The Story of Robert Rish

Thank you to everyone who attended the Celebration of Life for Robert, and thank you to all those who were there in spirit. Below is a recap of Robert’s celebration on Saturday, July 15th. 

We appreciate everyone who provided a story about Robert. We read them that night, and they made us cry a little and laugh a lot. If you’ve thought of a story you’d like to share for his scrapbook, you can still email it to us at Click here for an example – send us the words, and we’ll format it with pictures.

For the Celebration, we set up stations around the edges of the room to represent portions of Robert’s life. Scroll down this page to see the details of each one. And make sure to scroll to the bottom for the video with pictures from the slide show that played in the background paired with audio from the closing presentation. 

Early Life

This station represents Robert’s early life before leaving the farm for college. The blue bags on the right were for people to collect the goodies from the Snack Stories as they visited each station. If you’d like to read the Baby Ruth Snack Story, click here. If you’d like a closer view of the picture collages, click here.

College and FFA

This station represents Robert’s time at the University of South Carolina and his years as a state and then national officer in the Future Farmers of America. If you’d like to read the Snickers Snack Story, click here. If you’d like a closer view of the picture collages, click here.


This station represents Robert’s career in the Navy. If you’d like to read the water Snack Story, click here. If you’d like a closer view of the picture collages, click here.


This station represents Robert’s family, which of course includes the dogs. The picture was taken before the snacks were put out, so just imagine a wicker basket overflowing with packets of peanuts. If you’d like to read the peanuts Snack Story, click here. If you’d like a closer view of the picture collages, click here.


Robert had a lot of interests and hobbies, some of which are represented at this station. There are actually THREE Snack Stories on this table! One of them wasn’t placed yet, so again imagine a wicker basket stuffed with packages of cheddar Goldfish. If you’d like to read the Goldfish Snack Story, click here; to read the Frank’s Hot Sauce Snack Story, click here; and to read the Advent box (aka mini-bottles) Snack Story, click here. If you’d like a closer view of the picture collages, click here.

The Final Station

Robert’s Story Through Fashion

Robert’s children honored their dad’s story through some of their fashion choices. Jocelyn, the oldest and therefore always an overachiever, wore a dress and shoes with an ocean wave pattern to represent his lifelong love of the water. Her earrings were fish with the crystal being his September birthstone. The base of her ring was made of wood for his woodworking hobby, while the top of it was called ocean oasis. His middle son Brian wore one of Robert’s ties that reflected Robert’s nautical way of life. His youngest Joanna wore fish socks in a nod to another of his favorite hobbies. And Jocelyn (right) and Joanna (left) both sported patriotic nails to honor his dedication to his country. 

Robert’s Story Through Pictures

So many delightful pictures were taken of Robert over his 75.75 years. Huge thanks to those of you who sent photos to share at his Celebration! We put together a slideshow of over 450 pictures of Dad that was supposed to run for one hour and nine minutes in the background. Unfortunately, something went funky with the DVD player at Dyal, and only about ten minutes played before it kept starting over. So we’ve included the entire slideshow here if you want to remember Robert through the photos of his life.

While we didn’t video record the “official” presentation during the Celebration, we did record the audio of it. So we placed the audio of the stories shared by family and friends during the presentation (about 50 minutes) over the pictures in the slideshow, so you can watch and listen at the same time.

 Again, if you have any photos or stories of Robert that you’d like to share, send them to

And if you see a photo of Robert you’d like for your collection, send us the timestamp from the video where the picture appears, and we’ll do our best to get it to you. 

The Presentation

Chaplin Geoffry Brown – Psalm 23, Prayer

Joanna Rish – Dad loved stories Intro

Brian Rish, Joanna Rish, Jocelyn Rish – Some of Dad’s favorite things

Edwin Rish – Robert’s brother

Bill Spearman – Long-time neighbor and close friend

Fernando Arroyo – President of GeoLogics Corporation, Robert’s boss and friend

Tom Brown – Long-time neighbor and close friend

Tim Mulcare –  Division Director of GeoLogics Corporation, friend who took over for Robert when he retired

Greg Bamford, John Gemmill, Bill Boehm – Fellow National FFA Officers and dear friends

Fred Busch – GeoLogics coworker and close friend

Jocelyn Rish – Dad’s story is not ending

Chaplin Geoffry Brown – The Lord’s Prayer

Playing of Taps and Presentation of the flag, which made everyone cry 

During Robert’s last Change of Command/Retirement Ceremony, this was part of his speech:

“During my years as Commanding Officer at sea, I kept a dog-eared, well-worn, Polaroid picture taped to the locker above my small desk to constantly remind me of my mission in life – not just in the Navy. I put it up at the beginning of every patrol cycle and took it with me when we turned over the ship to the opposite crew. I had taken the picture on a sunny day from the bridge of a submarine looking astern, and the wake of the ship was the only discernable feature. It was arrow straight and stretched to the horizon without a blemish. At the bottom of the photo (where the chemicals used to be) was penned the question, ‘Am I satisfied with the wake that I’ve left behind?’”

Anyone who knew him would certainly agree, the wake he left behind is not just satisfactory, it is extraordinary.

Fair winds and following seas, Daddy.