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Folks Of Interest Bob Klessig

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. My avatar is my coupe as I drove it for the past 10 years including two trips to the Austin Round Up. Bob came up to me the first year when I did the real in time posting of the road trip, shook my hand and said that was one hell of post and great job for driving all the way out. We chatted for about 1/2 hour and then he was on his way. During the chat, Bob said it was awesome to see young guys making hot rods again as he did when he was a kid. That will always stay with me as I try to carry on what the old guard would have wanted.
    stinson, bonesy, mountainman2 and 9 others like this.
  2. evil clown
    Joined: Jan 15, 2006
    Posts: 275

    evil clown
    from Verona, WI

    Bob who?? ;)

    The first time I met Bob was at Bonneville many years ago, but I felt like I already knew him from the HAMB. We've run into him many times over the years since, in all parts of the country.

    Bob & Maggie you guys know how to have fun & enjoy life! We're thinking of you . . .

    Al & Julie
  3. Regrettably, I never met Bob face to face but back a few years ago he sent me a conversation after I had gotten home from the hospital after having my shoulder replaced, he impressed me with his positive and optimistic outlook on life and love for his family.

    Sorry,I can relate any great story of exploits with Bob but I have always had eminence respect for him and never missed reading his threads when traveling. HRP
  4. Not too long after we finished the office, Bob and Maggie were on their way down from Wisconsin to the RoundUp. Bob calls and says hey, we are stopping at your office for a visit on the way. I'm not really on the most direct route from WI to Austin I don't guess and felt honored they were going to go out of their way to stop by and visit for a bit. I had to take a picture of the bugs on the front of the Chevy.....custom car guy goals..... How he remembered everyone's name and made them feel like you've been friend with him forever every time you saw him, I'll never goals......

    DSC_0234.JPG DSC_0235.JPG DSC_0233.JPG
  5. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 13,098


    Usually at events (HAMB Drags, LSR etc.,) Bob always had a crowd around him so we had just small talked for years. Seemed like every year at the Kustoms Kemps of America's Spectacular is where I had my chance to sit down and visit with him. We always had good discussions about road trips and kustoms. One of our discussions that I will never forget is when Bob was trying to teach me to quit calling wheel covers hub caps. Lol! We had a great time. During our visits I think it was more of a test to see if he could make me slip. He wouldn't admit to it but over the past years I'm getting better at it....
    Woogeroo, bonesy, Roadsir and 12 others like this.
  6. raprap
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 768

    from Ohio

    Met Bob at the 1995 Corn Roast in WI. This when I first got my 40 and he and I spent the better part of that Sat "Bench Racin'" on all the stuff I was going to do on my Chevy. We just met that morning. He invited me to join the HAMB which I did. There's so many superlative's one could say about Bob and Maggie, but Kool fits him perfectly!
    Mtn Goat, Thor1, catdad49 and 4 others like this.
  7. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,574

    from Raytown Mo

    I like this idea.

    Honestly the internet has been a hard place to be the last 24 hours with my entire feed on social media being his face on every platform for as far as I can scroll.

    I’ll go back and read the rest later but for now here’s some pictures and memories AB1DEC67-6FDC-4539-B56E-166559AD9008.jpeg 2DCAAC38-F0DC-4251-BB6A-48CC7860CEBF.jpeg CCE99220-A4AB-4ED5-A5D0-988595E648DA.jpeg 7DA3B4C9-5BAB-4E0D-B529-5116D8328645.jpeg

    These are probably early 2000’s. Two from btt50s and two from when he visited me in Lincoln when I was in college.

    I met Bob probably close to 18 years ago, I’d assume at back to the 50’s with Rocky. Like many of us we were immediately adopted and committed to memory.

    I don’t know if he had a photographic memory or just had a heart big enough for all of us but he never seemed to miss a happ birthday, and regardless of how many times I move across the country I would get a phone call any time he would be near.

    But as it is, my favorite memory of Bobk would be my first trip with my wife to the kkoa in Salina around 2010/2011.

