Officer Bob, Unka Bob, Bob, Bobby, was born May 21, 1968 in Mount Vernon, WA. He died May 10, 2014 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. Colon cancer made his last three years interesting and the opportunity for more laughter, more jokes, new friends, more love, and much hard work, and then it finally got him. All that wise-crackery, lost.
Bob was the son of Earl and Kathy Peth, born into a pioneer farming family in Skagit County, and a family of Norwegian and Dutch immigrants from Seattle. He graduated from LaConner High School in 1986, one of 23 seniors that year. He attended WSU and returned home to pursue a lifelong interest in photography, cameras, and high-tech gadgetry. He worked at Stacey's Camera in Mount Vernon before moving to Seattle to be a sales rep and then to work at Rainier Photographic where he remembered everyone's customer number and freaked them out.
He took the lessons of his farming childhood - self-reliance, herd management, and the ability to drive (and fix) almost anything -
with him when he joined the Seattle Police Department in 1999 as a sworn officer, becoming somewhat legendary for his smile, hard work, laughter, jokes, sarcasm, fairness, and care for his community. He gradually moved upward to a chair with a desk and two computers, although he frequently threatened to go back to his first love, patrol. He won two awards for Excellence in Policing, the latest for developing and heading the Joint Assessment Team, where Detective Peth was the Department's "go to person" for any and all issues dealing with liquor licenses, nightlife (bars and clubs), all-age dances, and raves.
Bob's confidence and certainty in who he was made room for adjustment in the SPDs treatment of all gay officers; he filmed a segment for "It Gets Better;" and he got married on December 9, 2012, when Seattle City Hall first opened the doors for marriage equality. He was resplendent in his full dress uniform. He is survived by his husband Aaron Fletcher of Seattle.
He loved movies, music, history, travel, and art; he wanted to know the meaning of things. He loved policing, photography, puzzles, puns; he knew all the dialogue from The Princess Bride. He had a 10 second star turn the worst film ever made of a Stephen King novel, Rose Red. In 2011, he and Aaron and friends went to Europe, where Bob fell in love with Berlin and Prague. Their visit to Auschwitz changed the way he looked at the world, and strengthened his ability to be himself. He had a built-in BS meter, and little respect for people he found to be superficial or self-serving. He liked his hamburgers plain and his friends authentic.
In addition to Aaron and their beloved Jojo (the fur-child), Bob is survived by his parents, Earl and Kathy Peth of Mount Vernon; his brother Joe, sister-in-law Teri, and nephews Patrick and Tommy Peth. Also waving goodbye are his mother-in-law Nancy Johnson and the rest of his Peninsula family; his Great Uncle Jack Van Gortel of Rancho Mirage, CA; Aunt and Uncle Dorothy and Roger Dalan of Mount Vernon, Uncle and Aunt Jim and Darlene Bergh of Lebanon, Oregon, and a whole swarm of cousins. Escorting him through these last days were his excellent and caring medical team, the most wonderful officers and gentlefolk of the Seattle Police Department, the bunch from the Bus Stop, and many many friends and acquaintances who have enjoyed his humor, courage, and kindness. He will be met by his grandparents George and Nadine (Hanstad) Peth and Lawrence and Kathryn (Van Gortel) Bergh, aunts Janet Peth Otis and Mary Ann Peth Zimmerman, niece Tami Lynn Peth, and Billy-the-good-dog.
Services, with more pomp than he really wanted, will be at the Seattle Academy 1111 13th Ave Seattle, WA on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. A Skagit County memorial is planned for later this summer. In lieu of flowers, Bob is shouting at you: