A quiet man, Robert John made plenty of friends in Payson: the folks at the Payson Senior Center; the servers at Denny’s; workers at Walgreens and Walmart; the Meals on Wheels crew; his helper, Yvonne Webster; Helen, who checked out wildlife books for him; Linda, his caseworker; and Shelly Bacon, a dear friend to the last.

Robert John died on December 12, 2018, from com-plications with Parkinson’s disease. Playful to the end, Shelly relays that she recently brought him his favorite candy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and turned around for a moment to find his toothless guilty grin after he had “scarfed” the whole cup. She was with him on the morning he passed, reading to him from his Audubon book.

Robert John was born on February 29, 1936, in Long Island, NY, and lived for many years in rural Maine. In the mid-70s, he and his mother, Nina, moved to Payson. His younger sister, Carlota, passed away in 1996. He is survived by his nephew, Eric Young; niece, Suzanne Young (preceded in death); niece, Karina Young, and great nieces and nephews in Arizona and Colorado, and cousins in Nebraska.

Uncle Robert loved walk-ing, nature, and fishing at Woods Canyon Lake. A student of forestry, Robert loved to garden, as well, and took great pride in his tomatoes and tulips. In recent years, Shelly sometimes took him to Green Valley Lake to enjoy wildlife and the view. The doors of his mobile home were always open to kitties and squirrels, even the uninvited skunk that snuck in for some cat food. “Sweet” is the word most often used by his friends and family to describe him.

It would honor my uncle’s memory to plant a bird/bee-friendly shrub or go to a special place to simply enjoy nature. I can think of no more fitting way to honor this man of gentle demeanor.

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