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Ad man Bob Drew left a trail of good memories

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POSTED February 11, 2009 5:03 a.m.
Bob Drew passed away Monday night leaving an emptiness, a serious void with all those who knew him.

The Manteca Bulletin advertising salesman had recently retired with the downturn in his clients’ businesses  in car sales and real estate.   He had served in that capacity for some 13 years.

Bob would always begin his day by sitting down at his desk first thing in the morning and reading regional newspapers to keep abreast of the advertising and financial markets.  He would focus on the paper in front of him,  but he would always greet staffers coming to work and walking into the office.

It was almost like a chorus responding one at a time with, “Hi, Bob.”

A gall bladder surgery interrupted the fist few weeks of his retirement.  He had been recovering when he was diagnosed with a more serious life-threatening ailment  that claimed his life within a relatively short period of time.

Newspaper staff members and many of his former clients were shocked at the news of his death on Tuesday morning saying they would always remember his humor and his caring ways.  There was constant chatter among employees over the last couple of days after they learned about him being back in the hospital.

Bob Drew was more than just a fellow employee.  He was more like a father figure — a grandfather figure — to those who worked with him at the paper day in and day out.

Phil Waterford, owner of the Ford dealership in Manteca, said Bob had represented his new and used-car sales through the Bulletin advertising during  the last 12 years that he has been in business.

“Bob is a gentleman’s gentleman……Wow!” Waterford was obviously shocked at  receiving the word of Drew’s death.  They had  been very close business associates — with nothing but the utmost respect for each other.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to not only Bob, but to his family,  and to the Manteca Bulletin family as well,  and everybody who knew him because he certainly is going to be missed,” he said.

Waterford said Drew’s “sense of humor was pretty cool too.”  He added that the staff at the dealership really enjoyed that side of him.  

“Whenever we needed something,  he came through for us.  He is a tough act to follow,” he said.

Retired real estate woman Bev Marlow said, “I thought well of Bob.  He impressed me as somebody who went on about his business being very humorous.  He always had something nice to say — just a nice guy.”

Don Cabral of Cabral Western Motors said Bob was “the most pleasant man” as an advertising representative for the paper.  “He was always pushy in the right way.  I always felt he was there for my best interests.”

Cabral said he knew Bob’s retirement — his departure —was very sudden.  “He never gave any indication of what was wrong and was always Johnnie on the spot,” he said.

Cabral added, “He was a very nice, nice man, very pleasant to work with and would be sitting outside the office being very patient.”

Bill Cabral said he had known Bob since he worked at the Pontiac dealership in Stockton in the ‘60s. “Bob was a pretty nice guy — always had a smile on his face — and never had a bad thing to say about anybody.  I always liked Bob — we would go way back and talk about everything,” he said.

Real estate woman Jessie Barrett said one of her best memories was Bob sliding into her parking lot Thursday afternoons in his white Camaro with the proof to her ad for Friday’s real estate section.  He would act like it was still Monday or Tuesday and just plop it in place, she said.

“As much as I could dole it out, he came back with verbal sparring,” she quipped.  She said she will miss the Thursday afternoon sparring sessions with him.

When you have a rapport with someone over the years,  it is going to be hard to replace.  “I’m sure I drove him as nuts as he drove me,” she said chuckling.

Drew’s funeral arrangements are pending.  They will be listed in the Manteca Bulletin as soon as they are finalized.

Bob Drew was the second ad salesman to die in the last month.  Bev Proctor died at 71 after a short stay in a local hospital.  In a personal display of her work ethic, Bev attempted to keep track of some of her accounts by telephone.
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