Although not a native, Nevada County lost a remarkable piece of its history with the passing of Robert “Bob” Marshall Wyckoff Saturday, Jan. 18. Through his eyes, and that of his camera, we had the pleasure of seeing a vivid picture of Nevada County’s history right within our households via his long-run weekly article in The Union, TIMELINES!
Through TIMELINES!, Bob invited the community to participate in sharing their own knowledge of their community, along with sharing more of his own insight about all that was depicted therein. His stories were not only informative and interesting but typically had a healthy sprinkling of his good humor embedded within.
His giving nature regarding his knowledge of the area went well beyond the scope of his article, as anyone could contact him with questions pertaining to our history and be freely bestowed with what he held in his magnificent memory. More often than not, he would also generously supply the person posing the question with copies of any picture he had in his collection, many of which he had snapped himself over the course of his many years’ affiliation with various local newspapers.
To put it bluntly, Bob was simply a marvelous guy!
Beyond being a veteran who had honorably served his country during the Korean War, his other gifts to us were many. His passion for history and the desire to pass it on, was unbounded. His gifts to our area through his authorship of books, articles and grants will keep him ever-present in the memory of anyone who holds our community dear. As will the many plaques found mingling about our neighborhoods, which he also had a share in helping be placed via his many years of membership in E Clampus Vitus.
Bob’s acute and fantastic memory was simply amazing. He could easily quote poems he’d learned in his boyhood by heart, as well as the full content of various historical documents. Significant dates in the history of not only Nevada County but of the United States and beyond he also could issue forth without a moment’s hesitation, through which his title of historian was justly deserved.
Bob also cherished his family and held them very close in his heart by always speaking of them with a profound sense of pride. He was also an animal lover, who had a particular fondness of cats. He possessed a passion for travel and railroads and looked forward to venturing out, whenever he could, to see first hand what was going on in the rest of the world.
I will miss his calls to the local research library wherein one was usually greeted with a quip in which he requested to speak with Doris, referring to the woman who is the namesake of the Doris Foley Library. I believe his intent was to keep the memory of a woman he actually knew, respected and cherished as a friend alive.
I thank The Union for honoring his memory by giving him top priority, a position he rightfully earned through his obvious love of the community he had for so many years called home. I can imagine the huge smile on his face, in appreciation that his surname was also spelled correctly throughout. He’d have liked that as well.
Thanks for everything Bob! Salute!
Donna Reynolds lives in Grass Valley.