Robert Louis (Bob) Neir, 90, passed away peacefully at Evergreen Hospice on October 24th, of complications from a recent fall and subsequent stroke.
Bob was a kind man and committed to his family, friends and community. A devoted husband, wonderful father, and supportive grandfather, brother and uncle. A good friend and wise mentor to many people.
Born on October 17, 1929, in Astoria, New York, to Joseph Louis Neir and Lulu (Elmendorf) Neir, the older of two children, Bob was preceded in death by his sister, Carol.
Bob attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1951 with a degree in Business and a number of lifelong friends. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, was a Michigan Club member and follower of the Blue & Gold football.
It was at Michigan that he met the love of his life, Christine Linderman, at the local Lutheran chapel. They married in August 1951.
Bob entered the U.S. Army in September 1951, received a Commission in Ordnance and attended Officer Candidate School. With the end of the Korean War in 1953 and two years of service, Bob had achieved a rank of second lieutenant.
Ready for a new adventure, the young couple moved west to the Seattle area in 1953, renting a small apartment in Madrona. After two years in town, they found themselves drawn to the charms of Kirkland, the little town across Lake Washington, where in 1955 they built their first home on Rose Hill. Chris gave birth to the first of their four boys shortly thereafter. As the boys grew and their increasing rambunctiousness demanded more space, Bob and Chris built again in June 1964, this time in Houghton (now Kirkland), where Bob resided until his death.
Bob’s 38 year career at Boeing began in January 1954 and included a variety of management and sales positions and many fond memories. It was an exciting time at the airplane company and Bob enjoyed being a part of the industry and newly arrived commercial jet age. In April 1975, when Boeing needed someone to help market the 747, Bob was recruited to be the 747 Marketing Director. That was the start of three world tours where he traveled around the world to interview key airlines about their experience with the 747, 757, and 767 fleets. In 1983, with his 767 world tour, he started videotaping customer’s opinions and experience with the fleet. This proved to be a powerful sales tool for Boeing and morale booster to its employees.
Bob had an interest in public service and was elected to the Kirkland City Council in 1969. He was instrumental in shaping Kirkland into the park-centric city it is today. In 1973 he was asked to serve as Chairman of Metro Transit, staying long enough to oversee construction of Metro’s Downtown Transit tunnel. Bob retired from Metro in 1990, after 17 years, followed by retiring from Kirkland City government in 1991, after 22 years which included a stint as mayor from 1974-80. Bob then retired from Boeing in 1992.
Bob did not slowdown in retirement. Most every day, Bob and Chris could be found chatting with close friends at Starbucks. Bob showed himself to be a “renaissance” man, taking up acrylic painting and writing three books. The first, A City Comes of Age (2005), is a political history of the City of Kirkland from 1965-1995. It wraps up his 22 years in city government, including 3 terms as Mayor. He followed with Silent Guns (2010) a naval adventure story he had been working on for years, and Yukon Fever (2014), an Alaskan adventure.
He served on the Lake Washington Schools Foundation committee from 2005-06 because he was interested in education and the school district’s success. He was also an avid gardener, starting a Dahlia bed and giving away cut flowers, along with dozens of his tasty tomatoes.
Having achieved his Eagle Scout rank in1946, Bob was an inspiration to his grandsons Joe and Rob to also become Eagle Scouts. Bob enjoyed attending his grand-children and great-grandchildren’s sporting events. He could also be found playing pinochle with four generations of family members. An excellent contract bridge player, Bob played every week, and was the Bridge Club Director at Bothell’s Northshore Senior Center.
In 2008, Bob’s wife, Chris, passed away.
Bob continued to meet up with his Old-timer’s group, and with friends for coffee every week at Rococo’s in downtown Kirkland, where he had the good fortune to meet Molly, his companion for the last 10 years. Molly was a welcome spark in Bob’s life and the couple adventured about the northwest enjoying truly wonderful times together.
He continued the family tradition of Sunday dinner together with his sons and their families, often hosting a jovial crowd of 20 people or more. Bob’s “Bah humbug” demeanor at Christmas was a ruse, as he continued to enjoy the holidays so cherished with Chris, surrounded by family at his home of 55 years.
Bob had taken piano and organ lessons as a kid, and was the organist and choir director at Trinity Episcopal Church in Astoria when he was 16. In 2013, he fulfilled a childhood dream by purchasing a Steinway Baby Grand piano. He continued playing over the years, and more recently entertained on the pianos at the Evergreen Hospital and other local Kirkland venues.
His family and friends, touched by his ready laugh and sharp wit, will dearly miss him. The foundation he has built and many wonderful memories he has given us, ensures he will always be a presence in our lives.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Chris, of 57 years. He is survived by his sons: David Neir (Suzanne) of Leavenworth, WA, Thomas Neir (Sally Otten) of Kirkland, WA, Paul Neir (Leslie Spencer) of Redmond, WA, and James Neir (Cathy) of Woodinville, WA; grandchildren: Cassandra (Neir) Andriychenko of Kirkland, WA, Alyssa (Neir) Seal of Everett, WA, and Jeffrey Neir of Auburn, WA, Christopher Neir of Kirkland, WA, Katrina Neir of Manville, RI, Cpt. Joseph Neir currently deployed in Iraq, and Robert Neir of Seattle, WA.
A Celebration of Bob’s Life will be held January 11th, 2020, at Inglewood Country Club, 6505 Inglewood Rd, Kenmore, WA 98028. Memorials may be made in Bob’s name to Kirkland Heritage Society (kirklandheritage.org).
Please sign the guestbook at Legacy.com.