Bob Jarboe was my first real boss and mentor in the world of photojournalism. He taught me things that I didn't even know that I needed to know.
I can't say I did much in return, unless you consider having a slightly less bull-headed AP stringer to deal with as a favor. Man, when I think back on the stringers in Omaha, Lincoln, Des Moines, Iowa City, and Ames he had to constantly wrangle, I think there should be some type of sainthood bestowed.
Saint Bob, The Perpetually Frustrated, but Never Overly Flustered sounds about right.
I'll tell you, he did nurture some pretty good shooters in his day. What a bunch of characters he had in his crew. Weird and beautiful times. Of course, to be honest, Bob was a bit of a character himself. Maybe that explains his high level of tolerance for crazy.
All of this was secondary to his family of course. He was deeply loved and will be sorely missed. I always remember the story he told of saving his meal per diems, for something like a year, and surprising his wife Mary with a brand new (I think it was a 1964) Ford Mustang (paid in cash) for her birthday.
Here's a short obit...
DALLAS—Former Associated Press photographer Robert "Bob" Jarboe, whose career with the company spanned more than 40 years, has died. He was 85.
Jarboe died Thursday after being hospitalized with pneumonia, his daughter said Monday.
Born July 27, 1923, he grew up in Topeka, Kan. During his first semester at Kansas State University, Pearl Harbor was bombed, so Jarboe left college to work as an aircraft radio inspector for the U.S. Army and Air Force.
When World War II ended in 1945, Jarboe joined the AP in Dallas as a wire photo operator. Aside from several months he served as wire photo operator in Miami in 1946, he worked in Dallas until 1976. He then went to Des Moines, Iowa, where he was a photographer and photo editor. After he retired from AP in 1988, he and his wife returned to Dallas, living in the suburb of Richardson.
During his AP career he photographed nine presidents, Pope John Paul II and countless sporting events. He also helped cover the assassination of President Kennedy, the Jack Ruby trial and the Apollo 13 mission.
Daughter Roberta Grenfell said her father decided to retire after he spent an hour on his knees taking pictures of first lady Nancy Reagan only to find he needed help getting back up and had to get assistance from Reagan.
"He said, 'When the first lady needs to help you get up, it's time to go,'" Grenfell said.
Jarboe and his wife, Mary, had three daughters. After his retirement, the couple spent time researching their genealogies, Grenfell said.
Mary's death on Feb. 9 left Jarboe broken-hearted, said Grenfell, whose parents had been together since elementary school. "They were lifelong sweethearts," she said.
She said her father had a knack for not only making friends, but keeping them, Grenfell said. "He didn't let people slip out of his life," she said.
Besides Grenfell, Jarboe is survived by daughters Anne Jarboe and Jan Jarboe. He is also survived by two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Services are set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Restland Cemetery in Wildwood Chapel in Dallas.