With his love of life and his boisterous nature, Bobby Crosby's death has left an empty place in his town and in the hearts of a host of family and friends.
He grew up and lived a full life in Thomson where he was involved in every aspect of the community.
Mr. Crosby died Nov. 27, after a battle with cancer.
Those who knew him say he will be missed on several fronts -- for his sunny personality, for his professionalism and dedication to the Georgia State Patrol, and for his spiritual inspiration and help to others.
On a personal level, he was friendly and kind with never a harsh word for anyone, said Tommy Crafton, who met him in 1989.
"He was a very likeable person. He laughed a lot, and cut up," he said.
"He always considered me a son."
As a dedicated family man, he had a tender, sentimental heart wrapped up in the macho exterior of a law enforcement officer, friends say.
He enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities, and liked to cruise on the lake, play golf, ride motorcycles and enjoyed using the RV.
As a member of the Georgia State Patrol, Master Trooper Crosby leaves behind a legacy of dedication to duty and respect for his fellow troopers. In fact, Trooper Crosby was instrumental in organizing a regular gathering of both active and retired individuals. He wanted to honor the older troopers and offer them an outlet for some fellowship and camaraderie.
Trooper Crosby's vision became reality, and both active and retired officers now meet weekly to share coffee, an occasional meal, and some memories from their years on the force.
"Bobby organized that, and it's a tradition we hold dear here," Lt. David Cody of the Georgia State Patrol said.
In addition to his commitment to honor retired troopers, he brought a zest for life to his job that his fellow workers appreciated.
"He loved life and tried to live it to the fullest every day. That's one of the things I will miss most about him."
Lt. Cody said Trooper Crosby had the to ability to inject fun and humor during all those stressful days in a line of work where, "When you put on the uniform and walk out the door, neither you nor your family knows if you'll return home."
Lt. Cody, who at one time supervised Trooper Crosby, recalled one spring day when a group was conducting a road check for registration, license and safety.
"Bobby had some of those 'bubba teeth' that he slipped into his mouth just as a lady pulled up to the check point. I saw him talking to her, and as his supervisor, I was mortified," Lt. Cody said. It was only later he found out Trooper Crosby was friends with the driver, and he was just lifting the mood and spreading some fun at the checkpoint.
"That's one example of him making work fun. In addition to Bobby's playful side, he was a man who shared that same love for Jesus, his family and his church." Lt. Cody said.
On a spiritual level, Trooper Crosby was always willing to help others.
"Bobby was a very good Christian man," said Butch Baston, who served as Trooper Crosby's pastor for several years.
"He was very pure -- He wasn't bogged down with a lot of theological concepts. He just believed we should help people and whatever that took he was willing to do."
Though he was serious about the importance of church work, he always found time to inject some good natured fun.
Mr. Baston recalled an incident where several church members went to the upscale Calvert's restaurant in Augusta for a classy meal.
One of their party was using a wheelchair which wouldn't fit under the table, and Trooper Crosby good naturedly summoned the elegant waiter.
"Cuz," he called. "We need four bowls put under the table."
Not knowing how to respond, the confused waiter politely brought the bowls which were then placed under the legs of the table to raise it.
But Trooper Crosby wasn't finished. "Cuz," he called again, "I need a Sears-Roebuck catalog."
"I don't have one. What would you need that for?" he responded.
"Junior over there (Mr. Baston) can't reach the table now."
Laughing at the memory, Mr. Baston said at the time "it embarrassed the heck out of Bobby's wife and myself."
Trooper Crosby had a unique ability to bring fun into each day and whether he was working or relaxing he was among friends because "if you met him, he was a friend," Mr. Baston said.
"He was a fine man. With friends like him, you wouldn't need but one."