So for our group and for others, let me tell you a bit about Bob. I fortunately had a chance to visit with him just a few days ago, and I've found these end-of-life conversations to be remarkable in the level of honesty that occurs. I asked, "How are you thinking about things?" He said, "I've had an unbelievable 81 years. Sometimes I can't believe that I've deserved such a good life." And then I got his personal history, and learned a ton of things I hadn't known.
For one thing, he was a very accomplished musician and music publisher--not something you would ever have suspected as he deftly slipped in left-footed shots if you mistakenly permitted him to be undefended in front of the goal! This article from 2012 gives some details. An excerpt:
After a career which included working with narcotics addicts in Brooklyn; being a church musician in Fort Wayne, IN, Glens Falls, NY, Chicago and Boston, MA; choral and orchestral conductor in Cambridge, MA; and teaching at Oberlin Conservatory, Boston Conservatory of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, and Westminster Choir College, Schuneman gave up all except choral conducting to buy the company that he worked for part-time as editor, E.C. Schirmer Music Company. Since 1985, and contrary to popular opinion, he has not gotten rich as President and principal owner of ECS Publishing Company, the parent company of E.C. Schirmer Music Co., Galaxy Music Corporation, Ione Press, and Highgate Press. Committed to the composers of new art music, he has also mastered and produced over 200 recordings on ARSIS and other labels, and he continues as the conductor of Philovox Ensemble of Boston.
The article notes that Bob grew up in Pittsburgh. He expanded on this fact with me, noting that when he grew up in Pittsburgh, it was still an immensely polluted city. He related a vivid childhood memory: From a hill overlooking town, you could see the glow from the steel blast furnaces. The air was so choked with pollution that cars needed to have headlights on during the day.
Bob's wife Cynthia was raised on her parent's wheat farm in Scobey, Montana, where they had been homesteaders. Also trained as a musician, she later worked with him at the music publishing company. When Cynthia died in 2012 (also of cancer), they spread her ashes on the farm, and there is a marker for her near her parents' gravestones. Bob told me about this as he related that he decided a few weeks ago that he wanted the same to be done with his.
Bob's last game with us, he reminded me, was July 1. When I asked if he had any messages for our soccer group, his immediate response was, "Play on!" Then, "I miss you." We will play on, Bob, but there will be a hole in our hearts, as we miss you, too.