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Robert P. Amann Memorial

In Remembrance of Robert P. Amann

1961 - 2015

As many of you know by now, my brother Bobby (Robert) passed away suddenly last week. I received a call on Wednesday night that he had taken his own life earlier that day, September 2, 2015. The next few days were just a blur for me. 

I have now had some time to reflect and collect my thoughts. I would like to tell you his story.

Bobby was born on June 18, 1961, Father's Day. He was my "kid" brother, six years younger and six years older than our "baby" brother Tommy. We have a sister, Mariann, two years younger than me. She was the older/younger sister that brothers like to torment and love at the same time.

Bobby's struggles started early in life. Diagnosed with a learning disability when little was known about them, and even less could be  offered as treatment, his school years were very difficult.

As we got older, the age gap between us shrank. We became close friends. His friends became mine and mine his, as evidence by those who came to pay respects at his funeral. We shared common interest in cars, auto racing, camping, and music and spent a lot of time together. In 1981, I asked Bobby to be my Best Man at our wedding, it was an easy choice. Beth and I loved him very much.

For a while our relationship continued to grow but soon he began to struggle again. It was difficult for him to live up to the challenges of every day life. Maintaining a job was almost impossible. And so began the addictions and the downward spiral. Many tried desperately to help Bobby. Unfortunately, many were well meaning "enablers" that helped him avoid the support he really needed. For me, I decided "tough love" was the right course and our relationship quickly deteriorated.

Bobby always had a big heart and a big smile. He was very capable of doing many things well. He could fix almost anything. He recently worked in the flower shop owned by my wife's family. They loved him, customers loved him. I learned that he had been helping the mother of one of his best friends, who sadly ended his life years earlier. He had the capacity in his heart to succeed but there were too many obstacles in hi way. He leaves behind many family and friends, including our 87 year old mother who is devastated and heart broken. Our only solace is that he is finally at peace.

Mental illness, specifically depression, effects more people than cancer and heart disease combined. Our society has a very difficult time accepting it and/or providing the help so many are desperate for. For help and counseling to work, the individual has to really want that support. This is our biggest challenge. Helping them overcome the stigma and the low self esteem so they will seek the support they so desperately need. When a person is diagnosed with a disease like cancer, they fight as hard as they can to survive. Too many people struggling with mental illness find the only cure is to end their life. Sadly, this was Bobby's choice.

In his honor and memory, I will work hard to help solve this problem. I miss the friend I once had but I will always remember his big heart and even bigger smile.

Thank you for listening

John David (my family always calls me by my first and middle name)