13. Bob Stutesman, My Dad

4_DadSelfMy dad was so much fun growing up I could not do justice without writing a book. We played and played and played. A dad did not go by when we weren’t playing games, reading stories, singing songs, swimming, riding the sled down the hill in our yard, or playing along the ditch or in the park. Every night before we went to bed my sister and I would chant for him to come upstairs and tell us how something – anything – was made. We never really cared how those things were made. We just couldn’t stand going to bed without talking to Dad one last time.

My never allowed us to be afraid to try things – even when they were actually kind of dangerous. We spent a lot of time working on stunts like standing on his shoulders while he walked around the living room or jumping off our deck into the snow. Not ten years old, my sister and I were already driving our own dirt bikes up and down the ditches by Center, Colorado where he grew up. What a blast!

4_BobOnMotorcycleToday my dad turned 64. That picture was taken in front of our house just a couple years ago. On the back is his equally adventurous wife, Gayle who has had both knees replaced and still goes with him on motorcycle trips from here to Canada!

How lucky he was to find someone just like him!


I remember when we were little my sister and I had never jumped off a diving board. We were so scared we wouldn’t even get on the board at all. My dad held my hand and told me he would stand on the board with me until I could get used to standing up there looking down without being afraid. I was not on that board two seconds before his hands were on my waist and over the end I went. Ha ha ha! I think some kids might have been traumatized by stuff like that but my dad knew me all too well. “Again, Dad! Again!”


That is pretty much always how it went. To this day if I am doing something like cliff jumping in Lake Powell I walk right up to the edge and jump without hesitation. No standing at the top brooding over whether or not I should go. Just go. And once I do I cannot wait for more. That pretty much sums up our philosophy about life. Here is my dad twenty five years later still jumping off decks into snow banks:

I LOVE my dad’s stories about growing up in farm country. It is surreal. No wonder he has no fear. For fun he and his brothers used to do things like ride goats. One of them rode a goat straight into a coil of barbed wire! They used drive combines as little kids and shoot each other with BB guns for fun . I think my dad drove the town school bus when he was like 13.


Once my dad was having a snowball fight with a kid that pissed him off and he chased the kid into the school with a giant snowball. Right as the kid ducked into a classroom, my dad (a baseball pitcher) chucked the snowball at him just as the school Principal was walking out of that classroom. Luckily, his aim was a little high and it hit the doorway but all the snow still fell right on top of the guy’s head. Ha ha ha!


That is my dad and one of his brothers, Ron. Which is Dad? I am pretty sure he the one with the band aid on his forehead while the smug-looking one on the right is his brother Ron who probably did the damage. But your guess is as good as mine. That one on the right could be his brother Leroy too and they both look like his younger brother Terry too. So your guess is as good as mine. And you should see a pictures of his dad! Check this out. Here is an old picture of my dad.


See if you can figure out which guy on this basketball team was my grandpa.


If you guessed any of the top three guys you made a pretty good guess since the three are brothers. But my grandpa is in the center.

My dad is also an extremely talented person, one of those people that is automatically good at anything he does without trying very hard. In school, he was the star of the basketball team and the pitcher of the baseball team. In Fort Collins, he was walking by the football field one day while the team was practicing. A football barreled over his way and he picked it up and drop kicked in clear across the field. The coach saw him do it and that is how he became the kicker of the football team at CSU. The typical Stutesman luck.


Now his major sport is tennis. He is a very good tennis player. Being a South Paw makes him extra hard to beat. He and I used to hit tennis balls all the time and since he is a lefty I naturally got a lot of work on my backhand. In high school, students were always taught to hit to the opponent’s backhand as much as possible. So when I won matches it was usually because my opponent never caught on that my backhand is actually much stronger than my forehand because of Dad.

4_BobPlayingGuitarHero My dad is also a natural musician (although his Guitar Hero skills need a little work). I don’t think he ever worked at music very hard. He played the clarinet for a long time and is also self-taught on the acoustic guitar. One of my favorite things about the holidays growing up was that my dad would pull out his guitar and he and my sister and I would sing songs together out of his old music books. I still remember all the words of several of those songs.

Of all the things I love and admire about my dad, the best thing has to be how much he enjoys life. My sister and I have been so lucky to have him as our father and now her kids are so lucky to have him as their Grandpa and don’t they know it! He is just as much fun now as he ever was. In the 34 years I have known him he hasn’t changed a bit!

Happy Birthday, Dad!