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RIP Bob Newman/Gertrude, etc.


Another local icon passed away earlier this month. I'm sure many share tons of great memories from that show and the characters he played: Gertrude, Boris, Gorst, the Swami, etc.

He and JP were huge.

I actually met him once. He and JP were doing an appearance at the B&I in Tacoma. I talked my mom into driving down there, but we got there late and the event was over. JP had left. As I was turning to leave, Gertrude appeared from nowhere and yelled, "We're not done yet!" then literally grabbed me off my feet and gave one of the patented "Gertrude kisses".

Obituary of Robert "Bob" Lee Newman
Robert Lee “Fabulous Bob” Newman January 24, 1932 to December 13, 2020
Bob Newman was the youngest son of Lee and Ruth Newman, and grew up on Mercer Island. He had two older brothers, Russell William Newman and Steven Newman. Bob was just four years old when his brother Steven drowned in Lake Washington after falling off the family dock. Throughout Bob’s life, he made a point of seeing to it that children in his family and social circles learned to swim, and he always insisted on lifejackets and other water safety measures for kids on boats or near bodies of water.

Following graduation from Garfield High School in Seattle, Bob joined the US Marine Corps and served as a frogman in Korea. Bob loved being a Marine, and in later years, he often said he wished he’d remained in the Corps longer.
In the 1990s, Bob was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The disease slowed him down a bit and forced him to walk using a cane or crutches. But Bob remained a positive force, driving a bright yellow Corvette and still getting out and about to make appearances with Chris Wedes or to dine at the Nickerson Street Saloon where he was a regular for many years, and where he made a lot of friends. During many of those active years, Bob lived aboard his boat the Zaba Zaba, which was moored nearby at Canal Marina. For the past decade or so, Bob resided in a series of assisted living centers as his multiple sclerosis progressed and his mobility decreased. Thanks for the memories.

 I grew up with JP Patches! Bob will sorely be missed by me!


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