By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
He died in 2002, but people are still talking about him.
'Robert Love was that kind of guy - he was cool,' said longtime friend Bruce Matous of Temple. 'He meant lots of things to lots of people.'
And it'll be a long time before his memory fades.
His name is a permanent fixture to the newly formed Robert S. Love Foundation.
'It's a local organization committed to raising money for cancer research,' said Charles Lucko, foundation founder. 'Everything we do will benefit the Scott & White Cancer Research Institute.'
How this came to be is a story of loss, but it's also a story of friendship. A Wildcat
Born in 1959, Love couldn't help but be a Wildcat.
'He had Temple blood in him,' said Lucko, a friend and former business partner.
His father, Walter, was a Santa Fe Railroad employee, and his mother, Mildred, owned a local beauty salon.
As a youngster, Love went to area schools like Scott Elementary and Travis Middle School. By the time he got to Temple High School, Love was No. 63 - an offensive lineman for the football team. Bob McQueen was his coach.
'He wasn't the most talented athlete, but he was good, and he loved it,' McQueen said. 'As a coach, you really enjoy the young men who are over achievers, the ones who come in early and stay late. As a coach, you appreciate that, and that's the kind of guy Robert was.'
Lucko said staying focused and goal-oriented were two skills Love learned from McQueen.
'He'd always say that at work,' Lucko said.
Love left Temple after he graduated in 1978. He went to Texas State Technical College and studied civil engineering.
'Then he moved to Midland in 1980 to work for a land surveying company,' Lucko said.
But the Wildcat wasn't gone from Temple for long. He returned in 1985 after marrying his high school sweetheart, Cindy Duncan.
The couple had four children, and Love went to work for Frank Martin Engineers. He didn't join Lucko at All County Surveying until 1993.
'Robert was just being Robert,' Lucko said.
The pain started in 1994.
'He called them stomach pangs,' Lucko said. 'There were several hospital visits, and the doctors discovered several large tumors, weighing between 12 and 15 pounds. They had to cut them out of his abdominal cavity.'
Within 10 months, the stomach pangs returned and doctors discovered more tumor material.
After a second surgery, the diagnosis came. It was liposarcoma, a cancer of fat tissue. An effective treatment still doesn't exist.
In the eight years that followed there were several more surgeries, but Love remained the dad who did it all.
'He managed to be the type of parent who was real involved in the kids' lives,' Lucko said.
Matous said Love's life was about 'pulling red wagons and coaching T-ball.'
'Coaching his kids' teams, that's what he loved,' Matous said. 'It didn't matter if it was soccer or baseball, just whatever.'
Love didn't forget about his career.
'He was at work every morning,' Lucko said. 'Responsibility was big with him. He was going to support his family. He literally lived as if nothing was wrong.'
Matous said that's how Love wanted it.
'He didn't want his children to know how much he hurt,' Matous said. 'It was important to him to know that they made him happy.'