Robert (Bob) Tyler Chrisman, 61, Kansas City, Mo., passed away peacefully Friday, July 12, 2013, at Kansas City Hospice following a massive stroke. He was surrounded by family and friends who sang to him until his final breath.
Bob was born on May 3, 1952, to Len and Fanny Lucile Chrisman in St. Joseph, Mo. He is survived by his sister, Lenda Lebeck (Paul), of California, Mo.; his cousins, Randy Simmon, Karen Paige, Sharon Maday, Gary Holmes, and Lela Townsen; and a large, extended family of loving friends. He graduated from Benton High School in St. Joseph, and was an employee of the Social Security Administration for 30 years until his early retirement in 2007. His last position was as a manager in the Disability Quality Branch.
A prolific writer and voracious reader, Bob studied at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and for more than 10 years with nationally known writer and Zen practitioner, Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones. He instructed “Sit, Walk, Write” workshops for the Writers Place in Kansas City, MO., based upon his training from Goldberg, who encouraged him to teach.
Bob was a well loved and respected member of the Kansas City writing community. He was a fiction editor for Kansas City Voices; a member of The Kansas City Writers Group; and a founding member of the WTF Writers’ Group. His writing has been published in Kansas City Voices, on-line at Red Ravine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and he has won several awards for both prose and poetry. His short story, “Uncle Markweerze Arrives,” won second place for best short story in the Missouri Writers Guild Presidents Contest. He also wrote the fictional blog, Oh, Donna Louise! along with swqm60-Memories of People over 60. He was working on his first novel.
A creative and spiritual explorer, Bob traveled the US, Europe and Mexico attending writing and spiritual retreats. One journey took him to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. He also enjoyed drama, dance, photography, ceramics, painting, and mixed media. He studied Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, Paganism and other spiritual forms and practices. He searched for ways to combine his politics with spirituality and relished his search for the Divine. He embraced a philosophy of gratitude.
A people person, Bob loved to entertain with his stories. He was intelligent, humorous, witty and inspiring. He was well-known at many local restaurants, coffee shops and tea houses where he dined with friends or camped out with his notebook to write. Bob also walked and rode his bike all around Midtown, and was a familiar face in his Hyde Park neighborhood. He never met a stranger and had friends from all walks of life. Bob touched each of us with his joy for life, his heartfelt and often hilarious stories, his whimsical ways, and his compassionate heart. He was a fantastic friend who possessed a gift for making others feel special.