Family & Friends
Robert (Bob) Gobrecht, L14273, who served as FMCA national treasurer from 1986 to 1987, is perhaps best known to music lovers as the father of FMCA’s popular Frustrated Maestros chapters. He passed away on June 22, 2006, at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, at the age of 82.
In 1978 Bob and his wife, Betty, attended their first FMCA international convention in Tampa, Florida. A lifelong musician, Bob decided to look into forming a musical group within the association, but he received just three responses to his first effort. He persisted, however, and during FMCA’s summer 1981 convention in Denver, Colorado, 40 people signed up, which led to the formation of the original Frustrated Maestros chapter. Bob was the first chapter president; Betty served as secretary and treasurer. The group gave its premier performance at the 1981 Oktoberfest Rally in Costa Mesa, California.
Today, according to FMCA records, the Frustrated Maestros encompass 421 member families in 10 chapters “” one international, and one in each of FMCA’s nine geographic areas. A number of these members multiply their fun by belonging to more than one Frustrated Maestros chapter.
The Frustrated Maestros have shared their love of music with FMCA audiences at every FMCA international convention since the founding of the original chapter. Dressed in their traditional red-and-white outfits, they play myriad types of conventional and unconventional instruments or sing in the chorus.
For years Bob led the Frustrated Maestros in musical numbers, playing his trademark sousaphone, a type of tuba. A highly regarded sousaphone player, Bob made some 90 records. He liked to joke that the Maestros were formed with a flute, a tuba, and 40 kazoos. (Betty added that there was also a trombone.)
According to his obituary in the Pasadena Star News, “Bob was instrumental in motivating so many members to sing, play an instrument, or dance during the group’s performances. He made music fun and everyone loved being around this wonderful ‘Music Man.'”
“He loved the Frustrated Maestros and encouraged people to get those horns out of the closet,” Betty added.
Bob also formerly served as chairman of FMCA’s Finance Committee and chairman of the President’s Council. He served as national director for the Western Area’s Frustrated Maestros chapter and helped to coordinate the entertainment at several FMCA international conventions and for the Western Area Rally. In addition to helping form all 10 of the Frustrated Maestros chapters, the couple also helped to form seven other FMCA chapters, including the Alice Detrick Fan Club, Dixieland Jazz International, Past National Officers, and One Hundred Plus. At the time of Bob’s death, the Gobrechts belonged to 21 FMCA chapters. Over the years, Bob and Betty recruited 142 motorhome-owning families to join the association.
In August 1995 during FMCA’s convention in Minot, North Dakota, Bob and Betty were presented with the Distinguished Member Award in recognition of their accomplishments. In August 2000 at the association’s Brunswick, Maine, convention, they received an honorary lifetime (L) membership number.
Bob and Betty joined FMCA in 1974. They traveled extensively in their 36-foot motorhome five or six months out of the year. During their retirement, they also explored the world on numerous adventures. One of their favorite trips was an annual Mardis Gras motorhome rally, where Bob was named Lieutenant of the Krewe of Carrollton in the famous New Orleans parade.
Bob was born on July 8, 1923, in Waukegon, Illinois, and was raised in West Virginia. His family later moved to Pasadena, where he and Betty met in a church youth group. He graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a degree in business. As an enthusiastic USC fan, Bob led the school’s alumni Dixieland band at homecoming for many years.
During World War II Bob served as an Air Force officer in the positions of navigator and bombardier. He and Betty married at Carlsbad, New Mexico, Army Air Force Base in 1943 after he received his commission from the Army Air Force. He also served in the Korean War.
After returning to civilian life, Bob advanced rapidly through the management ranks at Sears, Roebuck, and Co., and eventually decided to strike out on his own. In 1960 he and Betty founded Macabob Toys, a Pasadena institution known for its birthday parties and puppet shows. During its 27-year existence, Macabob’s won awards as one of the top five independently owned toy stores in the United States. Bob also was selected for inclusion in the Toy Hall of Fame.
Recently Bob was honored by a Pasadena musical organization known as the Maestros, to which he belonged for 50 years. He also was a member of the Crown City Dixieland Band, which included his daughter Carol on vocals and his two sons-in-law on trombone and drums. This band has played at numerous FMCA international conventions held in FMCA’s Western Area over the years. Bob also performed at other FMCA functions, such as the ice cream socials at conventions, with a smaller Frustrated Maestros band called Bob’s Cats.
The Gobrechts have been members of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Pasadena for 45 years, and Bob served for many years in the Pasadena Lions Club. He led a Lions band to Japan to perform at a Lions Club International convention.
