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Robert "Bob" Watson

August 25, 1961 — June 12, 2023

Robert “Bob” Watson, age 61, passed away unexpectedly on June 12, 2023, in his home in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  Cremation has taken place.  A Celebration of Life will be held August 12-14th, at the Scottsbluff YMCA Trails West Camp. Please contact Rae Ann Schmitz at for additional details. Arrangements were provided by Reverence Funeral Parlor and Chaney-Reager Funeral Home & Crematory.  Online condolences may be expressed by visiting

Bob was born in Chicago, Illinois.  He learned the trades and prided himself on being both a Union Ironworker and a journeyman in the Carpenter’s Union.  Most recently he was a member of #831, the Trade Show Union.  He was employed by Nth Degree.  Bob worked on bridges, dams and skyscrapers in Santa Cruz, California and in Denver, Colorado, before moving to Scottsbluff.  Bob was an amazing architect, designer, engineer, and builder.  He transformed a “rat shack” into a “sugar shack” at the corner of 11th Ave and 17th Street in Scottsbluff.  His work ethic and physical prowess, his manliness, humility, and character, transformed the neighborhood.

Bob’s artistic talent merged with his knowledge of iron to create, among other things, a violin from hand-bent rebar using blueprints for a Stradivarius violin.  He created wire elephants with tie-wire.  Each elephant was hand-wound using sacred geometry and held a red heart inside.  He gave these away as gifts to people he admired. You’re special if you have one. His elephants can be found all over the country and abroad.  Bob sewed a leather backpack for himself and a leather purse for his life partner.  His iron bicycle was displayed at the West Nebraska Arts Center.  He also fashioned an iron guitar, banjo, and drum-set.  He forged a “day of the dead” mask to honor the women torn from their children at the U.S. border. 

Bob’s concentration on musical instruments grew from an innate understanding and love of music. Music flowed through his body and brain like blood.  He had eclectic taste and his knowledge spanned both time and cultures. He was a master of pop culture. Bob knew the lyrics to songs from the ‘20s forward.  The music of the progressive rock band, YES, spoke to his soul.  Terry Kath and the horns of CHICAGO gave him goosebumps. He so admired jazz guitarist, Pat Metheny, he made him an iron mandolin. He cried to the music of Phil Collins and GENESIS.  Bob played with a jazz trio in Denver, and he played drums every day, channeling the cosmic, quantum “rhythms-of-the-day” from continents around the world.  He had perfect pitch and perfect time.

Bob prided himself on being a provider, protector, and procreator.  He was a man’s man.  He was a generous teacher to the younger generation of tradesmen and craftsmen of what it takes to be a man, and what it means to be a man.  His death will ring through the realms of male consciousness, and they will mourn the passing of a leader. 

He loved animals… Sweet Pea, Bella, Jack, and JoJo.  He was generous and compassionate.  He loved to read and was a lifelong learner.  Bob was innately diplomatic and respectful.  He could talk to people with divergent political views, finding common ground in our fundamental humanity.  He had an “independent streak a mile long” and didn’t fit in to any class or stratification.  Bob didn’t grow up in any religion.  He admired Jesus, Martin Luther King, and Yogananda.  He had a daily practice of prayer and meditation.  He had a direct relationship with God.

He is survived by his mother, Catherine “Cathi” Watson; his sister, Cyndy Watson Kennedy; his brother, William Watson; his life partner, Rae Ann “Rae-Rae” Schmitz; beloved cousins; and his many “brothers from another mother.” Bob was preceded in death by his father, William “Bill” Watson. 


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