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 Remembering Bob Gauss

A memorial service for Robert F. Gauss was held May 25, 2000, at the Emmetsburg Incarnation United Church of Christ. The Rev. Margaret Dodds officiated.

The Rev. Dodds began: "As pastor of Incarnation United Church of Christ, I welcome you this morning, family and friends of Robert Gauss. We come as citizens of Emmitsburg, recognizing the loss to our community of this hard-working, faithful, good man. We come because at the time of death there is a strong and wise feeling that God’s healing touch can come to us most powerfully, when we expand the circle of our own immediate family to include the wider community of those who knew and cared for our loved one. We can come together to recognize the pain and sorrow and deep emotion that death’s separation brings. We can come together with music and prayer and words of remembrance, and in this quiet place, where worship has brought together the faithful over so many generations, we trust that we will find peace. We come in trust that the joining together of so many memories will mark a fitting tribute to this one whose life we celebrate today.

"Robert Frederick Gauss was born 62 years ago in Baltimore. He died at Gettysburg Hospital on Sunday. May 21. During all those years, he touched each of you here in some special way. Perhaps through his business, as a professional land surveyor. Or through the Boy Scouts, or the Lions Club, the Mason-Dixon Festival, or the Business and Professional Association, or the Emmitsburg Historical Association. He was a community person and the whole community feels his loss. A number of you have asked to share your special memories of Bob and to let his wife, Crystal and his sons, Bob, Jr., and Jim, and Chris and their families know in what special ways their husband and father influenced your lives."

Between prayers, scripture readings and music family, friends and colleagues remembered Bob Gauss. Among the speakers were his sister, Nancy Penrod, and fellow surveyor Terry Roderick

Following are some excerpts from euologies given by Elizabeth Prongas, Joan Boyle, and Herb Gingell.

"From the day Bob set foot in this community many years ago, he assumed the responsibility of a caring active citizen. His enthusiasm and tireless involvement made him beloved and respected by all those who were fortunate enough to have known him. In his tireless efforts for the shaping of a better Emmitsburg, he attended countless town meetings, worked with regional and county planners, and became involved in so many community activities...Bob was always there for all of us, a broad shoulder for all of us to lean on, gently persuasive when things needed to be done, but never confrontational.

"We must all learn from this life that has been taken from us. We have been touched by a man with humility and an indefinable spirit of immense goodness." —Elizabeth Prongas

"Robert F. Gauss _ dedicated citizen, valued friend. In both cases, an individual nonpareil.

"When there was a need for new arrangements for the use of the town’s tennis court...Bob volunteered to be responsible for its upkeep which he did faithfully for three years that I know of...

"Later when Virginia Sanders and I were responsible for updating the Historical Society’s "Walking Tours" we discovered that to include a map of the Town with identification of a name for the stream by the Post Office...we would need a survey of the stream. Who else came to our rescue but Bob with all his expertise ...as he embraced the laborious negotiations with the powers that be...in all about seven years.

"On July 15, 1999, Bob received a letter from Roger L. Payne, Executive Secretary of the United States Board of Geographic Names saying ‘We are pleased to inform you that the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, at its July 8, 1999 meeting, approved the name Willow Rill for a stream in Frederick County..... and [Willow Rill has been entered into the Nation's official automated geographic names repository. The entry will read as follows:

Willow Rill: stream, 1.6 km (1mi) long, heads at the SW edge of the community of Emmitsburg at 39º42’11"N, 77º20’07"W, flows E. 1.6 km (1mi) before joining Flat Run; named for the willows lining the banks of the stream; Frederick County, Maryland 39º42’01"N, 77º19’10"W; USGS map_ Emmitsburg 1:24,000.

"Bob has radiated the basic ideal of Athenian Democracy when the Athenian became a legal citizen by pledging ‘We will transmit this city more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.’ Thank you, Bob, for giving Emmitsburg such a legacy of making it a more beautiful place in which to live. Let us cherish your legacy by continuing its beauty."

—Joan Boyle

"We are here today, not to mourn a death, but to celebrate a life. Bob has lived a life committed to family and community. He was involved in many civic organizations whose main goal is to make our community a better place in which to live. I can attest to his commitment to the organizations he was affiliated with, especially the Emmitsburg Lions Club. Bob was a member of the original Emmitsburg Lions Club which was disbanded, and later reorganized.

"The original Lions Club instituted a Children’s Christmas Party . When the club disbanded, Bob continued to direct this party until our club was reorganized (and he was made chairman). Thanks to Bob, the Children’s Christmas party has operated for 70 consecutive years.

"At our annual Community Day celebration Bob directed the closest-to-the-pin golf contest, directed the raffle tent, also was co-chairman of our annual Health Fair and Scholarship Fund. He will be greatly missed, not only by the many organizations he has served, but by the entire community.

"Our condolences go out to the Gauss family and I know Bob has left a message with all of us to keep striving in all our endeavors to help create a community we can all be proud of."

—Herbert Gingell.

Do you know of an individual who helped shape Emmitsburg?
If so, send their story to us at: history@emmitsburg.net

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