Robert Joseph Laffin Jr

Bob Laffin was a man with much endurance; he could be stubborn and stood firm in his convictions. He was well thought of by many and made lasting friendships, both in he grocery business and from childhood. His formative years were established in St. Anthony Parish and the kept his friendship with many of his classmates throughout many years.

Bobby Laffin was extremely hard-working. Starting at the age of fifteen, he helped his father by selling produce in a tent located at Morris and Harding street in Indianapolis. Wanting to do more, he purchased a bow tie and became an usher, first at the Lowes Theatre and then the Circle Theatre, in downtown Indianapolis and riding his bicycle to work from Sheffield Avenue on the Westside.

Bobby could be a bit of a challenge, but you had to love him - - some may have found him to be humorous. It has been noted that Bobby and a few friends stole a limousine (better known as a hearse) from Usher Funeral Home and drove it around Monument Circle in Indianapolis. Of course, it was returned in good condition; his father found it to be amusing and Mr. Usher forgave his antics. Bob Laffin also, along with some friends, rang the church bell at St. Anthony’s Parish one evening, giving an indication the pastor had died. Bobby states he didn’t do it; he was just there. Dear Bob revealed there were several times his mother did not reveal to his father some of the mischief he managed to get into. We cannot forget the time Bobby was cleaning a gun in the kitchen of their home. Barbara had just gotten a new stove and Bobby didn’t realize the gun was loaded and shot a hole into the stove. His guardian angel was always kept very busy.

Bobby joined the Navy at the age of 20 and served as a Navy Fireman on The U.S.S. Boxer from October 1, 1952 to September 6, 1955. The carrier caught on fire when an airplane landed on ship returning from a mission. The ship suffered great damage and returned to port in the San Francisco Bay. Upon completion of military service in his naval career, Bob returned to his home State of Indiana with his wife, Barbara, whom he married in 1954. She was his childhood sweetheart and together they had four children: Neil (Bridget), Doug, Sharon and Brenda. Bobby has five grandchildren: Kelly Ward (Matt), Zach Laffin, Robert, Nicole and Cassie. Included also are four great-grandchildren: Stevi, Brayden, Daylen and Brantley.

Bobby worked for Eli-Lilly and Allisons for a short period of time after his tour of duty with the Navy. He decided this was not the work he wanted to do and he became dedicated to working in the grocery business established by his father. The business became known as 30th and Keystone Market. It was started in a tent and was complete with excellent produce and known for the high quality of meat. The store operated seven days a week 24 hours a day with no way to lock up the merchandise. Eventually, a building was erected and Bobby found great pride and joy working alongside his father to make a productive family business. Holidays were exciting and very busy with a large flow of customers. Robert Laffin, Sr. and Sam Butler had become a big operation in the wholesale of Christmas Trees. The seasons of the year were important also and the Laffin and Butler Families became very close in the operation of each owning his own family business. Barbara Laffin became very important to the business as the bookkeeper. Each of their children did their share of many jobs that needed to be done. The entire family, including two uncles and Charles Fippen, husband to Roberta Fippen, worked many hard and long hours to maintain a living for the families. Through it all, Bobby was always the driving force to make a success of the family business because he knew that was hid father’s hope and dream.

Bobby learned to accept the challenges of life that God had handed him. An accident occurred in 1973. Bobby was checking the battery in his car and the battery exploded in his face, robbing him the loss of sight in the left eye and only partial sight in the other eye. He has lived forty some odd years with partial eyesight and in these latter years became legally blind. He was never heard to say, “Why me”. He truly accepted whatever the Lord handed him. He listened regularly to the Catholic Channel on television and enjoyed conversations with close friends when possible. He loved his oatmeal raisin cookies brought to him by a parish member. He stayed true to his faith. He never held a grudge, was quick to forgive and did not judge (he would often state - - “who am I to judge”; people can do what they want”.

Bobby was not materialistic and was considered to be a man of simple means. He would always try to be available to help anyone in need, monetarily or otherwise. He never thought of himself, but would willingly help others. Bob was kind and caring. He loved animals and gave a home to many stray animals throughout his life.

Bobby was “one of a kind”. He was a good son to Robert and Pauline Laffin, a devoted husband to Barbara, wonderful father, to Neil, Doug, Sharon and Brenda, loving grandfather to Kelly, Zach, Robert, Nicole and Cassie, and a great-grandfather four times to Stevi, Brayden, Daylen and Brantley. He was a very dear uncle to Charles Patrick Fippen, Stephen Michael Fippen and beloved brother to Roberta and Charles Fippen. He will always remain in our hearts with much love. He brought us fun and laughter and will be very much missed.