On the morning of Tuesday, January 4, 2022, the best husband, dad, and friend anyone could ask for was called home by his Lord and Savior after a 7-month battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Robert J Haskin, 79, peacefully passed away in his sleep at home with his wife of 49 years by his side.
Bob was able to spend his final few days surrounded by family and friends. He passed in the best possible way, because he loved nothing more than spending time with family and friends. Bob enjoyed talking with people so much that “stranger” just meant “someone he hasn’t met yet.” If you spent more than 5 minutes with him, you already knew each other’s history because stories were his stock and trade. Bob grew up in Mission and lived in Leawood his entire life. He was a proud member of the second graduating class of Shawnee Mission East in 1960, and later from Baker University in 1965. After graduating from college, Bob enlisted in the Navy Reserves to dodge the draft— but not duty —and proudly served from 1965 – 1971. Bob then spent 25 years from 1971 – 1996 being “Bobby the Bald-Headed Fireman” for the city of Leawood, retiring as Captain. (Yes, the other firefighters wrote a song about him to be sung to the tune of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Everybody’s got jokes…But Bob loved it and was a good sport with a great sense of humor.)
Bob’s life was defined by his relationships with family and friends and self-sacrifice. Bob was always more than willing to go out of his way to lend advice or a helping hand to anyone needing assistance with any number of projects, which inevitably led to hours of unrelated conversation and telling of stories you’ve already heard multiple times. (In fact, by the time you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that the good Lord has already heard a couple of his stories more than once.) Bob particularly enjoyed helping his grandsons and their friends with tinkering projects, whether for school or for fun, and always had every tool they needed. In fact, one of his favorite projects was when he wired his grandson’s toy ATV from rear-wheel drive to four-wheel drive so it could conquer the steep slope of the yard. If Bob had the opportunity and ability to help someone, he would take it, and the guests that his family brought into his home became new family to love and serve, to the point that he became a sort of surrogate father to his son’s friends and a surrogate grandfather to his grandsons’ friends.
Bob grew up playing baseball and coached his son’s teams, even having the chance to play on the same team in 1995 in the Junior Division of the Men’s Senior Baseball League. It wasn’t lost on the team that at 52, Bob was still the best athlete on a team of kids in their late teens and early twenties. One of his popular phrases was, “Age is just a number,” and he would remind everyone, “I don’t know how I’m supposed to act at this age because I’ve never been this old before! So, I’ll keep acting like I always have.” Bob was all about fun, saying at every opportunity that he still didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. Bob had the most fun riding motorcycles with his son and long-time friend and former co-worker Denny Thomason, who also recently passed. If anything symbolized Bob, it was his Honda Goldwing. He would often joke that if his wife ever had to give him the ultimatum, “It’s me or the bike,” she wouldn’t know which one he’d choose. Bob drove his grandsons on his bike as soon and often as he could—at times carrying the youngest between him and the handlebars and the eldest in the seat behind him—sometimes going to breakfast, other times going to or from school, every place he needed to go when the weather was warm. Bob had even rigged a radio system to the bike so he could listen to his oldies (quite loudly) as he rode, and he flew a miniature American flag from one of the saddlebags to honor his country. His Goldwing mirrored his personality: adventurous, old-fashioned, classic, and patriotic.
Of course, everyone who knew him is aware that Bob was always trying to find a bargain. He spent countless hours at garage sales, hunting for deals, collecting coupons and rebates. In fact, the only reason he’s getting an obituary at all is because the funeral home offered it for free. (True story. Hey, we had to properly honor his memory!) He also collected what the rest of his family… lovingly (?)… called junk, but he considered to be backups. If one of something was good, seven had to have been better, even if six of said item didn’t work. Certainly, they could be used for spare parts to fix something else. Often, he was proven right, as the man could fix almost anything, even if it didn’t always stay fixed.
Bob was blessed to live next door to his son, daughter-in-law (though he would never consider her an in-law, in fact we’re pretty sure she was his favorite), and grandchildren for the last 8 years, and the family often enjoyed happy hours and family game nights together, especially when they functioned as basically one household during much of 2020 – 2021 when Sundays became a special day of the week spent having lunch or dinner with family – both blood and “adopted” – watching his beloved Royals, Chiefs, or NASCAR races. For every blessing Bob had, he made a point to give glory to God above, always perplexed about why God favored him so much and ever appreciative of it.
Robert was born on November 17, 1942, to Warren R and Mary Emma Lucille (James) Haskin in Kansas City, Missouri at St. Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza, where he also spent too much time being the grumbliest patient ever throughout his battle with cancer.
He is preceded in death by his amazing parents.
Robert is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Cynthia A (Major) Haskin who, when the Lord calls her home many, many years from now is bound to let Bob hear it for not sticking around long enough to give her the 50th anniversary celebration that she was looking forward to on August 12, 2022. He is also survived by his indescribably awesome son Robert J Haskin II – who may or may not be writing the majority of this obituary – and his wife Nanette G (Newcomb) Haskin of 20 years and two of his best friends, his grandsons Robert J (RJ) Haskin III and Garrett W Haskin; his loving brother Warren R Haskin II, who spent much of their childhood showing that love by almost chopping off Bob’s finger and smacking him in the eye with a baseball bat, which are two more stories that Bob would tell over and over….and over…again, and Warren’s wife Sherry (Heier) Haskin, their two daughters who Bob thought of as his kids until his son came along and ruined it for them (sorry, not sorry!), as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, and so very many friends whom he truly considered the same as family.
A small graveside service for family will be held on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 2:00 pm at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Overland Park, KS. Honorary pallbearers are Warren R Haskin II, Robert J Haskin II, Robert J Haskin III, Garrett W Haskin, Michael Major, Paul Major, and Christopher Lawlor.
A Celebration of Life memorial party will be held on his favorite holiday, Monday, July 4, 2022, at 2:00 pm at 10304 Sagamore Rd, Leawood, KS 66206 for everyone else to gather and honor his memory by cherishing each other’s company and telling the same stories over and over and over.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that in Robert’s memory you go support your local garage sales and find the best bargains possible on items you already have and share your life story with a random stranger.
To leave a message of condolence for Bob’s family or to share a special memory of Bob, click the Share Memories button above.