The Blue Streak is going to take a break this week as we at Moxley Carmichael mourn the sudden death on Saturday of our beloved colleague, Bob Wilson.
Bob, our digital media manager, worked at Moxley Carmichael for five years. He was a wiz at what he did. He worked with almost all our clients, advising them on social media strategies and applications and helping build great websites for them. You may know him from his frequent guest appearances on local TV shows, especially on WBIR-TV, Channel 10, and on Fox 43. In fact, he was scheduled to appear on Mornings with Fox 43 today.
We will miss the skills Bob brought to our company. But more than that, we will miss Bob himself. Bob was an even-keeled, gentle guy who had true interest in people and a knack for making them feel good. He wanted to be sure everyone felt welcomed. Maria Cornelius noticed this when she joined Moxley Carmichael last year. Bob encouraged her and went out of his way every day to talk to her about one of her passions — sports. The interns loved Bob because he would check on them too, offering to bring them lunch if they were tied up on some big project during the noon break.
Bob was a coffee addict. He drank the stuff all day. The fact that the kitchen is at the opposite end of our office from where Bob’s office was gave him a great opportunity to check in with other team members all through the day as he trudged to the kitchen for refills.
Bob had an unusual approach to problem solving and it took some getting used to. Presented with a new assignment, Bob first talked about how difficult the job was going to be and why this and that solution was not going to work. Finally, after a good amount of tossing up and then shooting down various ideas, he would seize on the right approach and solve the problem. Once we figured out that this was just his method of coming to the right answer, we enjoyed watching him do it. Our creative director, Charley Sexton, perhaps the person here who was closest to Bob, does a hilarious imitation of Bob solving a problem.
It seems appropriate that I first met Bob on Twitter. It was 2008 and Bob was working for KUB at the time. He adopted the Twitter handle “@BobinMotion” because he had decided to look for a new job, one where he could make more use of his creative and social media talents. I was an avid Twitter user then and I started following Bob.
I found him to be smart and funny. Back then, when there weren’t so many people on Twitter, we used to have “Tweet-ups” — meetings, generally in bars and restaurants, where Twitter users could meet each other IRL (in real life). Bob and I met at several of these events and really liked each other. Moxley Carmichael decided to add a social media position to our staff, and Bob seemed like the perfect fit. It was one of the best hires I’ve ever made!
Bob was a devoted family man. He truly lit up when he talked about his vivacious wife, Angie, and his beautiful and athletic daughter, Grace, who is now a freshman in high school. Our hearts and prayers are with them in this awful, sad time.
At Moxley Carmichael today, there is a big empty spot. We appreciate the many condolences we have received. But nothing can stop us getting choked up when one of us turns to ask Bob to solve a computer problem or offer an opinion. It hits us like a punch in the gut to realize he is no longer here – and won’t be tomorrow.
Bob liked country music, so I will paraphrase a Carrie Underwood song: We will see you again, friend.
(Click here for a link to that great song.)
UPDATE: Services for Bob have been set. The family will receive friends from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Central Baptist Church Fountain City, 5364 N. Broadway. A memorial will begin at 4 p.m., followed by graveside services at Lynnhurst Cemetery.
UPDATE: A college fund for Bob’s daughter, Grace, has been established at First Tennessee Bank. Make checks payable to Grace Wilson. In the memo line, write “College Fund.” Mail to: First Tennessee, Attn: Pam Cockrum, P.O. Box 280, Knoxville, TN 37901. You may also go to any First Tennessee branch and say you want to make a donation to the Grace Wilson College Fund.
UPDATE: A tribute to Bob on Fox 43. Click here.
UPDATE: A tribute to Bob on WBIR. Click here.
UPDATE: News Sentinel story on Bob’s death. Click here.