SunBird Personalities


Bob Neuman

The first “Personality” article began July, 2005, and featured Bob Gambold, once All Conference Washington State college quarterback, professional quarterback and professional football coach.

Along the way, you read about a gentleman who had owned several hockey teams and had an arena in Ohio and booked famous entertainers when the team was on the road.

Some stories covered residents who had lived in European and South Pacific countries, undergone terrible things at the hands of the Japanese and Germans during World War II but had escaped to freedom in the United States. Some had been in concentration camps.

Others missions in distant countries. One resident flew numerous bombing runs in a B-24, and with his crew, bailed out in the South Pacific. Others were in battles like Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge or, later, Korea and Vietnam. Several World War II veterans told of the horror of battle for the very first time.

You learned of SunBird women who have made thousands of stocking caps for the homeless and those in poverty all over the world. You have met an engineer who designed the lens in our stoplights, a resident responsible for numerous SunBird shows, a family with a Hollywood actor son who played the bad guys, a man who created cabinets and beautiful furniture in a Championship garage, a professional baseball player, an airline pilot and a lady descended from royalty whose ancestors were slain by mounted Russian Cassocks flashing swords burst into their Lithuanian church.

Other biographies have included members of our SunBird governing board, world-class artists, a favorite SunBird barber, an architect, abundant vocal and instrumental entertainers, realtors, a mathematician who worked with atomic energy in Canada, pharmacist, psychologist, many former nurses, teachers, artists, a lady who had been a model, accountants, a woman who rose to prominence with Motorola and a couple who had owned several inns.

Since that day in August, 2005, I have met and written the stories of at least 150 SunBird residents who agreed to share their lives with us in our SunBird News.

You learned of many exciting places they’ve traveled and the various areas of our country, Canada and overseas where they once lived – places where others fought wars.

Since the Gambols, I was privileged to write more than 150 “Personality” articles from material told by fascinating people, whom I now consider friends. Not a single word could have been written without your trust and cooperation. So sad that the many dear volunteers have left us.

Thanks to our competent manager Layne Varney for his trust and lack of restriction that allowed me to write with complete freedom.

Thank you, Robson Publishing, for your excellent newspaper and especially two helpful employees named Chelsea and Chelsey.

My best to all our terrific residents who agreed to take a chance with my writing and every person who thought my articles might be worth a peek.

As for Velda Cooper… beware the dreaded hypodermic needle.

However, all things must end. This article marks the conclusion of “SunBird Personalities” and its little brother, “This, That and Other Stuff,” a fun column, a bit goofy at times. Maybe it delivered a laugh and occasional thoughts during five years.

In 1938, Bob Hope and Shirley Ross recorded the well-known duet, “Thanks for the Memory.” In the lyrics, we find, “…It was swell while it lasted. We did have fun and no harm done… And thank you so much.” My sentiments exactly.

Bob and Ann Neuman have been SunBird residents since 1999. You can reach him at [email protected] or 480-883-3436.