Bob's wife, Etta, to whom he was married for 34 years until her death in 1978, was his companion in Quaker service and traveled with him to many parts of the world. They raised four children: Jan, David, Jonathan, and Russell.
I once gave Bob a calligraphy of Philippians 1:3, "I thank my God each time of think of you." I know that is how Bob felt about his friends and all people who follow their spiritual leadings. Let us in turn thank God for Bob's life, the example he provided, the lessons he taught us, and the love he gave us. Let us all carry on the work of the Spirit as he would have us do.
--Jeanette Norton, Orange County Meeting (PYM)
I first met the Vogels when they were guests in my family's home forty years ago, soon after their return from a tour of AFSC projects in Asia. They conveyed both joy and the seriousness of the needs toward which AFSC projects were directed, and they spoke enthusiastically of the Village Development Project in Barpali, India, whose hand-loomed textiles Etta Vogel and Gladys Gray imported and sold for many years to benefit the Barpali cooperative. Many Friends in Pacific Yearly Meeting still display these fabrics in their homes.
It was my privilege to join Bob Vogel in AFSC's peace education work from 1967 through 1972, during the Vietnam War. He was a patient mentor and a model for me and for many other young activists. As important as skills are to peacemaking--and he was a highly skilled analyst, strategist, and organizer --Bob's teaching and practice revealed the much more fundamental importance of attending to one's deepest leadings, and of searching always for the light in others regardless of their position in a conflict. Bob acted with steadfast conviction and courage, and sometimes in principled confrontation, while he spoke gently and with consistent openness.
In about 1966, Bob Vogel was an initiator of the vigil for peace in Pasadena (one of hundreds that were held weekly around the country throughout the Vietnam War). Week after week, year after year, we stood in silent worship before the post office, attempting to communicate a simple message of compassion. Derision by passersby was not unusual. Once a critic leaned close to Bob Vogel's face and asked aggressively, "Don't you have anything better to do than stand here?" Bob stepped out of the line, touched the man's arm, and gently replied, "No. I don't have anything better to do than to stand here and call for peace."
In February of this year, Bob sent me a news clipping that described a similar weekly vigil sponsored by AFSC, among others, to call for nonviolent solutions to the stand-off with Iraq. For Bob Vogel, peacemaking was indeed a way of life.
Although twenty-six years have passed since I last worked directly with Bob Vogel, I still see his face and hear his voice often when a challenge confronts me and I struggle to find my way toward right action. I think of his ministry and his clerking skills when business meetings drift into confusion or contention. It would be difficult to guess how many others in Pacific Yearly Meeting and throughout Quakerdom carry within some of this legacy given to us by Bob Vogel.--Jamie Newton, Palo Alto (PYM)
In the mid eighties I was startled, sitting at the back of a plenary at PYM at Chico, to see the most amazing orange and blue apparition slowly rise from ahead of me, like one of those organs in old movie theatres that rose straight up into the stage from nowhere. The apparition untangled itself into a head and an amazing Hawaiian shirt.
It was Bob Vogel, Clerk of Yearly Meeting. He had taken, when in office, to wearing the most wonderful tie-dyed colored shirts. He was standing to address the plenary.
I had seen the promised shirt. This was California. --Keith Wedmore, San Francisco (PYM)
I met Bob Vogel the first year I attended Pacific Yearly Meeting (1982). He was the Clerk that year, and also the year following, as I recall. His patience amazed me, and I noticed his ability to bring the best out of everyone.
During the year that he was Brinton Visitor (1995), he spoke to our meeting about the unsung nurturing that makes successful communities possible. It happens at the neighbor-to-neighbor level, and of course this is the same thing Jesus was telling us about in asking us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
He was an able fundraiser, and loved to teach his methods to those of us involved with FWCC. He also enjoyed the process of building bridges between Friends of all persuasions, and I am thankful that he encouraged me to become involved with FWCC....Bob was a great guy!--Steve Birdlebough, Sacramento
Pacific Yearly Meeting at Craig Hall, Chico, 1983, was my first PYM and Bob was clerk. I had nothing to compare him with, but remember being electrified by his control and calm when at one point in a plenary session that was becoming contentious, he fell into silent worship and took the whole Yearly Meeting with him. I've remembered that ever since as a kind of model of what clerking can, and must, be at times.
My other memory was when he did his flea act for the kids and the audience. It became his virtuoso contribution to Family Nights at PYM.--David Wilson, Davis Meeting.
One of Bob Vogel's favorite stories involved a fellow who comes upon a sparrow lying on its back, kicking up its tiny legs. With some disdain, the fellow asks what's going on. The sparrow replies: "Haven't you heard? The sky is falling. I'm trying to hold it up." Thoroughly disgusted with this bird's behavior, the fellow says, "But you're so tiny! What do you think you can do to stop the sky from falling?" "One does what one can," was the sparrow's quiet reply. I believe that Bob's witness did help to prevent the sky from falling.--Paul Neibanck, Santa Cruz
I was saddened to hear of Bob Vogel's passing. We met Bob twice when he came out to the