That I can figure out, there’s no way to write today’s column without revealing my identity. I’m not sure I would, even if I could.
This column isn’t about me, even with that somewhat egotistical revelation. It’s about my recently departed friend, professional confidant, and an amazing individual. To characterize Bob Wick’s life as anything less than remarkable would be a severe understatement. In his youth his creative talents demonstrated a vision beyond what most of us can comprehend. While still fostering that innate skill, he matured and carried on his father’s legacy enterprise, making a difference in our community that lives on to this very day. In his later years, his enthusiasm for life, his artistic craft and strong support for good journalism never waned.
I know this from a relatively brief stint as the editor of the Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review from 2011 to 2017. Our friendship, his mentorship, and our mutual passion for this community were bonds that few have the privilege to share.
One trait that drew my admiration was Bob’s sincere commitment to servant leadership. With all the resources at his disposal, with his numerous talents, and considering the prominence of his patronymic surname, Robert Wick preferred anonymity to celebrity. He was the “surprise” that supported a poetry center at Kent State University, the Amerind Museum outside of Benson, and numerous other vital and educational organizations in this community.
Though many may not appreciate the challenge, his grace and personal strength in growing up the son of a successful newspaper publisher endeared him to my personal journey. Though my father didn’t establish a nationally recognized family-owned empire, we both knew of the unique and daunting journey of growing up in the newspaper industry.
Bob’s son, Francis, carries on that legacy and exhibits many of the same characteristics of his father. He does it with comparable grace, sincere enthusiasm for the business and a total commitment to the industry.
As a journalist, I will always treasure Bob’s successful campaign to close the smelting operation in Douglas. The plant was an environmental disaster and was owned by a large company based in New York. After numerous articles reporting on the dangers of the plant to personal health and the environment, Bob was successful in securing a meeting with the corporate elite who profited from the local facility. To hear Bob retell it, the executives were everything you would expect from those who put money ahead of everything else.
He was also outspoken on the environmental damage that development of the Rosemont Mine could cause, and he would often get emotional when it came to all issues related to art, the environment, good journalism and those whom he befriended.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to have shared experiences and conversations with Bob Wick. A true highlight of my life. I think of him, and his art, every time I drive on Fry Boulevard and see the sculpture at the We Frame It store, or I pull into the Herald parking lot and enjoy the sculpture at the front entrance.
Bob Wick will forever be my friend, and for that, I’m forever grateful.
Reach me at email@example.com.