This morning our club awoke to the sad news that our ‘legend’, our ‘patriarch, our ‘constant’, our much loved ‘Bobby‘ had passed away after a long battle with cancer. Bob was 95, a magnificent innings in every respect! Bob loved our club and we loved him back. I will never forget the images of every single senior player acknowledging and touching Bob as they left the change rooms before last year’s preliminary final. As Bob sat in his walking chair, each player thanked Bob for contribution to our club and supporters had few dry eyes!
Bob has had over 70 years of involvement at the “Hawka.’ From President in 1960 to decades as Vice President, trainer, property steward and later in life, passionate supporter, Bob saw it all and did it all. As ‘down to earth’ as anybody I’ve known, Bob left his ego at the door when he entered the rooms and just worked! From marking our the grounds with Micky to sweeping the change rooms after training and after games, Bobby was always there and was always ‘giving back.’ My first recollection of meeting Bob was in 1980 when he was vice president but also a trainer wearing his white overalls on match day. He would run out to the field, wipe the mud out of your eyes with his warm towel and bucket that he carried religiously and give you some friendly advice on how to get a kick. He would curse at Shoey from taking a chair into the showers and celebrate every win as though it was his first.
Later in life, his son in law, John, would kindly drive Bobby to the club on match days and on Thursday nights. We thank you, John, for doing that for us. Mick, Ellen and Kay would make sure he was warm and had a beer and something to eat and he would watch the game from his binoculars and revel in a club victory. Bob was a player’s man and he loved to speak to our senior players after a game and god help Clarky if he tried to stop him. Bob would tell the players why he loved our club so much and that legacy of ‘giving’ is now instilled into every single player at our club.
I feel fortunate I got to know Bob, I feel even more fortunate, that Luke, my son, has two Bob Henry Medals that Bob presented to him and I feel fortunate that his club, our club, is striving to improve and grow and that he leaves a club that is in such good shape due to the hard efforts of people like Bobby during our foundation years.
We will appropriately celebrate the life of Bob Henry at our club when the social distancing rules are relaxed to the stage where we can fill our rooms and joyously recall the life and times of our Bob. On behalf of the Club I have sent our condolences through to John and his family.
May he rest in peace.
Greg “Flash” Hannon
Senior President, BHFNC