Bob Coomes: A Life Well-Lived
Editor’s Note: John Becker is a former VHCA board member and Voice editor who recently moved to Poncey-Highland. John remains involved in the neighborhood and is a close friend of the Coomes family.
Longtime Virginia-Highland resident Bob Coomes passed away recently, finally succumbing to the cancer monster he fought for an incredible seventeen years.
Bob was that rare individual who always had a smile on his face and never met a person he didn’t like – and the feeling was almost always mutual. His constantly upbeat spirit and can-do attitude were infectious and an inspiration to many who stood by him during his long and often difficult battle with the disease that ultimately took his life.
Bob, who would have been 64 in October, shared his love of people with his undying love for dogs. He could often be seen walking his chocolate lab mix Fudge along the sidewalks of VaHi. After a successful professional career that included a 27-year stint with AT&T, Bob and his wife Nancy formed a business around their creation of LickALots, a healthy frozen treat for dogs. LickALots was as much a labor of love for Bob and Nancy as it was a business.
Bob had a sense of community and was always willing to roll up his sleeves and get involved. In addition to volunteering for seventeen years with Meals on Wheels, Bob served several years on the VHCA board, was at one time editor of The Voice newsletter and volunteered with Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful. In recent years Bob and his wife Nancy devoted their time and talents to making the Saturday morning Tot Trot one of Summerfest’s most anticipated events. Bob was the consummate Tot Trot master of ceremonies.
No description of Bob would be complete without mentioning that he was a passionate and knowledgeable sports fan. The Atlanta Braves and Louisville Cardinals lost some major fan mojo with Bob’s passing.
A service in Bob’s memory will be held at Morningside Presbyterian Church (1411 N. Morningside Dr.) at 3 PM on Thursday, September 10th. Anyone wishing to celebrate the life of Bob Coomes is welcome to attend.
Bob Coomes’ full obituary follows.
Bob (Robert T.) Coomes, with his bright smile, enthusiasm, and optimistic spirit is in heaven now. His 17 year battle with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) was epic. As he had wished, Bob was at his home in Atlanta when he died on August 17, 2015. He was 63.
The Service to give thanks and celebrate Bob’s life will be held on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. at Morningside Presbyterian Church. The Church is located at 1411 N. Morningside Dr. NE in Atlanta, GA 30306 (www.morningsidepc.org). A reception at the Church will follow the service.
Bob loved dearly his father, Thomas Coomes (deceased), his mother, Agnes Coomes, his wife, Nancy Phillips Coomes, his daughter, Chelsea Coomes, and his siblings, Barbara Coomes(Jim Johnson), Rick Coomes (Sally), Pat Coomes (Nanci) and their families, as well as his sister-by-marriage, Gena (Demaree) Jones. Throughout his life he was surrounded and sustained by the strong bonds of a large extended family, many dear and supportive friends and neighbors and a strong church family. He treasured being known as “Bobby”, “Brother Bob”, “Dad”, “Uncle Bob”, “Cousin Bob”, “Neighbor Bob”, “Friend Bob” and “Beer Rat Bob”. To Nancy, he was “Puffy”. To his beloved dogs, Kisses (deceased), Fudge and Chris, with whom he had a close and special bond, he was “Daddy Bob”.
Bob was a proud native of Louisville, Kentucky and lived there until 1988 when he relocated to Atlanta. He held a masters degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville and was a loyal supporter of the school throughout his life. His professional career included 27 years as a manager with AT&T. In more recent years, he partnered with Nancy to create a healthy treat for dogs called LickALots. That business was sold to King of Pops in 2010. The product continues to be manufactured, sold and enjoyed by dogs throughout the Eastern United States.
Bob volunteered his time to the Meals on Wheels program for 17 years. He not only delivered food to the seniors he served, he brought them cheer with his sincere interest in their lives. He formed friendships and lasting bonds that were very important to him.
In his battle with kidney cancer, Bob focused on being Empowered, Educated and Engaged. He studied in great detail the development and availability of new treatments, their side effects, and potential benefit. He worked in close partnership with his physicians and care-giving teams to select and follow treatment plans that had the greatest potential efficacy for him.
He joined the M.D. Anderson Network for patient and caregiver support in 2002. This group of volunteers, who are current and former cancer patients, are available to talk with someone with cancer who has had a similar diagnosis or treatment as the volunteer. Bob spoke with dozens of patients in an effort to help them and their loved ones make the transition from diagnosis to survivorship.
In 2004, Bob became a patient advocate for one of the National Cancer Institute’s Cooperative Groups that develop and implement cancer clinical trials. Patient advocates include survivors who provide input to the cancer clinical research process. They remain current on new treatment research and ultimately ensure that the patients’ perspectives and needs are at the center of clinical trial decisions.
Those wishing to honor Bob via donations can send checks made payable to First Presbyterian Church Atlanta with the designation that the money is for the “Meals on Wheels Program in memory of Bob Coomes”. Envelopes should be addressed to:
First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta
Attn: Meals on Wheels Program
1328 Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30309-3209