Robert W Mickle
(1925 - 2009)

Robert W Mickle
Nickname: Bob

Iowa, United States of America

March 1, 2009

Community Development, Neighborhood Revitalization
Robert W. Mickle will be remembered for his passion and committment to his community and his many great accomplishments.
While giving of himself completely, Bob's pretigious career in city planning spanned nearly 40 years and has taken him around the world. He has been responsible for the revitalization and development of many great aspects of the communities he was a part of.
It was once said that "Bob Mickle personifies the standard to which we all aspire". His hard work and dedication have made a significant impact on the future of Des Moines and his accomplishments will continue to be recognized for years to come.

Thank you Robert W. Mickle for being an outstanding leader who will never be forgotten.

MEMORIALS: Can be made in lieu of flowers to Edmunds Elementary School or the Sherman Hill Neighborhood Association

"When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
"He was a man who used to notice such things"?
"Afterwards", Thomas Hardy, 1917"

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

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Guest Book (40 entries)
i loved my grandpa with all my heart and i loved how much he helped people...i remember all the best time and memories that we cherished....may he be in peace and in the good lords you grandpa
hailey chapman-ennis (grand-daughter)
January 11th, 2013
I met Bob in China in 1987-88. He was like a father to us there, and stayed in touch over the years. I will always remember his energy, his love for all people, and his joy of life. He was an example for us all on how to live a full life. I will miss him. Prayers to his family.
Susan Kenyon (friend)
October 15th, 2010
I want to be Bob Mickle when I grow up. I sat and watched him keep the city and schools on track each and every week. He never pressed an issue without all of the information in front of him - an art that is lost on many. He was passionate, kind and always had a sparkle in his eye. He was elegant in his words and manner until the very end. We should all take the example Bob left and follow the path of civic involvement with an ever present edge of civility.
Angel Head (Fellow activist)
March 10th, 2010
I remember Bob as a very kind man with witty humor. I remember my father William A. Mickle shared many lunches with Bob at the Younkers Tee Room. Bob visited my mother in ICU October 2008 and i was very grateful to Bob for sharing stories and history of the Mickle Family.
I will miss Bob Mickle.
Tim Mickle (Cousin)
December 18th, 2009
March 14, 2009

I knew Bob Mickle was sick for some time, but news of his death last week after a battle with cancer still came as a shock.

I met Bob in 1983 in Shijiazhuang, China, and we became friends. I was teaching English at a local college, the country was opening up and a "foreign expert" like him was in high demand. Bob is well-known for his work with the sister-city exchange program, but I'd like to share a few anecdotes about a big-hearted man whose friendship knew no boundaries.

- - -

Bob told me his favorite place to relax was the country. The scent of cow manure lingered in the air on a warm afternoon, but it didn't seem to bother Bob. Villagers in straw hats worked their fields. Men nudged each other, astonished at the sight of possibly the first foreigner they had ever seen. "Look! Waiguoren (foreigner)!" Women stared and giggled. "What a dabizi (big nose) he has!"

Bob enjoyed his rock-star status, waving warmly and greeting everyone with a "hello." The crowd greeted him back in waves of heavy-accented "Harlluor." An American and the masses of Chinese were connected.

- - -

Bob browsed for a book at Xinhua (New China) Bookstore to brush up on his Chinese. As we were leaving, he asked if I could have lunch with him across the street. I hesitated. To be seen with a foreigner in a crowded bookstore was one thing, but to be out alone and having lunch was quite another. It required permission from my school foreign-affairs office, miles away. I took the leap. "Yes," I said.

When we stepped in the dingy restaurant, the young waitress greeted Bob like an old friend. "Harlluor!" she said in English. "Nihao (hello)!" Bob said, beaming, sharing the mutual respect of greeting each other in one's native language.

As soon as we sat down, he roared his order: jiaozi (dumplings). While Bob was eating, the waitress stopped to check on him. "Haochi (very tasty)!" he thumbed-up and smiled. On our way out, Bob waved at the waitress and shouted cheerfully, "Zaijian (See you again)!"

Bob was the most effective "foreign expert" with the Chinese language I had ever seen. Equipped with a handful of words, he greeted the waitress like an old friend, ordered his favorite dish, gave compliments to the chef and announced his departure, indicating more returns. He was managing fine without a phrase book.

- - -

When Bob's year with the city was up, he signed another contract with a provincial college to be their English teacher. It called for a celebration. I invited a few friends: two musicians, two journalists, an artist. All hoped to learn more about Meiguo (the country of the beautiful).

Though we barely squeezed around the table, we felt honored to dine with the distinguished guest from afar.

Tsingtao beer did wonders to loosen everyone's tongues. One of the musicians was curious about the size of Des Moines' symphony. The journalists wanted to find out whether journalists in the West could really speak their minds. The artist was anxious to know whether artists could make a real living in the States.

During an eight-course dinner, everybody took turns to pluck chicken legs and tender fish portions out of the main plates and piled them up onto Bob's plates. Bob enjoyed the Chinese-style hospitality and finished everything. It was a delicious moment.

At well past 10 p.m., the talking, laughing and toasts for Sino-American friendship were still in high gear when Bob glanced at his watch and frowned.

"Oops. I have just overstayed my curfew," Bob said.

Every night, by rule of the school's foreign-affairs office, he had to return to campus by 10 or be locked out. We felt bad. With small living quarters, no one had space to put him up. Plus, in the mid-80s, Chinese homes were off-limits to foreigners.

"Don't worry, my friends," he said, "I'll have to figure something out."

The next time we met, he chuckled and said, " I outwitted them."

He parked his bike outside the wall, locked it, stood on the seat, quietly climbed over, then tiptoed into his room without waking the security guards.

- - -

In these anecdotes and in the hearts of his Chinese friends, Bob will live on. We'll always add another pair of chopsticks for him at our dinner parties.
MAY LOU a graduate of Iowa State University and lives in S (Friend)
March 16th, 2009
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"You are a great friend of Cherkasy, Ukraine forever. You are in our hearts. Many people still ask me " When is Bob coming?""
Ludmyla MeLnyk
April 21st, 2010
"My most sincere condolence to the family. For me Bob has always been and will remain the PERSON."
Evgen Suchkov
March 12th, 2009
"My grandpa's presence will always be felt and never forgotten. For it is the strength, courage, and dedication which he held so deep within his heart that pushes me forward, encouraging me to overcome even the most difficult of tasks."
Shannon McMullin
March 8th, 2009
"Dear Bob, you were always so vital and full of energy that I almost believed you were immortal. You wer not. Unfortunately. Thanks for everything you tought me. I will miss you!"
Leona Lattenbergova Talska
March 5th, 2009
"he was my great-grandpa and i miss him alot even know i cant hear him i know he's there and hearing what i have to say i love you grandpa"
Hailey Chapman
March 4th, 2009
"Robert, you are and always will be a great friend, neighbor and mentor. I will miss you greatly."
jack porter
March 4th, 2009
"You will be missed."
The Neighborhood Resource Office
March 4th, 2009
"Dear Bob, without you, my life wouldn´t be the same. Thank you for everything. You will always be my inspiration!"
Martina Vrbska Miller
March 4th, 2009
""Our Bob passed away"... How many people in this world repeat these words now sharing the sad news with friends..."
Olga Tykhonova
March 4th, 2009
VICTORIA Rubanovskaya
March 4th, 2009


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