April 28, 1930 - October 19, 2020
Robert Blair “Bob” Fix
April 28, 1930 – October 19, 2020
It is with relief as well as regret that we note the passing of Robert Blair “Bob” Fix of Portland, who died in his sleep October 19th at the age of 90, after a long battle with heart disease and other health ailments.
Conceived at the close of the Roaring Twenties, Bob was born April 28, 1930 in Seattle. His grandfather was a drummer boy for the Union Army in the Civil War, his father, a Harvard Law-educated lawyer and divorce proctor in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Bob grew up reading Tom Sawyer and Robinson Crusoe, flying kites, watching Seattle Rainiers’ games at the old Sick’s Stadium, listening to Fibber McGee and Molly on the radio, and puttering about in boats on Elliot Bay and Lake Washington. With two friends, he once climbed a grain silo in the Palouse just to take in the view from the top.
He graduated from (Seattle) Franklin High School, a member of the Quakers’ class of ’48, and attended the University of Washington. He married Nancy Diane Skoglund of Seattle in 1952; they had three children, David, Diane, and Susan. Bob and Nancy also lived in Kodiak, Pasco, Beaverton, and Couer d’ Alene before spending some years in California, in Ukiah and San Rafael. They moved back to Oregon in 1990, with a home in the Belmont neighborhood of Southeast Portland. Bob and Nancy enjoyed traveling together, spending time at their numerous timeshares (especially Lake Tahoe and the Oregon coast) and visiting casinos. Bob was a devoted husband to Nancy for over 50 years.
Alone in the house following Nancy’s passing in 2003, Bob tired of watching Rachael Ray cook her latest burger or Emeril kicking it up yet another notch. At a Silver Sneakers seniors’ exercise class, he met the vivacious and familial Margery Wolford. Each of them was smitten. They ultimately lived together at Cherrywood Village Retirement Community (and later at Cherry Blossom Cottage Assisted Living). For the next ten years, the two of them enjoyed visits to the coast, and to family and friends scattered around the greater Portland-Vancouver area, Bob was beyond thankful for the marvelous inclusion he enjoyed during this later chapter in his life, which included the friendship and support of Marge’s son Dan, his wife, Nancy, and a veritable Gorge-wind-aided October leaf-fall of extended Wolford family. Marge continues to reside in Portland.
During service in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the early fifties, Bob was a reporter for the Kodiak Bear, the base newsletter. He later worked at Hanford, where he was a mail clerk and coordinated the office football pool. After a stint of some years at Boeing, the family of five moved to Beaverton the day before the JFK assassination. Bob worked as a computer programmer thereafter. He worked for many years at Computer Management Systems Inc. in Southwest Portland. Valued late in the game as a “COBOL dinosaur,” his savvy with archaic data programs was put to use in the run-up to the millennial phenomenon of Y2K. Bob worked part-time for years thereafter, ultimately retiring fully at age 86.
Throughout his remarkably long life–having had polio as a child, overcoming a debilitating stroke at 58, making it through several heart attacks, and enduring a brief and tumultuous affair with an overheated radiator he uncapped–our father instilled in us kids a strong interest in the landscape, the people, and the natural history of Oregon and the Northwest.
He named for us the Cascade peaks, and showed us our first grand fir, junco nest, mole crab, and Goodyear blimp. He pointed out the North Star and told us about loons. He took us on directionless rambles on logging roads in the Coast Range; got led by us kids up Saddle Mountain and Beacon Rock; showed us how to compost, and planted an Italian prune-plum that in subsequent years broke boughs under the weight of its bounty. He followed the Trail Blazers from their inception, and enjoyed taking in UO Lady Ducks’ hoop games on the tube. He backfolded issues of The New Yorker for sixty years.
Bob was a resourceful person, remembered for having cooled the family’s house in the hot summer of 1967 by running a rotating sprinkler on the gravel roof of the ranch-style home. The bitter winter of 1968-69 saw him trudging through three feet of snow in zero weather to help neighbors on Marjorie Lane restart furnaces and tend to pipes. With nothing else at hand, Dad adroitly flung a bucket of spent charcoal briquettes at a neighbor’s slavering Weimaraner that had leaped a backyard fence, intent on nomming our hapless Chihuahua. At the outset of many years of vacations in the little house he and Mom owned in Cannon Beach, he made use of space by constructing triple bunk beds that were cleverly interleaved across adjoining walls. He was able to get his name on his car’s vanity plate with room to spare.
Robert B. Fix was a thoughtful, intelligent, reserved, and considerate man. He had a sense of humor. His life was an uninterrupted exhibition of integrity; his family never saw him break a law. Like his father before him, he had no enemies..
Bob is survived by a son, David Fix of Arcata, California; daughter, Susan Ryan (Anthony) of Portland; grandsons Robert Mortensen of Tigard, Christopher Mortensen of Ilwaco and “granddog” Griffin. He was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Nancy, and daughter Diane, as well as father Lynwood, mother Violette, brother John, and sister Lynn.
In accordance with Dad’s wishes, he was cremated. No memorial is planned.
Our appreciation and thanks go to the caring staff at Cherry Blossom Cottage.