This is the eulogy I gave for my father, Robert A. Sobers, Sr., at his funeral on March 7th, 2017.
I remember being 8 years old—dad took us on a family vacation to Disney World. We parked our station wagon in one of those massive, sprawling lots that were named after the characters. Goofy, section 32, or something like that.
Meghan and I were bursting with excitement. Dad opened the trunk of the car, grabbed his badge, and strapped a small hand gun to his ankle. “You never know,” he said.
Bob Sobers protected his family above all else…even at the most magical place on earth.
With 25 years of service with the Montclair NJ Police Department—service he was incredibly proud of—dad protected an entire community of people.
I remember him telling me: “Most people run away from dangerous situations. Police officers are trained to run towards them.” I don’t actually believe that instinct came from being a cop. Not for him. I think helping others was embedded in his DNA.
And he helped a lot of people through difficult and dire times.
When you were hurt, or sick, or feeling like you’d had enough—dad was the person you’d want by your side. He knew how to make you laugh, to melt away your fear or your pain, and make you feel like you were the only person that mattered.
When I was in grade school I never wanted to have sleepovers. I hated not sleeping in my own bed. One day a friend finally convinced me to sleep at his house. I faked a stomach ache in the middle of the night. I said I was going to get sick. They called my dad. I was sure he’d be mad at me. Tell me to suck it up.
Captain Bob Sobers put on his blue MPD sweat shirt and drove 30 miles in the middle of the night to pick me up. He knew I wasn’t sick, but he played along. When we got in the car he gave me a big hug, made me feel safe. He always did.
I’m sure mom and Meghan could tell dozens of stories just like that one.
There isn’t a thing he wouldn’t have done for any of us. He always wanted to make everyone smile.
Even in his last days, everyone he met could feel the warmth in dad’s soul. The nurses and doctors felt it, even after exchanging just a handful of words. “Your father is so kind. What a special man!” they said.
I would give anything for more time with my dad, but all I can do now is continue to be the man he raised me to be.
You know, many sons will eulogize their fathers and reminisce about their annual fishing trips, or their father-son bowling league, or their football Sundays. And that’s pretty great.
Honestly, dad I didn’t have much of that. But the world is filled with men who never once heard their father say “I love you.”
I never doubted my dad’s love. Not for a second. We told each other so every time we spoke: “Love ya, dad.” “Love ya, Rob.” That was all it took to know that we would always be there for each other. And that was the greatest gift he ever gave me.
I will always love you and I will always miss you, dad.