Conversations with Bob Livesay

IMG_0445On February 4, 2016, I flew to Corvallis, OR to visit with my 91-year-old father-in-law, Robert Benton Livesay, Jr. Bob lives at Timberhill Place, which is a 10 minute drive from his son Dave, and his wife Maggie. During retirement, Bob and his late wife Louise wrote a substantial number of stories about their lives, which I read ahead of time. At 91, Bob’s physical activities are limited, but his mind remains sharp and he enjoys conversation. As I was visiting Bob, Dave and Maggie for four full days, I decided that Bob and I should do a project together. With his agreement, I recorded a series of conversations where we discuss his life. In this post, I collect his writings and these recordings.


Air Force Plane

Let me begin with my collection of Bob Livesay’s writings:

  • My Father: Bob talks about his father and best friend, Robert Benton Livesay
  • Great Depression: Bob describes the great depression through his eyes, as an eight year old boy
  • My First Car: Bob reflects on his 1936 Chevrolet coupe after learning to drive in 1940
  • Brown outs and black outs, World War II — Beginnings: Bob describes how people in California cope with the break out of World War II, as seen through the eyes of a high school senior
  • My Hidden Talent: Bob talks about being the star of the high school play, “Incognito” in 1942
  • Incognito Playbill: A high school production where Bob Livesay plays the lead, Fred Collins
  • The Import of Pearl Harbor: Bob describes how the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in the summer of 1941, changed his life
  • Learning to Fly: Bob shares his impressions and feelings as an 18-year-old man, who had enlisted in the Army Air Corps on March 1, 1943
  • Joy: Bob reflects on how the birth of two sons, Robert and David, fills him and Louise with joy
  • A Christmas Story: Bob and Louise each tell their story of a difficult pregnancy that ultimately resulted in a special Christmas gift: the birth of a daughter, Luanne
  • The Hat: Bob attempts to adjust to New York City customs while working for Texaco, and buys his first (and only) “top of the line” Stetson hat
  • My Retirement Toy: After retiring from Texaco in 1987, Bob embarks on off-road adventures in a Jeep Cherokee with Louise
  • A Visit Evokes Memories: In August, 2004, Bob and Louise visit the newly dedicated World War II memorial
  • Grandad’s Hair -o- wing Experience: A story written for Devon by Grandad Robert Livesay
  • Smoked Turkey Breast: Bob shares secrets for making smoked turkey breast
  • A Letter from Bob Livesay: June, 2010, Bob writes to Rob and Jo, Dave and Margaret, and Allan and Luanne to express appreciation for a trip to the east coast
  • A Sushi Experience – Up Close and Personal: Bob and Louise learn to make sushi from their friend Vi Omoto

Next, here is a series of the four conversations that we had during my visit.

As an aside, since this is my first attempt at incorporating an audio format into the blog, I uploaded the audio files to two sites, Soundcloud and Mixcloud. I will likely settle on one or the other for future projects, but for these interviews you have a choice. Here are links to the playlists, as well as the individual tracks.

Talking about Bob’s life would be incomplete without including the writings of his wife Louise. They were married two weeks shy of 65 years. Here are Louise’s writings.


Louise Livesay

Talking to Bob and collecting this material was a lot of fun for both of us. Being able to speak from 91 years of experience gives Bob and unique and valuable perspective on the world. He and Louise lived dignified lives that enriched the world through their actions, as well as through their children and grandchildren. As an aside, by compiling all their information here, it will be included in the internet archive, which is a non-profit internet library. Thus, historians, researchers and scholars will have access to this post, and the contents of all the links, for years to come.





3 thoughts on “Conversations with Bob Livesay

  1. Bill Hanna

    Thanks for sharing Allan!

    Bill Hanna

    (617) 717-4906

    “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” — Max De Pree

  2. Jean Shyrer

    Our Christmas card to Bob was returned and we are sorry to find Bob passed in April. Bob and Louise were dear friends in Corvallis. We met at church and they were supportive to me when my husband, Ralph Burba, was ill. Ralph passed in 2007 and I have since remarried and live in Medford, OR. I would enjoy reading Louise’s stories as well as Bob’s and find I need permission to access Louise’s blog. My regular email is

    1. Allan Post author

      Thank you for your comment. As it turns out, you identified a problem with this post — I had unlocked the folder containing Bob’s files, but not Louise’s files. I fixed the issue. If you have any further access problems, please let me know.


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