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Old 11-22-2019, 10:43 PM   #1
BandanaDan
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Default Bob Bellas obituary

I don't know if any club members knew him, in the Grand River area he was well known as a former champion canoe racer and long time owner of Grand River Canoe Livery. RIP, Bob https://www.fleming-billman.com/noti...4O-h4czd2py4rc
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:35 AM   #2
KenM
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Default Live Long and Paddle

A group from our hiking club has done three overnight trips on the Grand River and had Bob Bellas (Grand River Canoe) do the rentals and shuttles for us. Overnight trips on the Grand are hard to pull off but Bob was always willing to do some "custom" shuttles for our group. Bob was a rather eccentric fellow...at least at the livery. I think he put on a show for the city folks and scout troops, dressing in fringed leather and a beaded or feathered head band. And acting like a frontiersman. We didn't quite know what to make of him at first. He seemed rather fond of telling stories... especially his Big Foot stories. Ha. He always did a good job for us though.

This past summer three of us went up to scout out the upper Grand for this year's trip. We stopped at the livery and spent more than an hour talking with Bob. He was not in his "entertainment" mode and was telling us about his earlier years in canoe racing. I had heard some stories but wasn't sure what was fact or fiction. He really did have quite a career with canoes and racing! As we talked I was looking at some of the vintage boats he had hanging in his garage. There was one long, skinny craft I didn't even recognize. He told me it was his hand made C-1 ? racing canoe. I've never seen anything like it.

Bob mentioned that he had recently undergone some serious surgery... but he was still helping with loading canoes and driving the van's. His son and a helper were also working with him. I wonder now what will become of the livery and if his son might take over? It would be sad to lose Grand River Canoe as it is the only "traditional" livery still working the Grand.

-KenM

Dan, thanks for posting this.
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Old 11-23-2019, 04:32 PM   #3
BandanaDan
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Ken, You're right on with your description of Bob and the business. "Eccentric" being the key word. I'm going to the services Monday, maybe I'll learn what the family plans are moving forward, if they've even had time to think about it.
I've known Bob for over 50 years. I often tried to time my Sunday afternoon paddles so I would be there when he was picking up his rental customers and we'd chat. That stretch of the river just won't be the same without him.
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