Victim, Author, Friend - Terri Jentz Remembers Bob Kouns


Bob Kouns, Crime Victims United co-founder, longtime leader and inspiration, died on April 24, 2004. A month later, the Kouns family held a reception in the style of an Irish wake to honor Bob. Among the many eloquent speakers was author Terri Jentz. Here is her eulogy.

Eulogy for Bob Kouns, May 22, 2004

I spent all last evening listening to Bob’s voice again – in tape recordings I made of many conversations we had in the mid-90s.

I listened to him give me advice, offer up gems of wisdom, tell stories. I listened to him tease me, coax me, make me angry, make me laugh. I found the whole experience of listening to Bob so uplifting – it was like I had him back again.

I met Bob in 1994. I came up from Los Angeles to investigate an old crime from 1977, an attempted murder, an axe attack committed against me in Central Oregon that was never solved. I met Bob and Dee Dee, told them I was writing a book about it, and amazingly, they volunteered to help investigate this old crime, on which the statute of limitations had expired.

I’m going to bring Bob’s voice back in the room tonight by letting you listen in on a tiny piece of one conversation during this investigation. It was a hot August day in 1995. Our detective work had brought to the surface a local guy whom we believed was a prime suspect, and we alerted the Oregon State Police about him. When the police started investigating him too, this seriously bad dude got so riled up he threatened to plug a thirty-aught six through anyone who dared ask him again about that long-ago axe attack in Cline Falls State Park. Bob, Dee Dee and I were in Central Oregon at just that time, planning to do some more detective work. I knew this raging criminal was living and working in the vicinity. And for a few hours I was scared witless. I wanted to hightail it back across the Cascades and take the first plane back to Los Angeles.

I’m going to let you listen to a tiny bit of this tape (…sorry about the quality of it.. At least you’ll be able to make out Bob’s confident baritone…my voice is the quivering one)

I have just said to Bob: “I wouldn’t put it past him to pick us off with a long-range rifle. I think now is an especially dangerous time to be walking around. Right now, he’s rabid.”

Bob didn’t think I should panic and leave. He didn’t suffer timorous souls gladly. But you can hear in his tone of voice that he was trying hard to be patient with me:

“Sure there’s some danger. But I think you can manage the danger. The fact that somebody is dangerous doesn’t mean you can’t MANAGE the danger.”

I ended up staying. Our investigation continued fruitfully. And I bucked up my courage in my life as a whole.

As the years went on, until his last months, Bob continued to teach me a corollary lesson:

“Sure there’s fear. But just because there’s fear, doesn’t mean you can’t MANAGE the fear,” he expressed to me many times, only in different words.

I know from his family that Bob managed the danger and managed the fear until his final breath.

I last saw Bob in December. He was in a hospital bed. I showed him a picture of my dog. My dog is very small, white and fluffy. And she is extremely willful. Bob looked at the picture a long, long time. Then he said, “The expression on her face reminds me of Winston Churchill.”

That Bob would invoke Winston Churchill made such an impression on me that last week I looked for a famous speech of Churchill’s. It was 1941. He was giving his nation courage during the darkest days of World War II. These words from Winston Churchill remind me of Bob:

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy…”

My friendship with Bob Kouns has enlarged my life. I will take his special courage with me to the end of my days.

-- Terri Jentz

Bob Kouns, CVU Co-founder, Passes Away

Memorial Reception for CVU Co-founder Bob Kouns

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