Bob and Jock the dog now part of the Nevada Day Parade
It would be safe to say that thousands of you have seen Bob Setterfield and his dog Jock during last year’s Nevada Day parade.
In fact, it would be safe to say that hundreds of thousands of people have seen Bob and his dog, Rags, in previous Nevada Day parades. But Rags is gone now and Jock just rode in his first of what Bob hopes will be many parades.
“Everyone looks at the dog on the motorcycle,” said Bob as he introduced Jock to me. “The dog is part of the motorcycle, which is a classic 1959 R-50 Classic BMW that I bought in 1972 in Berlin, Germany.”
We first visited with Bob and Rags back in October of 1994 just before their 10th appearance in the parade. Bob and Rags rode in the parade on that motorcycle for 13 years, from 1985 to 1997.
“Rags was 17 years old when he died in my arms from old age on Dec. 15, 1998,” said Bob sadly. “He rode with me for all those years in his little outfit and loved to be in the parade.”
Jock is a 3-year old Shih Tzu and he’s now Bob’s partner in the parade.
“He’s a used dog we got at the Carson City animal shelter in September of this year,” said Bob. “He likes to ride on the motorcycle and goes a lot of places with me when I ride it around town.”
Bob is married to Marian and we’ve got stuff to tell you about her a little later, but I did ask if she rides with Bob too.
“I rode on it to Bower’s Mansion for my birthday, but I don’t ride it often,” said Marian. “It’s mostly Bob and the dog.”
The motorcycle has had what I call a “facelift” and looked a little different than when I first saw it.
“Since you were here last I’ve completely rebuilt and restored it,” said Bob. “It’s a classic and a collectors item. I’ve shown it a few times but mostly I ride it.”
TOGETHER A LONG TIME
Bob and Marian celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary last July. She is 75 and was born in Great Falls, Mont. Bob will celebrate his 82nd birthday on Jan. 22, and he was born in Terminal Island, Calif. They met in Argentina.
“We met in Buenos Aires,” said Marian. “I was a stewardess on Pan Am, based in Miami, and Bob was a pilot for them based in Rio De Janeiro. It was a long distance courtship. We had to coordinate our flights.”
It must have worked as the couple have five children, four girls and a boy.
“Only Scott, he’s the middle one, lives in Carson City,” said Marian. “He does custom work for various contractors with Tile Marble & Granite. The girls all live out-of-state but they come and visit for Christmas and Thanksgiving and other celebrations, like our anniversary, every year.”
Bob went to work for Pan Am after serving in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1943.
“The first airplane I flew was an Aeronica C-3 that was a 36-horsepower two-seater,” said Bob. “That’s the plane I started in.”
He wound up flying those big jumbo jets all over the world. He says he stopped counting after he had logged more than 30,000 hours in the air.
“I’ve flown around the world more times than I can remember,” he continued. “I was based in many places. I was in Berlin for six years, in Brazil four years, Guatemala for a couple of years and in places like Hong Kong, but I spent the most time in San Francisco. I was there for 21 years.”
The family moved to Carson City in 1978 when Bob, after 35 years with Pan Am, retired.
“Actually, they retired me because I turned 60,” noted Bob sarcastically. “We bought a lot in Lakeview then and had our home built. Our youngest, Lisa, was still with us and she went to and graduated from Carson High School.”
Before Bob became a pilot, he was a talented saxophone player and had started down “a musical road” before he discovered airplanes and changed direction.
“At first I played sax joints in Los Angeles – that’s where I grew up – for a couple of years,” he said. “I was working in a few places when they were raided and my dad – he was an L.A. cop for 25 years – didn’t like that at all. Then came the Navy and you know the rest.”
NO COUCH POTATO
Bob keeps active, and the word retirement is not in his vocabulary.
“I’m a member of the Tahoe Dance Band and I play baritone sax,” he said proudly. “It’s a 17-piece band that plays music from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s in this area. We play four or five times a month. Swing music is coming back and people like it.”
The band was formed three years ago and Bob has been with it from the start.
“It’s fun and pure joy,” he added. “We rehearse every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the South Shore Senior Center and the public is invited free to come and listen and/or to practice dancing. Everyone is welcome, not just seniors.”
The band plays next on Bob’s birthday, from 8-11 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village. It will also perform in Carson City at the Ormsby House and in Virginia City at Piper’s Opera House soon.
“We don’t have the date yet for the Ormsby House but will shortly,” said Bob. “We’ll perform Feb. 26 at Piper’s Opera House and we play once a month at the Hyatt.”
When he’s not performing Bob is skiing. What’s an 82-year old man doing on skis?
Bob just laughed at that.
“I water ski in the summer and snow ski in the winter and I’m a member of the 80-plus Ski Club,” he said, a huge grin on his face. “That’s a national organization that started as the 70-plus Ski Club, but we got older so it’s the 80-plus Club now. I didn’t even take up skiing until I was 54 years old. I love it and it keeps me young.”
Marian skis too but not as well as Bob.
“I’m a better skier,” he said without bragging. “I’m more aggressive and faster. Between my music and skiing and my dog and the motorcycle, I keep pretty busy. I’m enjoying my senior years.”
Sure sounds like it to me.
A LOT OF BLOOD
Some of you may remember Marian because in November 1996 she made her 100th donation to United Blood Services (on Winnie Lane) and we did a story with photo on that in the Nevada Appeal.
“I’ve donated over 14 gallons of blood in over 40 years on donating,” said Marian. “I’m 0-positive. It’s no problem and easy for me to do so I do it and they really need the blood. I’ve been donating to United Blood Services since we moved here.”
Donating blood really is easy to do and if you can help contact United Blood Services. They’ll be glad to hear from you.
ALAN ROGERS is a Nevada Appeal columnist. His message phone is 887-2430, ext. 402.