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February 3, 2004

Some friends of our late county judge, Robert McCubbins, have added a few interesting recollections that spring from their relationship with that unique man. Bob died the other day at the age of 84, bringing to a close his pain-filled life. To say that he had a positive impact on Noble county and the friends he accumulated along the way would be putting it mildly. Bob was a winner, not a quitter, in everything he undertook.

Jerry McKeown, retired superintendent of Billings schools where he and Bob graduated a few years ago, although not at the same time, offers the following: "While in high school I worked for his parents in their produce house in Billings. They were a very interesting family. Robert's father, Clarence, was a rough, one-time prizefighter (Kid Ferns) and his wife was a state leader in the federated clubs. A strange marriage combination, but they worked well together, and were always very nice to me."

Jerry is right—many people remember Kid Ferns, as he was known professionally. He was regarded as one of the best in his weight class, and he undoubtedly helped shape his son's life. Bob, of course, seemed destined for athletic achievement until an accident during football workouts at Oklahoma A.&M. College, which left him with a broken neck, unfulfilled dreams and a life of pain.

Mabel Eby remembers that Bob and her late husband, Frank, were good friends. Frank operated Eby's Cleaners for many years until he retired. At the 1-2-3 Cleaners, the late Zack McCubbins presided and he, also, was a friend and a friendly competitor of Frank's shop. Zack was Bob's uncle.

Mabel recalls: "We (Bob and the Ebys) both had boats at Perry Lake when our children were young. (Our children) were always excited when Bob asked one or two of them to ride with him. His boat was beautiful."

My thanks to Mabel and Jerry for those little insights, stories that reveal much about Robert McCubbins and the life he led. In today's vernacular, he was something else.