Despite Bob’s numerous musical and professional interests, family was at the center of his life. He and Betty recently celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. As his obituary stated, “Bob Gobrecht will be remembered for his strong love of family, his high ethical standards, his ever-present good nature, his optimistic attitude, and his fun-loving spirit. Bob always saw the positive side of things and never met a stranger. His faith and strength were to be greatly admired throughout his life.”
A “celebration of life service” to honor Bob was held at Trinity Presbyterian Church on July 9 and was attended by numerous Frustrated Maestros members and other FMCA friends. The Crown City Dixieland Band performed during the service.
“The Frustrated Maestros programs will not be the same without Bob, but there will always be some of Bob in the programs,” said Art Lester, F124717, current Frustrated Maestros president. “Frustrated Maestros is Bob’s legacy to FMCA. We will miss the tuba solos, his great sense of humor, his inspirational ‘Fight On’ [the USC Trojans’ fight song], and his always-find-a-way spirit. Bob could squeeze in two measures of ‘Fight On’ in any song. We will remember Bob every time we see the red and white.”
In addition to his wife, Betty, Bob leaves behind daughter Carol Gobrecht Andreen and her husband, Phil, F14273D1; daughter Janet Gobrecht Orswell and her husband, Jack, F14273D2; son Bob Gobrecht and his wife, Chris; seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. He also is survived by two sisters, two brothers, and many nieces and nephews.
Rally In The Pasture
By Sandy Gallup, F271538
Have you ever been to Searcy, Arkansas? Where is that, you ask? Well, it’s where FMCA members Charles and Gloria Adcock live.
The Adcocks, F311374, have hosted the “Rally in the Pasture” at their home for three years now for members and friends of the Arkansas Travelers chapter. Those of us who have been lucky enough to attend will never miss another one, if possible. From the moment Charlie races down the drive to greet you until you say your good-byes, it is as good a time as you’ll have at any rally.
This year’s rally, held from Sunday, April 9, through Thursday, April 13, was no exception. More than 74 FMCA member family coaches arrived at the Adcocks’ home and were parked by a most able crew consisting of George Hebert, F93234; Bert Guerin, F123838; Archie Browning, F132643; and many others. In addition to members from the Arkansas Travelers chapter, there also was a large contingent from the Cruisin’ Cajuns chapter, along with folks from other FMCA chapters. As always, the rally featured great food, friendship, and fun.
The mayor of Searcy, Belinda LaForce, greeted all on opening night and welcomed us to the city. If you had been to previous rallies here, you’d know that the mayor is always in attendance. She even remembered comments from last year about the wonderful ice cream that is made in Searcy “”Yarnell’s “” and brought plenty of it along for this year’s attendees to taste. Mike Beebe, Arkansas attorney general and candidate for governor of Arkansas, also was on hand to greet folks in attendance. When he asked where everyone came from, the answers were Ohio, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and even New Hampshire! “For real, from New Hampshire?” he asked. There were three coaches from the Granite State in attendance.
Also in attendance were FMCA senior vice president Connie Pool, F140306, and her husband, Corbett; and Six-State Rally Association (SSRA) Southern Region vice president Dave Davies, F230525. Charlie Adcock is the SSRA’s Northern Region vice president.
The Adcocks planned numerous activities to keep folks busy throughout the weekend. The ladies went on a shopping trip to Heber Springs, Arkansas; made crafts; and enjoyed a Wild Hat luncheon. Gloria Adcock and her able assistants put on a great event. It was amazing to see the hats that were created. The winner was Valerie Smith, F335870, with her flamingo hat. I have never seen a flamingo with beautiful pink sunglasses worn on a head before; it was a sight to behold. Pat Ruffin, F232051, won the door prize.
To keep the men out of trouble, Charlie took those interested to see two of his body shops, which were extremely busy, full of vehicles with hail damage from recent storms, among other repairs. Others headed out to the links for a round of golf. Helicopter enthusiast and pilot Steve Foster gave helicopter rides while Rick Kent, F157195, also a Searcy resident and good friend of the Adcocks, provided plane rides over the area.
A special activity for all was the scavenger hunt held in the downtown area of Searcy and arranged by Amy Burton of Searcy’s Main Street Program. Locals were puzzled by the many strangers scurrying about town, filling out the answers to questions involving several businesses. Prizes donated by Leslie Jewelers, The Toy Box, The Vintage Trunk, The Boutique, Hoffman Architectural, Dryer’s Shoes, and Crafton’s Furniture were awarded to participants on the lawn of the courthouse shortly after a lunch that followed the hunt.
