Robert A. "Bob" Blume
ORMOND BEACH - Robert A. "Bob" Blume was a noted author, educator, academic and activist.. But those who knew him well say that what he'll be most remembered for was his passion for peace, justice and racial unity, and his compassion for his fellow human beings.
Blume, who was credited with launching a series of black-white dialogues in Volusia and Flagler counties aimed at improving racial understanding, died May 31 at Florida Hospital of complications following heart surgery. He was 79.
"He was a humanist in the truest sense of the word," said Hannelore Wass, his longtime friend and colleague at the University of Florida in Gainesville. "He was passionate about social justice."
Born Jan. 11, 1927, in Marietta, Ohio, Blume served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and attended Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, earning a doctorate in education.
He taught in public schools in Michigan; at the National Teacher Education Center in the Somali Republic, Africa; and at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Florida, from which he retired as professor emeritus.
He also wrote several books, most recently "The Continuing American Revolution," with the late Arthur W. Combs.
An active member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Ormond Beach, Blume helped launch a continuing series of communitywide discussions between blacks and whites sponsored by the society.
"It won't be the same without Bob Blume," said Willie Kimmons, a Daytona Beach educational consultant who was encouraged to become part of the black-white dialogue by Blume, and became his friend. "He and his wife embraced me," said Kimmons, referring to Blume's wife of 56 years, Delorys, also a retired university professor. "He was very consistent, highly professional and well thought of," added Kimmons. "It really didn't matter if you were black or white. He believed in people."
Active in Democratic politics, an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, advocate of public education, and an avid writer of letters to the editor, Blume served as president of the Humanists of Florida and the Association of Humanistic Education. He also edited the Journal of Humanistic Education, was president of the University of Florida chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, and was a member of Phi Delta Kappa and the National Education Association.
"He walked his talk," said the Rev. Bud Murphy of the Unitarian Universalist Society. "He was somebody that can be called an inspiration.
In addition to his wife, Blume is survived by two daughters, Stephanie Blume of Gainesville, and Kerry Blume of Flagstaff, Ariz., as well as a granddaughter, Eleanor Blume.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Humanist Association, P.O. Box 1188, Amherst, NY, 14226 or United Farm Workers of America, P.O. Box 62, Keene, CA 93531 (www.unitedfarmworkers.com)
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