If ever there was a person who embodied the “Be Kind, Be Boulder” motto, it could certainly have been Bob Faiss.
The longtime Boulder City resident, who died June 5, was remembered by hundreds during a celebration of his life Friday at the Historic Fifth Street School in Las Vegas.
Just as Bob never had an unkind word to say about anyone or anything, neither did those who spoke of his work, friendship and devotion to family.
The celebration was fitting in so many ways. First, the location. Bob went to grammar school there. He played basketball in the gym, the site of the gathering. Former Sen. Richard Bryan told those assembled of young Bob’s days at the school.
Second, the day of the celebration itself. It was on Friday the 13th, which is often considered bad luck. Plus, there was a full moon that night. But, according to Bob’s sons, that was more than appropriate for the man who loved horror films. Cocktails, conversations and carnage were central to family gatherings, they said.
If you didn’t know Bob well before the celebration of his life began, you did afterward. The tributes came from a veritable Who’s Who list of state and national politicians and policy makers, yet they shed those titles that afternoon for the more treasured one of longtime friend.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said Bob brought out the best of everybody and would never say anything bad about anyone.
He imagined what kind of things Bob would have said if Attila the Hun was his client. Sandoval said Bob would have described the ruler as often misunderstood and always wanting to include neighbors in his plans.
When he was campaigning for attorney general, Bob invited Sandoval to stay at his home, and when he came to Boulder City — accompanied by his then 6-year-old daughter — for the Fourth of July Damboree parade, Bob made sure there was a cowboy hat, cowboy dress and red cowboy boots for her to wear.
Randolph Townsend, a former state senator and Nevada gaming commissioner, spoke of Bob’s presence and command of an audience. He told of how he captivated those listening to him speak and said he had the same type of charisma as Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
“Anyone who was unfortunate enough to follow Bob looked like Rodney Dangerfield,” he said.
Life in Boulder City was transformational for Bob, according to Helen Foley, a former state senator and business partner of his wife, Linda Faiss, in their public relations and government affairs firm Faiss Foley Warren. She said the many accolades Bob had been awarded paled in comparison to being recognized at the local grocery store as host of the former BCTV show “Hi Bob,” or earning a trophy as part of the Bowlers from Hell or performing with his friends in a band.
“He was a great gentleman,” she said.
I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.
I only had the privilege of meeting him a few times, though I knew of him and have been friends with Linda for many years.
Our last meeting was only a few weeks ago. Despite his illness and having just returned home from the hospital, Bob was as gracious as ever. As any good host would do, he insisted I have a glass of his favorite iced tea, which was delicious. The peach-flavored tea was as refreshing as biting into a plump, juicy peach.
And the conversation was just as nice.
We were discussing his love of Boulder City and how he and Linda have supported the community shortly before they were presented with the Heart of the Community award from Boulder City Hospital. True to his nature, he didn’t think he had done anything out of the ordinary.
But Bob was far from ordinary.
From his pioneering work in the field of gaming law to mentoring young professionals to spending time with friends and family, Bob gave freely of himself and his expertise.
In the words of his grandson Brandon, Bob will be missed but not forgotten.