The Loss of a Great Friend and a Great Mentor
The Bottle Collecting World lost a true giant of the hobby when Bob Ferraro passed away at 81 on Saturday April 29th following a lengthy illness. Since his passing, there have been numerous condolences and messages to his family, especially to his wife Connie, and there most likely will be many more over the next few weeks. I know that all of these messages recall his many contributions and devotion to the community of Boulder City, Nevada, the Hobby of Bottle Collecting, his passion for the State of Nevada, and his positive influence and kindness to everyone he met. He always had a great smile, never refused to help or answer a question, was a tremendous inspiration to everyone he met, and a true Gentleman.
I began my love of bottle collecting in 1974 with a trip to Tonopah, Nevada for the first of many adventures of digging in the early 1900’s dump. A year or two later, I met Bob at a bottle show while we were both looking at bottles on a sales table. I paid attention to the type of questions he was asking the seller about some of the bottles, and realized he knew much more than I did. That never changed. No matter how much I’ve learned over the years, Bob still knew more I did, or ever would. I introduced myself, told him about my trip to Tonopah, and asked how I could learn more about bottles. He took it from there and never stopped teaching and helping. He not only became a mentor and supporter, but also a great friend.
This information has been printed elsewhere, but I wanted to highlight some of Bob’s many accomplishments. He was appointed to the Boulder City Council in 1976 and served 31 years, including six separate terms as the Mayor, spend 19 years on the Clark County District Board of Health, Chairman of the Southern Strategic Planning Authority, and served on the board of numerous organizations in Southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. In addition, Bob was an active supporter of the Boulder City Hospital and served on its board for 12 years. As if this wasn’t enough, he worked for Pacific Engineering and Production Co. in Henderson, Nevada for 31 years.
But, his passion was bottle collecting. Bob got the collecting bug in the mid-1950’s, and accumulated an outstanding and superior collection of Figural Bitters, Western and Eastern Whiskeys, one of the best mint pristine Nevada Collections ever seen, and a vast amount of other Nevada collectibles and documents. He wrote his first book, The Past in Glass (1963) and A Bottle Collector’s Book (1964). He was the President of the Southern Nevada Antique Bottle Collector’s Club from 1971-1973, Chairman of the FOHBC’s Western Region from 1971-1973, President of the Federation of Historic Bottle Collectors (FOHBC) from 1977-1978, and was inducted into the FOHBC Hall of Fame in 2002. He continued to serve the Federation as First-Vice President from 2008-2014, and Director at Large in 2015.
While we won’t have Bob around anymore to enjoy that smile and his willingness to help and teach, he will always be with us in spirit because of the great legacy he left for everyone. Bob, you were truly a Great Friend and A Great Mentor.