In Memory of

Robert Emerson Bliss

June 6, 1928 - December 17, 2022

Obituary

Robert Emerson Bliss passed peacefully into the presence of Jesus, on December 17, 2022. A visitation will be held on Wednesday December 28, 2022 at 9-10 am with funeral service following at 10-11 am at Langsford Funeral Home, Lee’s Summit, MO. Internment will follow at Swan Lake Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Grain Valley, MO.

Robert was born on June 6, 1928 in McClure OH to Emerson and Winifred (Kistner) Bliss. Robert spent his early years on the farm in Ohio and entered Bible college in Minneapolis, MN at the age of 16. After graduating Bible College, he entered Bethel Bible College as a music major. He met the love of his life, Erma Elaine Ulander, and they were soon married on June 16, 1951. They were blessed with 71 years of marriage before Erma’s death on July 1, 2022.

Robert enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and was stationed in Puerto Rico. After returning to the states, Robert (Bob) and Erma settled in Denver, CO where Bob worked in the General Motors Parts Division Warehouse for 30 years. Bob had a passion for photography and especially showcasing God’s beautiful creation as he and Erma’s travels took them to all 7 continents and all 50 states. Several of those trips were shared with their children and grandchildren. Their faith and friendships formed at church were always a significant part of their lives throughout their marriage.

Robert leaves behind his three daughters, Linda (Mark) Snyder, Darlene (Rick) Rieder, and Karna (Jeff) Binkley as well as 7 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. He also leaves his 5 brothers, Charles (Dale) Bliss, John Morris Bliss, Nathan Bliss, Ted Bliss, and Darrel (Crystal) Bliss as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Robert was preceded in death by his beloved wife Erma of 71 years, his parents, grandson Steven Snyder and great-granddaughter Joella Conrad.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Interlink Ministries, Jim and Karen Esson or Samaritan’s Purse.

Arrangements by Langsford Funeral Home, 115 SW 3rd Street, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063.

Condolences

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Dear Grandpa,
Although a poem or a song may best befit your personality and character, I for now offer you and the world a simple letter to show how much you mean to me.

The connection I feel with you is unique, not just among my other grandparents, but among everyone else I have ever known. With your death, our connection does not feel severed. Rather, I see it with more clarity and gratitude.

You were the first person on this planet to know that I would exist.

Your dream of a little girl running towards you with outstretched arms after my brother Steven’s death was God planting a seed of hope in you that though one grandson had tragically passed after just a few days on this earth, a granddaughter would be coming . . . I would be coming . . . one year later.

The night before you went to the hospital for the last time, I dreamed that you died.
In His mercy, God revealed to each of us a bookend of the other’s life on this side of eternity. We experienced a most holy advent together: you waiting for the moment you’d be able to hold me in your arms for the first time, me holding your hand in hospice awaiting your passing through death’s door into the arms of Jesus.

We both now wait for the final resurrection of all things.

I’ll always smile remembering your imitation of the seven dwarfs from the movie, Snow White. You would contort your face into seven exaggerated expressions at the prompting of myself or Grandma: Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy. Your silliness and puns certainly influenced my personality.

The dedication and intentional love you showed to your family was unmatched as you captured every life moment possible in photo or video. We would have no home videos of our childhood without you. We would have precious few photos.

I love your servant-heartedness. You were always ready to step in and serve as a jack-of-all-trades: plumber, electrician, landscaper, etc.

“A Grandpa Hug” meant a tight squeeze packed with all the love you could muster. Though your body was failing you due to Parkinson’s, the last hug you gave me back in July was just as strong as all the rest. No one gives hugs like you. I will miss them.

You and Grandma would play countless games, seemingly only interrupted by meals and naps, with me and all the grandkids.

Your love of and propensity towards music undoubtedly influenced my own. When I heard that you were serenading other guests with dramatic voice in the memory care facility, I felt a surge of joy and pride: That’s my grandpa. I am like him.

I share your love of observing animals and all their funny antics.

In childhood, I didn’t appreciate the hours of projector slides you would show our family, with Grandma’s verbose commentary, after one of your many international trips, but I look back fondly on those times now. What a gift to travel the world from my living room couch, long before virtual reality attempted to re-create actual lived experience.

Because of you, I am convinced that the secret to long life is eating a banana and peanut butter every morning at breakfast while doing a crossword puzzle, playing a game of Upwords after lunch to exercise the mind, and carving out time for a good nap mid-afternoon.

Your memory of the poem “My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson was impressive, to say the least. You memorized it when you were maybe five years old, and 85 years later you could still recite it word for word. It was Grandma’s favorite parlor trick, to ask you to recite it again and again. I enjoyed filming you reading my Grandpa-fied remix of the poem on your 90th birthday.

You’re a glass half full kind of guy, but you didn’t shy away from grief. You weren’t afraid of tears. What a gift.

You didn’t ever waste one crumb on your plate, “because he’s a child of the Depression,” Grandma would explain. I was always in awe at your refusal to waste anything.

It was an honor to cry with you and hold your hand at Grandma’s funeral, to spend time afterwards sifting through your pictures and dreaming of all the photo books we could create from your photography (and I will,) to sing hymns with you in the assisted living place, to send punny postcards and talk to you on the phone in the proceeding months, and to hold your hand and sing hymns with you again in hospice. And finally to sing you into the presence of Jesus over video chat.

“He is excited for heaven,” Aunt Darlene exclaimed as we began our last coherent video call with you. “Oh, yes!” you struggled to pronounce through a feeding tube, raising your eyebrows sky high in characteristic exaggerated expression. We all teared up and laughed simultaneously. “I love you,” you proclaimed with gusto, then we sang the hymn, “When We All Get to Heaven” through choked-back sobs.

Never have I seen a dying person so excited. You looked like a kid on Christmas, knowing you were about to receive what you had been asking for all year (life) long. I hope and pray I will have your childlike faith and joyful anticipation of heaven throughout life and when I die.

All this just scratches the surface of your quiet, gentle spirit, so filled with love, faith, and personality.

I thank God for giving me the sweetest Grandpa the world has ever seen. I know that so many have felt God’s love through your precious life.

I love you, Grandpa.

Lindsey

Bob and Erma were wonderful friends over the years. We will miss them greatly. I know we are not the only ones that they blessed, but they made us always feel loved and special as if we were the only ones.

We will always love them and plan to see them in heaven!!! Our sympathies to the family and all those who loved them.

I wish we could express it as eloquently as Lindsey was able to do. They left each person in their lives greatly enriched.

Jim and Karen Esson

Visitation

Wednesday, December 28, 2022
9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063

Services

Wednesday, December 28, 2022
10:00 AM
Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063