    I had looked at a car online that was about an hour from him and before I drove out there with a trailer I gave him a holler. He went out and checked it out and invited me to kkoa in Salina in a few weeks to hear about it for the price of a beer.

    Well we drove a couple hundred miles and showed up and I was a nervous mess. For some one who talks to strangers all day for a living I get super super nervous to approach online friends. I mean it’s an awkward thing right?

    I kept seeing people I recognized but was to nervous to say hi until I saw a tent with Bobs vette in front of it. I wasn’t even under it before he boasted out that we had arrived. Introduced me to people standing around who turned out to be some of my favorite people on the planet and then told me the car I was looking at was crap lol.

    The next one I remember was another year at KKOA eating dinner with him at the Italian restaurant. My wife and I sat down to a table with Bob, Bo Huff, the alexander brothers, gene windfield and others. I recall Barris being a few tables over.

    It completely blew my mind, a table of living legends and we were welcomed in like family.

    Still trying to wrap my head around all this.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  8. Bob's Christmas card from a few years ago. HRP

  9. Bob and I met on the internet thru the HAMB right after I joined 14 years ago. After about 6 messages I had felt like I had known him forever. We met face to face at Indy Goodguys and he had this white skull that he had with him and asked my 16 yr old son to pinstripe something on it. Later, he asked him to touch him some striping on his Chevy convertible.
    We always kept in touch and would make it a point to meet and maybe even dinner at the various places we would both go to. If there ever was a "car guys' guy", it would be Bob. Always a gentleman and never forgot a name. Clearly one of the, if not the most profilic guy on the HAMB. Bob was always upbeat and had positive things to say to my wife during her couple of years she fought her cancer.
    The last time I saw Bob was in Detroit this year. We were on matching red Me for my foot injury the weekend before Detroit, and him as you could see he was beginning to slow down some. He still had a super attitude and told me that he was going to attend every function he could as long as he felt like it.
    Godspeed Bob,
    Susie, Dustin and I are so sorry for your loss. Bob's the best of the best.

    bonesy, TheFish, Mtn Goat and 4 others like this.
  10. I didn't know BobK like a lot of you but I do remember talking with him at MoKan. I believe it was 2008, my first year on the h.a.m.b., we were standing in line at the concession stand when he came up and introduced himself. As I recall, he asked if I was on the h.a.m.b. and what my board name was and then welcomed me to the h.a.m.b. and the h.a.m.b. drags. I was impressed! Somewhere, I have some pictures. If I find them, I will post.
    We should all strive to live life as he did, he was a true ambassador to the world of hot rods and kustoms. A true legend! He will be missed...
    TheFish, Tim, Mtn Goat and 2 others like this.
  11. DRD57
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,838


    032.JPG BobK.JPG BobKfishing.JPG bonneville meet and greet.jpg Ego-Rama-062.JPG Ego-Rama-134.JPG Ego-Rama-169.JPG P1130855.JPG
    I already posted these on another thread but since we are honoring him here with good memories, they go here too.

    I'll never forget the first time I met Bob. He must have known who I was and made it a point to find me and introduce himself. I had no idea who he was at the time. Jim Rivers and I were wandering around a GoodGuys event in Las Vegas and Bob comes walking straight toward us with purpose. To say I was a bit startled would be an understatement. He stuck his right hand out and in his booming voice said "Hi, I'm Bob Klessig".

    As I said somewhere else, Bob's mission in life was to meet and be friends with as many car guys as physically possible. On that he succeeded like no one else.

    We got together at events all over the country and had a blast every time.
    Woogeroo, OL 55, bonesy and 14 others like this.
  12. S.F.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,894


    I Met bob at Detroit 09, he instantly called me “STEPHEN J FIELDS!” ...-my middle initial is not J - ........he just thought it sounded good. From then on it was “STEPHEN J FIELDS!”
    Gotgas, Mtn Goat, Thor1 and 3 others like this.
  13. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,585


    I didn't know Bob from Adam then one year I invited some guys to my place for an after hours cookout during the Iola Old Car Show... maybe 2006-ish?

