Today we said goodbye to “The Velvet Fog”.

That was Bob’s nickname.

Given by his church choir.

Earned by having a smooth velvety bass voice.

Bob was by profession

A pediatrician.

The only pediatrician in this  part of the state

For many years.

Known for his ability to diagnose

Difficult and little known

Ailments in children.

He was beloved.

My friend Linda recalls a childhood bout of scarlet fever.

And knowing when she heard that gentle deep voice

At her door – making a house call.

That everything would be all right.

I sang in the choir with Bob and his delightful wife Betty

For just over 40 years.



Now anyone who has ever sung in a church choir

Knows that we are the quirkiest collection of people.

Ours is no different.

It goes something like this.

The sopranos – of which I am one – catch on quickly.

Not because of our superior musicianship

But because we get to sing the melody

Most of the time.

The altos have the rich part.

The harmony.

The dissonant notes

That resolve into unexpected places.

The tenors – well there are never enough tenors.

All church choirs need them

To add to the fullness of the music we sing.

Then there are the basses.

Bob would be there

With that mischievous twinkle in his eyes.


Usually sitting on the back row

And having a great time.

Now I won’t say they don’t pay attention

But one year when our choir director, Charlotte

Gave out “awards” at the Christmas party.

Bob got the “where are we, Charlotte?” award

Because he never really knew where we were.

In his later years Clark did his best to keep him on task,

But what can I say – he tried.

So today we sang all his favorite hymns.

Eddie Lou, our choir director,

Invited everyone who had ever sung with Bob

To come and join our choir for the funeral.

His favorite anthem  – the one he asked to sing

Almost every week

Was “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

In SEVEN parts!

A piece of music sung by so many of us

Since high school.

We filled the choir loft

More men than women

Unusual for a church choir.

And we sang

Our hearts out

For Bob and Betty.

They have been married for 72 years.

I’m so thankful they shared so many of them

With us

The choir.







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8 responses to “THE VELVET FOG

  1. wholelotmoore

    This is lovely. Thank you.

    Linda Moore


  2. Susan Snyder

    Thanks, Gail, for a beautiful memoir to Dr. Shutee – – –
    He was so loved!
    – – -Susan Snyder

  3. Madelyn Mabry Keck

    Dr. Bob would have a big smile reading this, as did I. Great job! Thanks to all the choir and those that joined forces for the service.

  4. Judy Fleming

    Wonderful remembrance of Dr. Bob–one that some of us would have never known. Thank-you!

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