Bok had antics but also had a caring side

Published 8:45 am Thursday, October 9, 2008

It seems that we meet an array of people throughout the workday or while out in the public. Unfortunately, most don’t leave an impression on us. They are just doing their jobs, completing errands or just out to shoot the breeze and socialize rather than sitting home in front of the television.

Sometimes, we discover others who like to challenge the system. Roger Bok was one of them. His hearing was failing. Most people who liked him liked to think that he did not realize how loud he was coming across. Others took his tone and assembly off words as disrespectful. And quite honestly, at times they were.

One thing for certain was that he wanted answers. And if they were not the answers that he wanted to hear, he was not going to be silenced.

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More than one council member and certainly more than one mayor became upset with what they referred to as Roger’s antics. I often wonder just what was the tally on how many times Roger got the boot at these meetings. But he definately had a following. Supporters rallied to his defense. The well-publicized five-minute rule never applied to Roger. It was more like two minutes.

While some of the items that he brought up at Albert Lea City Council meetings seemed petty to us, they weren’t to Roger. Whether people approved of him or not, he brought up many vital questions regarding matters that many of the members of the council would have preferred to remain unknown to you and me. I salute him for that. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Bok, and quite honestly, I must say that I went away rather impressed. He was an educated intellectual who was not intimidated by people in office. Or anyone else for that matter.

What an attribute he was. Don’t you wish more people would stop complaining and ask questions. Stand up! There was also a side to Roger that the public did not see. When a recent mayor was going through some rough times, one of the first to show up to offer support was indeed Roger. There will not be another to fill his shoes, I’m sure much to the chagrin of most of the council members. But I hope that someone does indeeed step up to the plate and question some if not all of the dirt that locally gets shoved under the rug. God be with you, Roger, and thanks for the often comical comments.

Georgiann Quinn

Albert Lea