Robert C. "Bob" Lucas lived a life that was both spirited and spirit-led. He had a reverence for the natural world and a deep caring for his family, friends, co-workers and community. Bob was kind and gentle, welcoming and thoughtful. He had a smile that enveloped you. He cared deeply for others and was always willing to help those in need. But what he did, he did quietly, not with fanfare.
It is difficult to think of Bob and not his wife Grace, as they were such a pair – devoted to each other and their community. They were married for 60 years. They "fretted" over those they loved and did their best to help family, friends and even strangers. They lived their beliefs. They did not need to spend a lot of time talking about them. They fed the poor. They cared for the sick. They reminded the rest of us of our responsibility to do the same. Their commitment to their faith never wavered, never hesitated.
Bob was born February 11, 1931, to Robert and Ella Lucas in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He received a doctorate degree in geography from the University of Minnesota and then studied at the Free University in West Berlin, at the University of Chicago and at the University of Michigan. While in Chicago, Bob and Grace - up to that point she was a life-long Methodist - discovered the 57th St. Meeting of Friends and were drawn into that community and spiritual path. In 1964 they both became members of the Twin Cities Monthly Meeting, as they were living in St. Paul for Bob’s Forest Service job.
Bob spent 30 years with the U.S. Forest Service, almost all as a research scientist before retiring in 1989. His research career was spent in recreation and wilderness management. His first study dealt with recreational use of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the Minnesota wilderness. In 1967, Bob moved to Missoula to launch a new Wilderness Management Research unit. In 1984, he received the Department of Agriculture Award for Superior Service for “creative research that has led the way to scientific management of our nation’s wilderness.” Also, he was nominated for and received a lifetime achievement award from the National Wildlife Federation. Even in retirement, his involvement and enthusiasm for protecting resources, wildlife and wild places continued.
With the move to Missoula, Bob and Grace became involved in the small but determined Friends worship group, which became a Meeting in 1986. They transferred their membership from Twin Cities in 1993. They were an integral part of this Meeting, hosting many potlucks, clearness meetings and committee meetings in their home at the edge of the wild lands. We remember well their tales of the critters in the area, with the black-bear-in-the-kitchen story being most memorable.
They had a love of children, raising two daughters, Ann and Jane, and spent a lot of time with grandchildren. Two grandsons lived with them partly while in middle and high school and kept them busy, but willingly so. Bob’s interests were vast and varied but hunting with fine hunting dogs, close friends and grandsons was as good as it could get.
Bob passed away at his home at The Springs in Missoula on Sunday, February 21, 2016. He created and left us with a special place in our hearts, where we hold him dear.