Jul 17, 2011

In Memory: Robert Mulch May 22, 1941-June 24, 2011

by Mary Fund

We are sad to announce the passing of Robert "Bob" Mulch, Scott City, Ks. Bob was a member of the KRC board from 2000 to 2011, serving on the Executive Committee from 2004-2011, and as board president from 2005-2007. Bob died at the Scott City Hospital on June 24, after a short battle with cancer.

Bob wore many hats in his lifetime including lawyer, diplomat, farmer and judge, - and husband and father. He was also an expert on western Kansas mirages-- a topic that never failed to stimulate conversation and thinking. Bob was born and raised in Scott City. He earned his law degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1963. While in law school, Bob was diagnosed with cancer, but was successfully treated, and recovered. He made a promise to himself that if he survived the cancer, he would travel. So at age 32, he went to work for the State Department and for 8 years he traveled to 35 foreign countries as an Assistant Attorney General for the Trust Territories of Pacific Islands, and lived in Saipan.

At age 40, he returned to help his father with the family farm outside Scott City, raising wheat and milo, and starting a family. He married wife Glenda Roderick in 1981 and they had two sons, Morgan and Evan. But Glenda died in 1998 after a long and serious illness.

Bob devoted himself to raising his sons and serving his community, where he was municipal court judge for 23 years, and active in the Boy Scouts among other community work. Following his wife's death, Bob was instrumental in drawing attention to clusters of cancer and other serious illnesses in the Scott County area, and never stopped lobbying for more research about water quality, health, and possible causes, which is how he came to the Rural Center.

Bob was big on asking questions, keeping an open mind, and searching for truth. I think the Kansas Rural Center gave him a peer group of like-minded people who shared his passion for knowledge and who believed there was a better way to farm and feed ourselves, while taking care of our natural resource base.

He forwarded a lot of e-mails and stories to us, and would frequently call the office with some new information from western Kansas or about disease research findings. But whenever he called we would also shoot the breeze and get caught up on not just KRC_work but our families and our personal lives. I will forever remember his teasing me about my initial skepticism about his "mirage work" (At Bob's funeral service, his sons played a slide show of Bob's photographs of Western Kansas mirages). Sometimes in our conversations, I would pause, not sure if he was pulling my leg or not. Then I'd see that twinkle in his eye and he'd wink, and I knew I had been had.

Bob was a kind and thoughtful man, unafraid to espouse an opinion contrary to conventional wisdom, and not afraid to ask the tough questions. His measured opinions at our board meetings, like in his courtroom-- and both, I am sure, delivered with his keen sense of humor and penchant for innovative thinking-- will be missed.

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