It was no April Fools’ joke to learn that Bob Gardner of Weston had passed away following a long illness on April 1.
Bob was a familiar face around town. He was a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and worked at the polls during elections and primaries.
He was very attuned to politics and was a long-standing member of the Democratic Town Committee. Bob was more than willing to not only talk the talk but walk the walk by attending protests for things he believed were wrong.
But it would be wrong to pigeonhole Bob according to his political views. He was first and foremost a proud Westonite.
He helped the town as a member of the Warm-Up Fund, assisting needy residents with heating costs. He was also a member of the town’s Emergency Response Committee, which provided significant assistance to residents during Hurricane Sandy by setting up a comfort station.
His hobbies were his family, classic cars, motorcycles, and dogs.
“Bob was a man who truly understood people,” said Dawn Egan, chairman of the Warm-Up Fund. “He was a kind, compassionate and warm person.”
Bob was a “guy’s guy” said recently retired police Chief John Troxell. “I will miss him.”
Troxell first got to know Bob after being appointed interim police chief years ago. “We spoke for about four hours and became instant friends,” Troxell said.
Troxell found Bob so easy to talk to that the pair started having lunch together once a month. Their friendship was tested in 2012 when Troxell announced suddenly he was going to retire following criticism by the then first selectman over the police department’s acquisition of two surplus Humvees without her permission. Troxell maintained he had permission from the Police Commission, a claim the commission backed up.
In a show of support, Bob and fellow Westonite Fran Goldstein circulated a petition asking Troxell to reconsider. The pair even stood in front of Weston Center in the bitter cold to collect signatures. “That was something above and beyond friendship, that was a loyalty I had to respect,” Troxell said.
The petition garnered hundreds of signatures, and based on the outpouring of public support, Troxell decided to stay. He retired in February after 36 years of service to the town. “That was because of people like Bob. He was an all-around great guy,” Troxell said.