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Friend, Dad, Mentor, and Teacher
Memories of Robert Davolt
By Earl A. Coffman
Upon hearing that I had decided to run for Mr. Oregon State Leather, Daddy Alan Selby told me that one of the most important people I had to meet was Robert Davolt. I didn't get to meet him that weekend but he was pointed out to me from afar.
Fast forward to August 19, 2003.
I joined the titleholders e-mail list, and the first email I received (privately, within half an hour of receiving my welcome email) was from Robert. He told me that Daddy Alan had mentioned me and that he would be there to answer any questions that I might have.
Fast forward to Folsom Weekend 2003.
In private emails leading up to the weekend, Robert advised me that I should attend the San Francisco Leather Contest that weekend. He even facilitated email introductions with Mama Sandy, who was able to help me get a ticket for the contest. After arriving at the contest (I was way early as I usually am to most things), I was wandering around when I heard someone call out my name from across the room. As I turned, two gentlemen were walking toward me. As they came up to me, I put out my hand to shake hands, and the gentleman who called out my name pulled me into a big hug. I knew at that moment exactly who was hugging me, Robert Davolt. After introducing his partner, Joe (who also gave me a hug), Robert's first words were "I am proud of you, Boy." We had only been emailing privately a few short weeks, but he had been advising me on how to deal with some disparaging comments that had been cast my way about being a boy with a "SIR's" title.
Fast forward to International Mr. Leather 2004 after the contest.
Robert and I had run into each other quite a few times over the weekend. Each time he gave me a hug, and during each hug he whispered the same word in my ear, "Breathe." Back in the hotel lobby after the contest, Robert came up to me, hugged me, and spoke the same six words to me that he had spoken the first time we met face to face, "I am proud of you, Boy." He continued with. "You did all of us proud. Do not let the pettiness of others get to you. You were true to yourself and that is what is important. And I know that all of your Daddies and SIRs are as proud of you as I am." (Some nasty comments had been made after the contest that were directed towards me, and he had heard about them.)
Fast forward to August 2004.
Received a private email from Robert telling me how proud he was of me and of what I had done with my title year. We continued to email each other privately off and on until just recently when I heard that he was ill.
* * *
I found out at dinner with my leather family tonight that Robert had passed. I am glad it was my Leather Mama who told me. Robert had often encouraged me to surround myself with family I could turn to when needed. Boy, did I need them when Mama Cheryl told me. I sit here with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, remembering the man who had become my friend, one of my Dads, one of my mentors, and one of my teachers. At times we were at opposite ends of the spectrum during discussions, but Robert always encouraged me to stick to my guns and to speak my mind.
I will miss you, my friend.
Earl A. Coffman
This remembrance was originally posted on an e-mail list on May 18, 2005. It is reprinted with permission of the author.
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