely missed for his sense of humor, dedication to family, and strong support of the Broomfield community. We find peace in the fact that he is now with his Father in heaven.