Robert "Bobby" Michael Hendershot, Jr.

robert hendershot,  jr.

Robert "Bobby" Michael Hendershot, Jr.

July 3, 1968 - October 19, 2018

For 50 years, you were pure sunshine on this earth.

Robert was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from Hilliard High School in 1986. As the first-born child and grandchild in the family, he was a nurturing role model to his little sister and eight younger cousins. He earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish from The Ohio State University in 1999 and, soon after, made Denver, Colorado his home. In 2005, he met his husband-to-be, Brad Blalack and they adopted their sweet dog, Millie. In 2016 Robert completed his Master of Business Administration, despite his cancer diagnosis in the midst of the curriculum. In 2017, he and Brad lawfully wed and celebrated their marriage with family and friends.

Rob was dedicated to his work and proud of his career in school-based health services. His Spanish-speaking skills helped to provide healthcare to school-aged children of families with limited English proficiency. For over ten years as the Director of Denver Public Schools' Medicaid Department, Rob helped students with disabilities do better in life by improving their health, wellness and medical support in school. Rob loved his work and had much more to offer. He treasured the dedication, support and friendship of his colleagues.

Bobby was a true optimist. Happiness would spring up from his soul, lighten his smile, brighten his eyes, and emanate from his outstretched arms, pulling you in. He was unselfish, kind and genuine, and was quick to see beauty and find sincerity in people. He was a lifelong learner and teacher. He had an insatiable curiosity about science, culture, language, art, and music. Bobby loved to travel but had little interest in sightseeing. He preferred to experience the warmth of humble people in simple places.

Bobby's love for good food, cooking, friends and family made every gathering memorable. His Polish and Latvian heritage lived in the recipes he collected, handed-down from his babcia and mother. He'd sing Sto lat for every birthday and bake a cake, always from scratch. He rolled out his last piecrust with love, for his mom, shortly before his passing. Bobby was pretty good at putting other sons to shame, like that.

Music was always Bobby's friend, carrying his spirit to faraway places and moving his body with life-affirming rhythm. His contagious excitement and long limbs filled many a dance floor. He'd come alive with ivory keys under his fingertips and could channel the emotion of Chopin from heart. Yes, he was a less-accomplished lip-syncher, but his smile and sway, holding his imaginary microphone, charmed us anyway.

Rob was a loyal, empathetic, and unwavering friend. His calm, confident presence was the best antidote when things seemed to fall apart. His tender spirit was equally balanced with a quiet strength and fearlessness, even in adversity. It was the side of him that would point his skis unequivocally downhill or drive a fast car to its limits. When Rob went in, he was all in, and he would champion your cause as if it were his own.

Bobby's strength of spirit never faltered. But, as his burdens became heavy, he would steal away quiet moments, lingering behind, after others left. He'd take in the wonder of the night sky or the sound of the evening surf, alone for a while, contemplating life and love...and let his troubles drift away.

Rob was happy, engaging and self-aware through the last day of his life. He was uplifted by beautiful notes and thoughtful gifts of comfort from friends and family, near and far. He passed quickly and peacefully with no fear, firmly seated behind the wheel and all in, with his husband and best friend at his wings. Robert's body was cremated and his ashes are at home with his husband for now. Very close friends and family gathered the day after his passing to comfort each other and celebrate his life. No further memorial service is planned at this time.

Bésame mucho, mi amor.

Robert is survived by his husband, Bradley Blalack and their sweet Millie. He is survived by his lifelong friend, Lynn Grosso, of Washington, DC. In Ohio, he is survived by his mother, Diana Hendershot; sister, Romana Hernandez (Alex); and special nephew, Nicholas; aunt, Roma Dean (Jim); uncles, Dr. Thomas Olszewski (Kathy), Victor Olszewski (Pam). Rob is survived by many other relatives and friends. Robert is preceded in death by his father Robert M. Hendershot and his 4 grandparents, who instilled in Robert a love and appreciation for travel and culture.

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