Robert was a maverick socio-economist and futurist who wrote nearly 20 books during his 70 years of life. Born in India, Robert chose to live in the United States as a young man be he believed many of the changes the world needed would grow out of that soil.
Robert and Bob Stilger met in 1969 when Bob was a student at Carleton College and had created the Alternative Press Index as a reader’s guide to the underground and radical press. One day Bob received a terse note: this is all very well and good, but you are not doing anything to separate the wheat from the chaff. Robert Theobald. With all the brashness of a 20 year old, he quickly replied: who the hell are you and what are you doing to separate the wheat from the chaff. And a relationship that lasted a lifetime was born.
They finally met several years later and began working together on many things. Robert became the primary advisor for the EXPO ’74 Symposium Series in Spokane and Bob became the Program Director. After EXPO, Robert joined in the founding of Northwest Regional Facilitators, where Bob was Executive Director for 25 years — until Robert’s death in 1999. Over the years, they worked together on many projects and initiatives.
In the fall of 1997 Bob received a call from Robert. After a bit of back and forth, Bob asked Robert how his day was going. Robert, responded not so good, I just discovered that I have esophageal cancer. Within hours, Bob and his partner Susan Virnig invited Robert to move to Spokane to complete his life and work.
For the next two years, Robert and Bob worked closely together with a focus on “Y2K.” Movement to a new century raised all sorts of concerns because of the way computer clocks worked. Massive breakdowns were foreseen. Substantial work was being done to avert the crises from a technical standpoint. But Bob and Robert said that this wasn’t really about technology, it was about resilience. It was about how we created new stories of how we wanted to live our lives.
The day’s leading up to Robert’s death on November 27, 1999 became a profound invitation to Bob to give birth to the next phase of his life. That week he decided to leave Northwest Regional Facilitators and asked Robert to join him in creating NewStories.
Robert’s spirit, his insights and his high regard for what people can do when we turn to one another reside in the core of NewStories.
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