Bob Paquette: It Was His Voice, Not Him, That Everybody Knew

The blurb on my Facebook page took me aback. RIP Bob Paquette. What?

Bob, as everyone in the Valley knows, was the voice of the morning. His familiar calm tone and steady delivery has graced our kitchen for decades. I cannot imagine turning on that familiar 88.5 fm signal and knowing that we’ll never hear him tell us what’s going on again.

For many years, Bob was also a fixture to many people making the Friday night pilgrimage to downtown Northampton. He was the bartender at Spoletos….manning the bar, smiling as he poured Chardonnay, and quietly displaying his other more sociable side at this gig he held down for many, many years. I remember every time I would make my way down there, it was always good to see him…we knew each other through many mutual friends, and he seemed to love doing that job. Later on I once ran into him and asked if he still did that…”No,’ he said, “that was years ago.” It made me realize how quickly time passes.

Many people must have experienced this strange closeness…you hear that voice for so many years, you think you know the person –yet it’s a voice…not him that you know.

Just a few weeks ago I saw Bob walking through the garden of the Log Cabin, where brilliant sunshine blanketed the crowd of WFCR donors, news and sales staff, and the star attraction, Susan Stamberg. It was a beautiful evening, and the light had that crystalline sharpness that made everyone look fresh.

Nobody in the garden could have suspected that the voice of the news would just a few weeks later be gone.