Searcy was recently awarded several grants as part of the Main Street USA Program, and the town’s courthouse is the oldest working courthouse in Arkansas. It is listed on the National Register. We’re sure these ladies gave a boost to the economy of Searcy, as many of them stayed around after the awards to do some shopping.
Did someone say they were hungry? Not after this rally, because we were treated to some of the best food you can imagine. The able kitchen crew, rightly called the “Cookin’ Cajuns,” under the direction of Huey Simoneaux, F152469, prepared terrific breakfasts. Assisting were Floyd Daigle, F191160; Jim Williams, F333533; John Aucoin, F331297; Larry Artman, F129834; Charles Sullivan, F216128; E.J. Hebert, F350840; and the newest member, Mark Sporl; F163787. We enjoyed everything from pancakes and sausages to eggs cooked to order (and served the way the cooks wanted to cook them), to those famous fried biscuits made by Grace Lancon, F258734. We were treated to a buffet of seafood catered by Doug Stelly and his family from Who Dat’s Restaurant located in Bald Knob, Arkansas. Doug, himself a Cajun, is a favorite of the folks from Louisiana. What a sight it was to see all of his children there cooking and serving. Chef Floyd Daigle of White Castle, Louisiana, prepared the best-ever jambalaya for everyone on another night.
The entertainment was great. Jay DeRouen, F156009, a one-man band and a member of the Cruisin’ Cajuns, provided great dinner music on Monday. Keith Longbotham of Nashville fame was a hit on Tuesday evening with a great repertoire of jokes and a variety of music. Toes were tapping, hands were clapping, and lots of laughter filled the room. Keith has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry as the guest of Roy Acuff and Porter Wagoner, and also has performed at FMCA international conventions. Wednesday night, Jeanette Romero, F211773, and members of the Cruisin’ Cajuns had the entire room in stitches with their variety show. The final evening brought the dancers to the floor as a local band, The Arkansas Edition, entertained with a variety of tunes, including a special rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” sung by Sheila Adkins. Other members of the band were Ronnie and Donnie Faith, Lonnie Collins, and Randall Wyatt.
Thursday morning came all too soon for many of us, who awoke to the sound of rumbling motors as several early birds left. Some folks traveled back to their homes, while others set out to join friends on their way to another rally. They will have to go a long way to best this event.
Northern Nevada Prospectors Celebrate Armed Forces Day
By Don Verhoef, F365559
Eight member families from the Northern Nevada Prospectors chapter traveled to Hawthorne, Nevada, the weekend of Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 21, to participate in the 56th Annual Armed Forces Day Parade. The group stayed at Whiskey Flats RV Park in Hawthorne.
Hawthorne is one of Nevada’s small towns, comfortable and drowsy, but at least once a year it explodes with excitement during the big Armed Forces Day parade. The city, which is known for having one of the country’s largest such celebrations, is home to the Hawthorne Army Depot. The facility is one of the United States’ biggest ammunitions storage and disposal centers and is the town’s number-one employer. It’s no wonder that Hawthorne has a highly patriotic streak when it comes to honoring members of the military. The theme for this year’s parade was “America’s Patriotic Home Supports Our Troops.”
During the weeks leading up to the celebration, business and store owners along E Street, the parade route, decorated their buildings with bunting, flags, and banners. Citizens planted gardens of red, white, and blue petunias in preparation for the event, always held the third weekend in May. On parade day, the route was filled with townspeople waving flags and cheering all of the entries.
The history of Armed Forces Day can be traced to the late 1940s when President Harry S. Truman led an effort to establish a holiday for citizens to come together to thank military personnel for their service to our country. On August 31, 1949, it was announced that a single Armed Forces Day would replace separate Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps days. It would be observed on the third Saturday of May.
Activities for chapter members in attendance began on Friday afternoon when several participated in the Chili Cook-Off. Later that evening we all enjoyed a spaghetti dinner at the local VFW hall. The VFW sponsored our entry in the parade Saturday. Nevada Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt visited the hall and thanked everyone for coming to this great event. Later that night the celebration continued with a fireworks show.
On Saturday morning we all gathered to decorate our wagon entry. We watched as chapter president Kim Petersen, F353288, and his wife, Yvonne, owners of the team, got the mules harnessed and hitched to the wagon. Four families, including grandchildren, crowded into the wagon, and we started down E Street at noon. The kids found the whole experience beyond belief. We earned second place in the horse entries category.
After the parade the town’s Lion’s Park swelled with people enjoying the many vendor booths, armed forces exhibits and demonstrations, and music. Military Humvees were on display and the children were given guided tours.
The next chapter gathering will be in Casa Grande, Arizona, when members will help host breakfast at the Rocky Mountain Ramble, October 11 through 14.