Monday, November 23, 2015
Bobby Towe: A True Craftsman
It is a little harder to write my annual thanksgiving article this year. A friend and great HVAC mechanic just died – finally losing his long running battle with cancer. His name is Bobby Towe. Bobby and his brother Bennie were a large part of what made my family’s business, Stanfield Air Systems, the type of business it was and continues to be: a place where craftsmen work for friends. Bobby’s brother, Bennie started working with dad soon after dad had opened his business. Bennie was working in a local cotton mill and was looking for a more rewarding job with better working conditions. He knew nothing about HVAC when he started with dad, but he grew to be dad’s right hand man having learned both the installation and service side of the business. Bennie had only been working with dad for about a year when he brought Bobby by. Bennie wanted his brother Bobby to have the same opportunity that he had. Bobby became the best sheet metal man around. He was a craftsman. Bobby cared about what he made, and I am certain, enjoyed creating. You may not regard plenums, transitions, and offsets as creative works of art, but Bobby treated each one he made as if it were going into an art gallery. After he retired from daily HVAC work he took up woodworking and carpentry. Not surprisingly, he became very good. He made furniture, shelves, and cabinets - he still needed to create. He made a beautiful shelf system for my dad to hold his CD and tape collection. I always think of Bobby whenever I see it. That shelf represents how much dad meant to Bobby and how thankful he was to have the opportunity to work with dad. This thanksgiving I am grateful to have known a true craftsman, Bobby Towe.