Friends and family have so often commented that Bob Torchia had a beautiful smile and a kind soul. He wanted to help people and would give to anyone. A letter from a friend is such a testament to Bob Torchia's character.
March 5, 2012. "Dear Bob, So sorry to hear you're going through such a hard time. Looking back at our school days together, I appreciate the fact that you were always friendly to me though I was actually an outsider. I remember you as a popular guy who liked to have fun and someone I enjoyed being around. Playing on the baseball team with you and the other guys is a good memory for me."
Known as Bobby Dale while growing up, he enjoyed playing football, basketball, and baseball for the OHS Indians, graduating in 1956. He spent many days fishing on the Neosho River and hunting quail throughout Labette County.
Bob received his B.A. in Business Administration from St. Mary's of the Plains, and later went into partnership with his father as part owner of Torchia Ace Hardware & Firestone.
He served in the Army Reserves and was activated during the Bay of Pigs crisis. Bob married Sondra Sue Brady on December 30, 1967, in Parsons, Kan., and adopted her daughter, Katrina. They built their home on Sunset Drive in Oswego.
Bob, Sondra and Katrina welcomed their son, Steven Robert, in November 1970. Bob served as President of the Rotary of Oswego, Oswego City Council, and Southeast Kansas Mental Health Board. At both homes in Oswego, Bob loved to garden, often yielding so much even the neighbors' refrigerators were full of vegetables.
One day in 1991, Bob and Sondra went to dinner in Chetopa after he was laid off from Diamond Coach. While there, they met some people sitting at the adjacent table who sensed their dilemma.
After praying together, the people they had just met offered Bob a job at the Great Passion Play. Later that year, Bob and Sondra moved to Eureka Springs. Bob managed the gift shops at The Great Passion Play for 10 years.
Following his desire to help people discover Eureka Springs and the surrounding Ozark areas, Bob volunteered at Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce and as later worked as a tour guide for University of Arkansas Elderhostel Program.
A rare and fast acting form of Alzheimer's, called Lewy Body Dementia, coupled with Parkinson's Disease were the afflictions that swiftly ended his life.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to St. Elizabeth Gardens, 232 Passion Play Road, Eureka Springs, AR 72632. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.nelsonfuneral.com.