Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Tribute to Bob Hinkle

A Tribute to Bob Hinkle

On November 8th, the Realms lost a quiet yet longstanding member of our community. Bob Hinkle, proprietor of the Chaos Dwarf Armory, passed away after a long illness. Bob was a mainstay of the Realms for many years, one of the earliest crafters and one of the most prolific too. But as much as he gave to the community through what he made, his real gifts were the endless generosity, the warm heart, and the unshakable smile he brought to every event he attended. This game has many amazing aspects to it, but I think one of the best is how, very consistently, it brings great people into our lives to make an impression on us that will never fade. Below are just some of the many many stories about the legacy that Bob Hinkle left within members of the Realms.

Bob was an incredibly generous man. He would allow a few of us to come and stay at his house every weekend just because they played Realms with his kids. We spent a lot of time over the Hinkles' when we were younger, and Bob and Irene were some of the most accommodating people I have ever met. - Jeremy "Nighthawk" Grayson


Bob Hinkle: I first met Bob in the early 90’s, reading a newspaper and sitting on the hood of his car as I pulled onto an event site. I start getting my stuff out of my car about three cars away from him and put on my garb, picked up my weapons etc... He has not moved, was just reading his paper. I walked over to him and started talking to him, introduced myself etc… I asked if he was getting ready soon because they are about to do reading of the rules and he will have to sign in and reg. His answer was that his son was already in there, had already signed in etc... “You are going to sit on your car all day?” "I have to read the paper and go pick up some food but pretty much going to be right here all day."

I went in and I mentioned it to Terry Armstrong who I had been hanging around with for a few years etc… His reply was “That is Calaban’s dad, Bob.” Fast forward a few years - I have gotten to know Bob, gotten him off the car hood -  he is now out of the parking lot, he's at a picnic table or in a tavern sometimes in a tabard but still reading the paper. One day I see him talking to a friend of mine, Paul Marcure (Eeldritch Armories) who was just starting a company making leather products. They are talking for a few hours and I see Bob with a pen writing some stuff down so I ask him what is up because I have never seen him write anything down especially on his paper. I thought he was doing a crossword or something...Nope. “I might do some of that leather stuff, it looks cool. That guy over there and I talked, sounds like that leather stuff might be fun.” A few years later Chaos Dwarf Armory - belts, bracers and pouches… 

Over the years Bob did not play much. Stephen and I had him NPC for the Lord of the Rings plot we did back in the beginning as the last Dwarf king. Bob donated belts and/or pouches for the kids for years at TOC’s kids quests. He had been to hundreds of events driving his boys and some others to events and staying the entire day patently waiting for the event to be done. Sometimes even Nashua practices at commuter or a feast…About 6 or 8 years ago I was working with a bunch of Young Boy Scouts that wanted to do leather-working. Bob had been pretty sick and his eyes were going so bad he was no longer driving but when I asked if I could bring the boys to see some of the stuff he makes his answer was "Sure, I can do stuff with the boys. Send me the requirements and we will make some stuff." I called Henry to also help because I was not sure how much Bob could actually handle seeing his eyesight and hands were not great...Stellar Day!!! The kids had a blast - Bob went above and beyond. Henry and I really had to do very little, Bob did a great job, showed much more than the requirements and he would not let us give him any payment for leather or anything. So in the 25+ years I have known Bob I have never seen him without a smile on his face ready to help anyone with anything all they had to do is ask. I am very proud to have known him and will miss him every day. -Andrew "Sir Shean" Disbrow


I met the Hinkles, Bob and his two sons Steve and Mike in 1994 at the first ToC, coming in with a small group that didn't know many people. We started to talk, next event we saw each other was later that year at the first QoH, we didn't have a way to get home and there were three of us. Bob gave us each $20, trusting us to pay him back. We had only meet him twice; that goes to show some of the sides of Bob. When his sons weren't around much, he still came. Bob just loved the people and getting to see and chat with everyone, as a plus he loved making stuff. He was always kind to me; he and his wife let me stay over there so much they called me a cousin ("cuz Ray from the city"). He will always be loved, always remembered and he raised two great kids. It's a tough loss - Ray "Radstar" McGuirk


We as a community have had quite the ride in 2016. We’ve made incredible displays of generosity, lending aid to old friends and galvanizing the legacy of a fallen brother. Despite being at the threshold of a new year, it seems 2016 is not finished with us yet. Not long ago Bob Hinkle, a longtime fixture of our community, recently passed away.

I had the benefit of growing up alongside Bob’s sons who are, to this day, friends I consider family. His home was the meeting ground for every game imaginable and he didn’t mind. Everyone was welcome in his home, knocking wasn’t even necessary you could just walk right in. Throughout the years Bob could be found behind a merchant table with his brother and grandchildren. He was even a onetime eventholder! He was a smiling and exuberant contributor to our community. Always excited to listen to the stories of others, offer his opinions on fairness, or talk about his projects and how to make the ideas of players reality. Some of his most easily recognizable works are the signature white belts worn by the Knights of the Eternal Flame and Knights of the Realms which he produced for many years. Not to mention more than 20 years’ worth of belts, pouches, tabards, masks, helmets, bracers and armor sets. Bob's passing marks yet another massive loss for our community. While Bob himself may no longer be with us, his influence on the community and the history of the game will never be far and certainly be remembered for decades to come. - Adam "Damion" Landry


Most kids look up to their parents, as they should. I was lucky growing up because not only did I have my dad to look up to I also had Bob! I met Bob at the age of 8, I hit it off with both Steve and Mike right away and right away I realized that their dad Bob was FRICKIN’ AWESOME! He helped me start my first baseball card collection and taught me what good music was. I was over their house so much, that one day I came home on a Saturday evening and my dad had my bags packed to stay over at the Hinkles' house. As we grew older there were times I would find myself going over to the Hinkle house to hang out with Bob. We would talk about music mostly but we would shoot the shit none the less.

Then I hit the ripe age of 13 and he introduced Steve, Mike, and I to LARPing! If you thought driving to Grafton was a drive, try driving to Belchertown! (This place was so far, they named it after a bodily function). So Bob, would drive us all to Belchertown, which for us Southern New Hampshire kids was roughly 3hrs. When we first started Realms at the age of 13 there were people who didn’t want us there due to our age. Bob being FRICKIN’ AWESOME, told them that he would stick around and make sure we didn’t get into trouble. After a while everyone realized how cool we were and Bob didn’t have to stay. So Bob would drive 3 hours to Belchertown to drop off his kids and their friend so they can do what they loved to do, drive back home 3 hours and then drive back to Belchertown 3 hours to pick us up. He never once complained, he just knew that we loved what we were doing and he wanted us to be happy.

Eventually Bob got a little carried away and started buying all this leather and equipment to make leather goods for the Realms. In fact, there could be a good chance that you are wearing a Bob original. Bob also has showed a handful of people how to do leatherworking so in theory Bob’s memory will always live on.

If you knew Bob, he would always throw you a smile. He always wanted to make sure his family was happy, even if that meant driving 12 hours in a weekend to make sure that his kids and friend were happy. I don’t think Bob knows how I feel about him but I can say my life is better and I’m a better person because Bob was in my life. I wouldn’t have the friends I have today, if Bob never invited me into his home and later on into a Blazer to drive 3 hours to hit people with foam weapons. All I know is every time I see a Harley on the road or listen to music I will think of Bob. I hope Bob is looking over me and my family in that Dwarven Armory in the sky. - Kevin "Kwartz" DeSousa

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