(Publisher’s note: Pam Palileo is the former publisher of the Fort Stockton Pioneer. The Pioneer invited her to share her thoughts on Bob Beal, a former Pioneer reporter whom Pam hired and worked with and, more importantly, became a dear friend. Beal was killed Aug. 27 when he was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle).
I write this tonight with the saddest of hearts. My dear friend, my right arm news guy, my good cop/better cop partner in crime has written his final story. This tribute honors a man that I admired. A man who taught me much more than he realized and helped strengthen the backbone of who I am. A man who left a resounding effect on most everyone he met. A man who I am not ready to say goodbye to.
I will never forget the day Bob commented on a story online. Something about his comment peaked my curiosity as to who Bob Beal was. The comment was intelligent, well thought out and eloquent. All the makings of a great reporter. In my quest to meet “Bob Beal” and pick his brain, not only did I learn he well surpassed expectations of a great reporter, he was someone who genuinely cared about Fort Stockton. Bob joined the Pioneer family in 2015 and instantly became a pivotal part of the community. He was the puzzle piece we had been missing.
Bob was a critical thinker. The way his mind worked was something that drew people to him like a magnet. He was an extensive reader, a researcher, a true problem solver. Bob believed in the underdog, he found the beauty in things that most people wouldn’t. He was a “noticer” and had such a positive perspective, it was infectious. He would say things were “too cool,” I can hear that in his voice as I write this. Too cool.
Bob genuinely cared. That may be a broad statement, but Bob cared. About everything. He loved this town, he loved Pecos County. He cared about everything that was happening in our wonderful west Texas town. He researched about it, he studied it – always a student wanting to learn but teaching so much at the same time. I don’t know if he ever really knew how many people soaked his knowledge in like a sponge. He was a wise teacher and mentor to many.
When Bob decided he wanted to retire, there were some folks in town (including me) who got very nervous because we were in the middle of a heated water debate and he was the go-to guy for the news on that. He cared so much, he agreed to stay on dedicated to reporting on water. He stayed until that debate was done, seeing it through for his folks that counted on his reporting.
When Bob officially retired, almost daily, he would send links to articles that could or did impact Pecos County. He became involved in other ways that kept his finger on the pulse of happenings that could affect the county. He was always looking out for the good of this community.
Bob was a conservationist, believed in sustainability, wanted a better environment. He was always researching ways to make this land last a little longer. He very much lived as he believed. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. He cared.
Bob had a zest for life that would make anyone want to throw on a backpack and hit a trail. He was an avid cyclist, taking my husband on the most grueling bike ride he’d ever been on. He could outride just about anyone. Cycling was his passion, took him to his happy place. He loved hiking, backpacking, exploring the outdoors. He was a nature guy. His knowledge on the outdoors even intrigued Jim Hatcher! Now you know that’s knowledge!!
Bob simply loved life. He loved to enjoy. He loved the community events where we were all front and center ready for the action. He loved reporting for the Pioneer and touching the hearts and homes of so many each week.
He loved the “old crew card games” we were beginning to make a tradition. He loved having a glass at the Mule and catching up. Most of all, he loved his family and his beautiful wife, Iselda. She was the light of his life, his perfect partner. The two of them shared a love most people never find, it was truly special.
Fort Stockton lost an amazing “noticer,” a person who noticed the wonderful beauty in every aspect of this community. A person who noticed the magic and shared it with others.
I will miss your wise perspective and your advice. I will miss our brainstorming sessions that bred some great ideas. I will miss our good cop/better cop approach to reporting that we seemed to perfect. I will miss your emails looking out for my best interests with my latest adventures, always being my cheerleader encouraging me to go for it. Your support, insight and advice helped me more than you may have ever known. Thank you for that.
It’s said: “There is family that is blood and there is blood that is family.” We will always be family and to me, that’s “too cool.”