Respected at school under his nick name of “Tusker”, Rugby player for Bideford RFC, Naval Petty Officer, Publican, Athletics Technical Official and Track Assessor – these are some of the faces of Bob Ivory who passed away on 10th March 2016.
In an athletics career covering 50 years Bob officiated from grass roots to International level including Commonwealth Games and London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Away from the track this imposing yet somewhat shy figure enjoyed the occasional pint, glass of wine or tot of brandy, but at the track he had an uncompromising and blunt attitude; but behind this facade was a phenomenal technical brain with an honest and fair approach to all. There are hundreds of officials up and down the country who owe Bob a debt of gratitude for his time and patience in teaching them the rudiments of officiating and the mysteries of the technical applications in athletics.
Bob’s pride and joy was his Technical Room at his home track of Exeter Arena where, within the grounds was his “Aladdin’s Cave” harbouring every piece of equipment (and reserves) to cover every athletics eventuality. At home matches he was to be found in his beloved garage, dispensing advice to all interested in the finer technical points.
Even in his latter days Bob could be found trundling around the arena on his mobility scooter, participating where he could, despite his failing health.
One of athletics’ true characters who will be sorely missed. Bob’s partner Lynne Wallace – also a Level 3 official – also passed away today (Wednesday) following her battle with cancer. Officials from all over the country have expressed their sympathy on social media, including:
“A great loss to Athletics. Bob really was a ‘gentle giant’ who helped so many of us on our journey through officiating. Heartfelt condolences to the family.”
“So sad! Bob was a great supporter at all levels of the sport; good memories.”
“So sorry to hear this news. I learnt a lot from Bob.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this incredibly sad and difficult time.”
“Rest in Peace Bob, St Peter’s gates should be no problem to a man of your stature.”