    Bob came strolling down to my place in his green Ragtop dragging along a motley crew of hotrodder's and friends. An improptu hot rod show on my front lawn. We talked shop, ate some steaks and drank a beer or two. Like so many others we became friends.

    I got to visit his amazing home and shop several times. He even gave me a pair of ancient Moon valve cover breathers from his stash when I mentioned I needed a couple for my project.

    When I got the idea to start what became the Symco Shakedown he was my go to insurance guy.

    The hot rod world could have done a lot worse than to have Bob Klessig as it's Official Ambassador...
    bonesy, PBRmeASAP, Mtn Goat and 5 others like this.
  14. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,332


    Bob K. was kindest, coolest, and funniest guy out there. Just like everybody else, he would greet me with "How the hell are you, Mister Jay?" Every year on my birthday he would PM me a greeting and ask how I was doing... So incredibly thoughtful as always. I took this shot of the Bob the lovable lawn gnome when we met up on the salt at Bonneville in 2012.
    Tonight I'm saying prayers of comfort to his beautiful family too... BobKatBonne2012.JPG
    bonesy, Roadsir, teach'm and 7 others like this.
  15. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,091


    Bob and I are fellow Wisconsin citizens from North of Hwy 8. That, along with the fact that I had done business with Schumitsch Seed of Antigo, made it very easy for us to initiate conversation. Not that it is hard for Bob, but it can be for me.

    I saw him a lot throughout each of the past 15 or so years that I have known him. I would even run into him during the winter. Certainly at World of Wheels.

    Bob always wished me a Happy Birthday. I am certain I was not so good at returning the favor. But he didn't stop.

    This winter, he offered me a few cans of R12 Freon. He knew it would help me get my old cars cooling properly. His price was more than fair. But then he kind of kept after me to come and pick it up. Who in the heck wants to go to Antigo in mid-winter? Maybe he was just looking for some company. Unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to figure that out. And too busy to find time to make it a priority.

    So we met at World of Wheels and he brought me the Freon. He had it nicely disguised so security wouldn't get shook. We visited for a while, but then he needed to visit with the others that didn't see him as often as I.

    I expected to see him at the Lonestar Roundup. Unfortunately, he had some complications that forced him to turn around and go back home.

    I wish to thank Ryan for sharing this. I am very, very challenged when it comes to finding the right words. It is easy for me to find a reason to not say them. It is easy for me to avoid visiting a sick friend or relative. I guess that is common for those of us that are on the Spectrum with Asperger's. Reading Ryan's words helped me feel better and it is comforting to know that I am not the only one that struggles in this fashion. I am glad Ryan overcame his fear and uncomfortable feelings and dialed Bob's number. I was not so brave.

    Have a great trip Son!

    PS: my condolences to Maggie and the kids. Also to longtime Bobby friend, Jeff Johnson.
    bonesy, tractorguy, Mtn Goat and 4 others like this.
  16. upload_2018-6-25_13-30-37.jpeg

    Two things that always stood out with me is Bob calling others "Son", it felt like it was fatherly advice and I payed closer attention when I heard that.

    And his profile listing his occupation as a Shepherd, he was indeed a man who was able to guide others in a particular direction and a great ambassador of the Hamb. HRP
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  17. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,542


    I think I first met Bob in person at Cowboy Bob's Pig 'n Piston show and he was redoing his blue Chevy and needed some donor doors to get rid of the power windows. I knew where some were and were able to lop them off at a junkyard for him, I was kind of honored I could do that for him since he was already such a legend.

    Later I saw him at Cheaterama, the last one at the Night Owl drive in, and he had a really good parking spot on the street, which was hard to get. I asked him how he got it and he told me he he parked his Corvette on the street in downtown Milwaukee at like 3 AM and then went back to his hotel to sleep until 8. That blew me away! No fear in using any of his cars, and his work is nice. We all remember him for his personality but he was a damn good car builder on top of that.

    I bought a DeSoto grille from him off of Facebook and got to go to his house to pick it up, checked out his garage and his awesome collection. I ended up redoing my house garage and my shop's office based on how he did his. Then earlier this year he needed a convertible top part for his Chevy and another one of my role-model/friends who lives in Brillion had one so I put them in touch, and Bob stopped at my shop on the way back for a visit and got to see it, that was cool too.

    From now on, whenever I'm worried about taking an old car out for a drive/trip I'm going to think about how Bob never worried about having a breakdown or getting his cars scratched up. When I was in his garage I think Bob mentioned that convertible having close to 200K miles on it since built and it still looked better than anything I've ever put together.
  18. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 4,399


    Awesome stuff, guys. Thanks for caring!
  19. das858
    Joined: Jul 28, 2010
    Posts: 694


    I first saw Bob at the 2010 HAMB drags , I had just discovered the HAMB about two weeks before and wasn't quite up to speed yet , so when I saw him driving around in his Chevy convertible with the HAMB personalized plates I thought to my self he must be Ryan ! Every year after that I would see him at Des Moines good guys show , Salina kkoa show and the HAMB drags , and it always brought a smile to my face .
    catdad49, Mtn Goat, Thor1 and 2 others like this.
  20. I never met Bob, but it sure sounds like I missed out. He did send me some birthday greetings over the years. He sure sounds like a bitchin guy, whom everyone loved and held as a close friend. If at the end, you have people speak highly of you, you did some things right. From reading everything on social media and here, it sounds like Bob did everything right. Godspeed friend.
    catdad49 and Thor1 like this.
  21. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    from Garner, NC

    The man holding court at the Springfield swap HAMB Drags 2012.


    I have a feeling we'll be toasting him quite frequently in a parking lot in Joplin come August.
    bonesy, Mtn Goat, catdad49 and 4 others like this.
  22. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 872

    Curt Six

    Like most of you I first knew of Bob through the HAMB. I remember him skinning up the Chevy at one of the early Jalopy Showdowns and taking it all in stride. Back then I just thought it was cool that he'd drive that beautiful custom nearly 1,000 miles one way to park it in the mud at what was, at the time, a pretty small, local show. I also remember during one of the Revivals I was driving back to Pimlico after the Friday cruise. The air was hot, my Buick was running hotter, and I was pretty overwhelmed by the stress we were all under from running that show. Then Bob comes cruising by, top down, a pile of people along for the ride, grinning the whole way. He had it figured out. I saw him at the Nationals last year when he stopped by our booth. It seemed like he was doing ok, and it was really good to hear him laughing. Ryan's post put some perspective on this whole I said, Bob had it figured out.
    Mtn Goat, catdad49, Hank37 and 3 others like this.
  23. I don't remember the first time I met Bob, he was one of those people that you kinda just always knew.
    He would always call when he was in the area and we would go to lunch and give the waitress a hard time.
    Always met up at Bonneville where Bob seemed to be in his element.
    Like Bobwop, I regret not calling Bob, fearing I might say the wrong thing, but actually knowing Bob would just turn whatever you said into a joke and not be bothered at all.
    Here's a picture of Bob and Peter Carpenter (Carps) by Bob's convert and my rpu on their way to Bonneville a few years ago.
    When you got those two together, it was non-stop goofiness!
    Sure gonna miss those times.


    bonesy, Mtn Goat, teach'm and 6 others like this.
  24. I sold B:DB a set of bomber seats back around 2004, then in 2005 I was bellied up to the bar at the Continental Club and he wandered in. We struck up a conversation that waxed and waned all over the country and over the years. I'm pretty sure he thought I was an idiot, but luckily he liked my wife, so I stayed mostly in his good books :D

    "Big A! How are you, Andrew my son?"

    I'm going to hang onto that for awhile. I hope Maggie and the Klessig family are doing ok.

    I think the is the HAMB Drags in '07...

