Bob Stanley

Below is a copy of the heartfelt eulogy delivered by Ray Dennis this week at Bob Stanley’s funeral. It highlights the important contribution Bob made to Richmond Rowing Club and I hope that those of you who knew him will read it with fond memories and for those of you newer to the club who maybe were unaware of his impact will realise how special he was.
I am honoured to be here today on behalf of the Committee and members of Richmond Rowing Club, and the general Rowing community to recognize the contributions to these organizations given by Bob, and to express our heartfelt condolences to Ivy and the family.
The esteem that Bob earned in his association with our sport is shown in the fact that he was elected as a life member of two clubs, Preston and Richmond.
Bob commenced his rowing career with Preston Rowing club, which had a shed on Edwardes lake, and another on the Yarra at Newcut corner. This was a necessity as the lake’s course was quite restricted, only suitable for pairs, and to gain the fitness level and endurance to compete in the longer events it was essential to have access to the expanse of the Yarra. Thus training was quite an onerous task, especially negotiating the traffic on Batman Avenue. This shed was demolished in 1956 in the preparations for the Olympics.
Nevertheless Bob was a highly successful oarsman. Teaming with Jack Hibbert they were the basis of most of Preston’s crews at this time. They had great success rowing in a Champion Junior 8, Senior Fours, and in the early 50’s went on to win several Senior Pairs, they were I believe a formidable combination.
At an early age Bob showed enterprise as a recruiter, and spotter of talent, he attended a Northcote High School assembly and addressed the group of boys encouraging Neville Howell to join Preston, although I am unsure about the initiation given, as the first row was in a dilapidated boat which sank, leaving Jack, Bob, and Neville to swim to shore.
When Preston disbanded, a friendship with Rod Stewart, that began in 1950 when a Richmond crew were in dire need of a boat at Ballarat, Bob showed his usual generosity, and allowed his boat to be loaned to Rod and Harry Grinblatt, this along with his support for the Richmond football club, influenced his decision and we were fortunate that Bob chose us to continue his association with rowing.
At Richmond Bob was an enthusiastic participant in all areas of the clubs activities, he was originally involved with the veterans eight on Sundays, but soon graduated to become a committee member, first serving as a general member, then as President from 1985-1988 and finally as Executive Vice President till 1995, as well as holding the position of selector during this time.
Bob took the position of President at a time when both the club’s financial position and its’ membership base were not at all healthy, but Bob’s good humour, positive outlook, and organizational skills allowed the club to weather the storm and then to flourish.
His dedication to the sport was shown in that for many years he also acted as a boat race official, travelling to the many city and country regattas to perform the various duties necessary to ensure the fair and efficient operation of these events. This was always done as Bob did everything, without fanfare but with an impish grin and quiet good humour. Everyone who had dealings with him commented that “Bob was a gentleman”
In the latter years he competed in Masters events teaming with Don Dudgeon in pairs and fours with success at Westlakes in an E four and later with Banks in a larger Composite crew, his last regatta was at the Australian Masters Championships at Nagambie in 2008 where he gained Silver.
From the 90’s he continued his social rowing with Rod Stewart and the pair were an institution on Sunday morning rowing the tub pair to the Island and back. This only ceased very recently when he and Rod found it difficult to manhandle the boat on the slippery staging, but even this did not diminish his attendance at the club or his exercise regime as he still travelled by train and used the ergo regularly.
The dedication to the sport of Rowing and his intense loyalty to both Preston and Richmond Rowing Clubs will long be remembered by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Bob Stanley
Bob Stanley