By Melody Vallieu
TROY — Robert J. “Bob” Shook — known for his many contributions to Miami County and beyond — has passed away at the age of 84.
Shook, of Troy, died Thursday, March 23, at Hospice of Miami County in Troy, from pulmonary fibrosis, according to his daughter, Julie Muhlberger.
Muhlberger shared her father’s favorite quote by Phillips Brooks, that she said she believes is a good summary of his life: “If there is any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, for I shall not pass this way again.”
“If there was something that needed tended to, he got to it right away,” Muhlberger said Thursday.
And tend to it the 1951 graduate of Troy High School did. Shook has a long list of accolades to his credit throughout his storied lifetime in Miami County, but he was perhaps best known for his leadership in the completion of the Miami County bike trails. Serving as chairman of the Miami County Trails Task Force Committee, Shook later was honored by the Miami County Park District by having the Miami River Trail Bridge on County Road 25-A between Piqua and Troy named the “Robert J. Shook Bike Way Bridge.”
Scott Myers, executive director of the Miami County Park District, said Shook was instrumental in seeing the bike trails in Miami County come to fruition.
“Without his vision, without his drive, the bike trail would have never been done as soon as it was,” Myers said. “He was so proud of all the work everyone in Miami County was able to do in order to see the bike trails be completed.”
Myers said the bridge is a fitting tribute for everything Shook did for the community.
“He became a friend and it was so neat to be involved in the things that he did,” Myers said. “I’m glad we have the bridge to remember and honor him for all the work he did.
“It is a very sad day in Miami County,” Myers said.
Concord Township Trustee Tom Mercer also worked with Shook on the bike path committee as it developed around the county. Mercer also shared how it was Shook who encouraged him to get more involved in Concord Township and to run for trustee, a position Shook also formerly held.
“Not only did he serve the township, but he served the entire community,” Mercer said. “He was top-notch and he always had the people’s best interest in mind. Bob did more for other people than himself. He was just a great guy, a tireless worker and he just loved Troy.”
Shook served as chairman of the Troy American Legion Post 43 Library of Congress Veterans History Project from 2010-2012. He completed 160 interviews that were submitted to The Library of Congress by Rep. John Boehner’s Troy office, which was the largest number of completed and submitted veterans’ interviews in Ohio. He also was a member of the American Legion Post 586, Tipp City.
He was former the chairman of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, where he received the Regional Steward and Leadership Award. Troy Mayor Michael Beamish served with Shook on the MVRPC and said his loss won’t just be felt by Miami County, but throughout the region.
“Not only was the county blessed to have his enthusiasm, but also his passion for recreation and wellness,” said Beamish, who got a fist bump from Shook when he visited him just last week at the Hospice unit at UVMC. “He had strong opinions, but a drive and determination to accomplish things.
“He had a lot of pride in the county, but he also cared a lot about the entire region. His contributions go deep and far,” Beamish said.
Shook, an Army veteran, continued to support Beamish in his desire to enhance the river area in Troy as an economic tool, which has been accomplished with Treasure Island, Beamish said.
“He encouraged me to never give up,” Beamish said. “He was a good friend, he really was. It’s going to be a big loss.”
The Trinity Episcopal Church member also was the founder and chairperson of the Miami County Citizens Against Drug Addiction Committee, and was a member of a host of other Miami County organizations.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara (Sharkey) Shook; daughter and son-in-law, Julie S. and Michael A. Muhlberger of Raleigh, N.C.; son: Thomas W. Shook of Troy; and three grandchildren.
In Shook’s final days at UVMC, Muhlberger said family was encouraged by the kindness they found. She said nurses — who did not know her father personally — would stop in his room and thank him for building the bike path for their families to enjoy.
Muhlberger said her father loved “La Boheme” by Pavarotti, so as the family gathered Thursday, she found it fitting for the music to be playing.
“I was going through my phone and found a Pavarotti radio station and ‘La Boheme’ just happened to be playing,” said Muhlberger, fighting through tears. “As Pavarotti reached his crescendo, my father took his dying breaths and was gone by the end of the song.”
Services are pending at Baird Funeral Home in Troy.