Robert “Bob” Lawrence Goombi
Robert “Bob” Lawrence Goombi was born on November 8th, 1933, on his grandparent’s farm in Mountainview, OK. He departed to his heavenly home on November 27th, 2022, at the age of 89 in Eudora, KS.
Bob is the son of Robert and Bessie Goombi. He spent his childhood and early teen years at his family home in Mountainview with his siblings Frances, Wesley, Irene, James, Lloyd, Katie, and Willy. As the eldest sibling, Bob relished in being the leader of the pack and often reminisced about growing up in a home surrounded by family, where his grandmother “ruled the roost.”
When Bob was 16 years old, the pastor and missionary at his church asked him if he wanted to go to New York. Bob, who had never been more than 100 miles from home, agreed and set out in a “Ike” jacket (that his mother had dyed purple because she didn’t like the color). He reflected on some of the “faux pas” he committed on the train ride to his new home, like when he drank the water that was meant to wash his hands. Bob eventually settled in at Stony Brook Boarding School where he had the privilege of being taught under Frank Gaebelein. He had many fond memories of his time at Stony Brook, describing it as a place where his perspective shifted and made him more determined than ever to go on to college.
Upon graduation from Stony Brook, Bob returned to Oklahoma where he started college at Bacone Indian University. Within the first few days, it became evident that Bob would get more than an education. Bob found himself hanging out on campus when a woman with big bouffant hair walked past him. Undeterred by the man she was with, Bob decided to ask her where she was headed and even accompany her, making himself comfortable between the two for the rest of the evening while they watched a movie. The woman who had captured Bob’s eyes was his “sweetie” Katherine Amos. Katherine recalls that she was first attracted to Bob’s boldness and brashness. The two dated on and off for the next three years and married on June 4th, 1955, in Oklahoma City, OK.
Bob was quite determined when it came to his education. He earned an Associate’s of Liberal Arts from Bacone Indian College, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northeastern State University, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. His determination also extended into his career pursuits. Over his career, Bob held many different jobs. He spent four years in the Airforce as an Airman First Class (stationed at Tinker Airforce Base), sold Reader’s Digests, and worked as a meat cutter at IGA. Bob was selected as one of 12 salesmen (out of 120 applicants) for Phillips Petroleum where he worked for several years. He later took over a Phillip’s Station as an owner/operator for 8 years. He moved on to Westinghouse where he worked for 5 years. In his spare time, Bob served as the president of the Indian Expo in Anadarko, OK, where he met many influential individuals and educated those around him about American Indian history and customs.
Bob spent the majority of his career at Haskell Indian Nations University where he started as a teacher in January 1978. Bob retired from Haskell in 2004 after 26 years of service having also served as the Dean of the Business Department and Budget Director. Goombi Indian Jewelry was also a big part of Bob and Katherine’s life. Originally started with a small tray of rings by Katherine, Bob would expand into a local department store then later to Cheyenne Frontier Days where they had a 46-year residency, along with craft shows and pow wows across the Midwest.
Bob considered the most important thing about him to be his love for the Lord. He invited Jesus to be his personal Lord and Savior at the age of 11. He would spend his life devoted to learning and building a relationship with the Lord. He would often say, “think about your walk with the Lord.” Bob faithfully served his church in various capacities as a deacon, choir director, and teacher. He most recently attended Indian Avenue Baptist Church.
Bob loved his two children Ronald “Ron” and Gary. He was proud to be their dad and said that he decided to have only two children based on his “double or bust” motto. Bob enjoyed being a dad; in fact, he was so comfortable in his role that he decided to go out for coffee while his son Gary was being born. Bob reminisced about phone calls from Ron and how he would always start conversations with, “hello Dad.”
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, brother Lloyd, and son Ron. Bob is survived by his wife Katherine Goombi, son Gary (Lenora) Goombi, and daughter-in-law Alfie Goombi. His six siblings Frances (Wendell) Tsoodle, Wesley Goombi, Irene Johnson, James (Judy) Goombi, Katie Goombi, and Willy (Juanita) Goombi. His five grandchildren Kurtis Goombi, Dr. Marcy (Ryan) Vandament, Daniel (Kimberly) Goombi, Jonathan Goombi, and Lauren (Israel) Jefferson. His five great-grandchildren Eleonor, Elizabeth, Sophia, Lillian, and Evangeline.
The Goombi family would like to thank those who provided care to Bob in his final days. A special thank you to his hospice nurse Dillion and nurse/granddaughter Lauren.