In memory of Bob Diehl

Bob started his long rowing career at the University of Washington in 1958 and shared over 60 years of impressive rowing experience with our community. His first coach was Al Ulbrickson who also coached “The Boys in the Boat”. During his time at UW Bob and his teammates were undefeated. After serving in the US Army Bob returned home and had a strong desire to begin a rowing program here in Bellingham. He started the Western Washington University rowing team in 1969 and remained the head coach for six years. He coached WWU in its first appearance at the prestigious Opening Day Regatta in Seattle and coached his varsity eight to win the LaFromboise Cup (Northwest Small College Championships) in 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1975. In 1973 his varsity four placed fourth at the IRA National Championships. Two of Bob‘s rowers went on to compete in the Olympic Games and in 2003 he was inducted into the WWU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Bob began competing again in 1992, winning several medals in masters singles, doubles and quads. Highlighting those accomplishments were gold medals at the 1993, 1995 and 1997 U.S. National and Canadian National championships. He won a gold and two bronze medals at the 1994 World Master Games in  Australia, and took silver and bronze medals at the 1998 World Master Games held in Portland, OR. 

It was in 2011 that Bob gathered a group of friends and local rowers to pitch the dream of starting a rowing club here in Bellingham. It was his vision that helped to launch WRA behind a chain link fence in the corner of Bloedel Donovan park, his connections throughout the community that helped to build our current boathouse, and ultimately his love for the sport of rowing that brought us all together at Lake Whatcom. Bob was a champion for the sport of rowing throughout the PNW and has been instrumental in elevating WRA to the organization that it is today. His presence at the boathouse and throughout the community will be profoundly missed. 

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorial donations may be made to Whatcom Rowing Association (PO Box 1163, Bellingham, WA 98227 or by following the link below) or Whatcom Community Sailing (805 Dupont St. #8, Bellingham, WA 98225).

An outdoor service of remembrance for Bob will be held Saturday, March 23 at 1:00pm at the Whatcom Rowing Association Boathouse at Bloedel Donovan Park, 2202 Electric Ave. Reception following. Dress for the elements and please carpool, if possible.