    Woogeroo, bonesy, Roadsir and 9 others like this.
  25. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,340


    Yesterday morning, I sat down to drink a cup of coffee and check in on the outside world. I opened up Instagram and the very first post I saw was news about Bob's passing. It absolutely took the wind out of me. I've been away from this place awhile, only lurking from time to time. Clearly not enough. When I read of his passing my immediate thoughts were along the lines of, "people like BobK being the reason I love this little community of ours." Even though things have changed a bit, progressed, become more hardcore, trendy, whatever it is... the core of all this is a handful of incredible people. Incredible people that I feel fortunate to have even met and have conversations with. I only got to see Bob a few times, and I don't think I have any pictures with him, but it was always like I had known him forever when I talked to him. He truly was awesome!

    Food for thought... At the end of the day... is it really about the cars, or is it about the community surrounding the cars? (easy answer)

    Bob will be missed. RIP
    3dnsouth, warbird1, Saxman and 8 others like this.
  26. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,392

    phat rat

    I first met Bob in the parking lot of the host hotel at Nats North in the early 90's telling his Lena and Olie jokes complete with the accent. When I was picked for Ego-Rama in 05 Bob was my co-pilot. Up to that time no one had driven my cpe but me, well about the time we hit Utah he was getting pretty insistent on driving it. Finally as only he could he said "Hell I only wanted to come so I could drive this car". We had a ball as before and after the magazine thing he with all his contacts had arranged visits for us. We visited Joe Bailon, Bluto, Dick Deans shop and home, Tranny John and his Stude truck, Gene Winfield's shop. He was a great travel companion and certainly never a dull moment. As someone else said you missed out if you never visited him at home and saw his shop. He had a knack for turning nothing into something
    bonesy, Mtn Goat, catdad49 and 3 others like this.
  27. WZ JUNK
    Joined: Apr 20, 2001
    Posts: 1,669

    from Neosho, MO

    Lots of good thoughts on this thread. Everyone who knew him, thought they were his best friend. We will all miss him so much.

    He got us our room on our very first trip to Bonneville. Two years before we were there with the race car.

    I always wanted to ask him why his home town of Antigo, Wisconsin was not named Stop, Wisconsin ?

    Mtn Goat, Gotgas, catdad49 and 2 others like this.
  28. tombstone
    Joined: Jan 15, 2006
    Posts: 323

    from sk.canada

    I have been reading and thoughly enjoying all the Great remembrances of Bob, then I came across the pic of the HAMB meeting on the salt (post 41) Not that it matters but I’m in the background. I never had a chance to meet Bob at that time however. As with most folks on here I followed his postings of his many trips enjoying every word and pic. On his trip to Alaska he posted his route. On his way home he was scheduled to pass through our town . I immediately invited him to stop at my place if he had time. He replied that he would , mentioning a cold brew or two might be in order. About the time he said he would be in the area I got a call . It was Bob, his Chevy lost an a arm. Turns out he was about an hour away but I had a friend that had a shop. Long story short my friend, Brent Davies, fixed up the Chevy and Bob was ready to go. Unfortunately because of the delay he wouldn’t be able to stop for those brews as he had to get home for some appointments, and then he was heading out to B’ville, the man was a drivin’ fool ‼️. He thanked me for my assistance and that was the last we talked. Until Austin 2014 Roundup . I had flown down and as I was wandering through the show I spotted THE Chevy, and in behind holding court was Bob. We finally got to meet, shake hands , banter a bit, and once again Bob thanked me for my help . And what a pleasure it was to meet him finally!!!
    bonesy, Mtn Goat and Thor1 like this.
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,384


    Cant believe no one has mentioned his moonshine cherrys . Every where we went and seen Bob he would take me to his car trunk and give me a couple spiked cherrys!!!! Carried a quart or two all the time . A true car guy for sure , came by our shop anytime he was near Indy.....
  30. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 6,882

    Bandit Billy

    Didn't know him, never met him, but judging solely from this picture I missed out big time!
    Mtn Goat, catdad49 and Sparked like this.

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