Family, football and friends were the three most important things in Bob Ackles’ life that ended prematurely on July 8, 2008 when he suffered a heart attack in his 70th year.
There were no limits to how far the former B.C. Lions water boy who grew up to be team president would go to make people happy.
Among Ackles’ hobbies, when he had time to enjoy them, were oil painting, book collecting and reading. His passion for artwork urged him to enlist in the University of Las Vegas Arts Program in 2001 during his brief football stop in the doomed XFL as president of the Las Vegas Outlaws before his triumphant return to Vancouver.
In his book The Water Boy, Ackles identifies Ron Jones, Norm Fieldgate and Jack Farley as “three of my best friends.” They were all past presidents of the then-community-owned Lions.
When Jones remarked one day how he was particularly drawn to an unfinished Ackles oil painting of Lions quarterback Joe Paopao in action against the Calgary Stampeders, Ackles said, as Jones remembers: “I’ll finish it for you one day.”
True to his word, he did. But the painting didn’t arrive in Jones’ possession until after Bob died. Kay Ackles, his loving wife of 48 years, had signed it: “This was done for Ron Jones by Bob Ackles.”
Obviously the painting was something Jones planned on cherishing for the rest of his life. It would be a constant reminder of the great times he and his wife Alma enjoyed with Kay and Bob over more than two decades.
You know where this is heading, right? The Jones home was recently broken into and among the items stolen was the Bob Ackles oil painting.
“It infuriates me to think Bob’s work is going to wind up in a flea market or some garage sale,” Kay Ackles bristles. “It was given to a dear, dear friend and I signed it on Bob’s behalf. What value would it have to anyone else?”
She is making a plea that if anyone has information to the whereabouts of the painting, please contact your local law enforcement agency or Crime Stoppers. “I’m not interested in the details,” she says. “I just want what Bob would have wanted … to have his artwork back in the hands of his friend.”
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