Everyone Knows, You Have to Have a Double “E” to Spell Geek; That was Bob Asprey

ACANS News & Information Center

Everyone Knows, You Have to Have a Double ‘E’ to Spell Geek; That was Bob Asprey

If you had the pleasure of knowing Bob Asprey, then you know he was a brilliant man.  You also know that his brilliance had a playful side, and that he embodied the essence of humility. 

On Wednesday, April 12th, two quarterly Asprey Awards were presented in a ceremony that doubled as a tribute to Bob Asprey who passed Jan. 17, 2006.  Bob had been a long time friend and former employee of ICT.  In his lifetime, he went on to achieve great things, but Bob always retained a special place in his heart for the employees of ICT.  Bob and his family endowed the Asprey Award which is given quarterly to an ICT employee who has demonstrated a dedication to his/her job that exceeds the job’s requirements.  At Wednesday ’s ceremony, Bob’s mother, wife, and son (Marge, Jo, and Clint, respectively) watched as David Fraga and Michelle Guerra were presented the Asprey Award. 

About 50 ICT employees, many of them former Asprey Award recipients, attended Wednesday’s ceremony.  And in addition to sharing in the recognition and praise of two of their fellow employees, they shared their memories of Bob.  Mike Wolf, a former ICT director, was among those who shared his memories of Bob.  The two men worked together in the early and mid 1970s.  Mike relayed a story of an important meeting he and Bob had with the registrar, Eleanor Wiley.  She was very traditional in her manner as administrator.  The two men were trying to sell Wiley on way to compute grade point averages via the computer.  Mike thought it was important that they project a professional image during this presentation, and has he and Bob were preparing for their meeting, Mike was distracted by the fact that Bob’s socks did not match.  When he brought this to Bob’s attention, Bob responded that he matched his socks according to thickness, not color. 

“Bob was special.  He always had a positive attitude, and he believed,” says Mike, “that all people brought happiness; some by coming, some by going.  Bob brought his happiness by coming. ”  

Richard Gottieb, manager of the University Computer Center, has fond memories of Bob as well.  On this day, he and Jo Asprey retell one of the many stories involving Juan Too Many.  Juan Too Many was Bob’s donkey, and where Bob went, Juan Too Many went as well.  One day, Bob, an unidentified companion, and Juan Too Many pulled up to a drive-up liquor store window to buy some beer.  Bob was driving his faithful old Dodge Power Wagon, his companion was seated in the passenger’s seat, and Juan Too Many was in the back.   Juan Too Many was just one of the guys, so when Bob pulled up to the drive-up window, all three occupants looked over at the sales clerk.  Not paying attention, the clerk took the order and when looked up to collect the money, he thought Juan Too Many had placed the order. 

Jo Asprey shared another story with Richard Gottieb, this one involving an exchange between Bob and Mike Wolf.   As full-time NMSU employees, the men could take one free course per semester.  Bob was trying to decide what class to take, and he asked Mike, “What free course are you going to take?”  Mike misunderstood Bob and thought he had asked, “What freak horse are you going to take?”  Mike was wondering what Bob was referring to—freak horse, retarded animal—what?  And that is how he responded to Bob, “What?”  Bob repeated the question, “What free course are you going to take?”  Mike still heard, freak horse, and much like an Abbott and Costello exchange, the two men continued their miscommunication until Mike finally said, “I don’t have any freak horses!”

Bob enriched the lives of those who knew him.  He was a big man, not just in stature, but in personality, and whether you knew him or not, the stories associated to his name are told in loving memory and always, always with laughter.  

Wednesday’s Asprey Award ceremony and tribute to Bob Asprey and his family was hosted by The NMSU Foundation.  Shane Hollet, The NMSU Foundation’s Major Gifts Officer, said the awards ceremony and tribute was an occasion to “remember the legacy of a great individual.  It is great to achieve things in our lifetimes, but it is even greater to leave things behind that people can appreciate and enjoy.  On the behalf of the Foundation, I would like to thank Jo for serving on the board, and giving her time, wisdom, and guidance to help the Foundation raise money for this institution.”

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