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After surviving six years with active metastatic colorectal cancer, Bob Redmond, 57, died on September 12, 2023. A Master Beekeeper and founder of Survivor Bee—focused on pollinator advocacy and relational beekeeping—Bob understood intimately the nature of resilience and counted us all as Survivors.
While cancer set the physical agenda for many aspects of Bob’s final years, he remained steadfast in the practice of engaging family and community in making the best use of our time. From recent years serving as a volunteer parent coach for West Seattle Baseball, to sharing his beekeeping resources and knowledge of nonprofits with Indigenous communities, to maintaining and repairing the family home during the pandemic, to sharing the seasonal thrill of the classic wooden roller coaster at the Washington State Fair with his son and wife, Bob attempted to live each day–with its joys and pains–to its fullest.
Much of the fullness and joy of Bob’s life came from cherishing his young son and wife.
One of four children, Bob grew up with his sisters and brother in Russell Township Ohio. A self-described “midwestern boy at heart,” Bob had a strong work ethic and later in life would fondly recount the lessons he learned working at Turney’shardware store in Chesterland, Ohio. He delighted in sharing his hometown with his son and wife, especially in the summer season.
After graduating from St. Ignatius High School, Bob attended Georgetown University in D.C., where he graduated Cum Laude in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Emancipatory Pedagogy, two fields that deeply informed his life and work as an artist, activist, and environmentalist. Upon graduating, Bob joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), relocating to Washington state where he would live most of his adult life.
Bob's advocacy work in Seattle grew to include Northwest Harvest, the Downtown Emergency Service Center and Highline Evaluation Treatment Facility before he journeyed east to New York City with friends to continue community-focused work. By 1995, Bob boomeranged back to the Pacific Northwest where he would ultimately settle, and start a family.
In his early career (1997-2000), Bob directed music at KBCS in Bellevue; was managing editor at Real Change in Seattle; then co-founded and directed Eleventh Hour Productions, a literary arts non-profit, which produced 120 events in its first three years, including the Seattle Poetry Festival. Bob’s early experience launched him into mid-career program and event management (2000-2014) at many signature cultural spaces in Seattle: Experience Music Project Seattle's music and pop-culture museum (now called MoPop); Capitol Hill Arts Center; One Reel, former producer of Bumbershoot, the renowned international music and arts festival; Town Hall Seattle; and Luna Park Group–founded by Bob. Additionally, he served as Board President of the Seattle City of Literature (2015-2018).
Concurrent to his arts career, in 2008, Bob became a professional beekeeper, founding the Urban Bee Company—managing backyard hives in the Seattle area, making honey, and running a bicycle-powered honey-delivery service. In 2010, he founded The Common Acre—a local, non-profit organization whose mission was the nexus of many of Bob’s ideals—restoring relationships between people and the land through ecology, agriculture, and art. As part of The Common Acre, Bob established Flight Path, a project that turned unused green spaces on the south end of Seattle into native pollinator habitat. In 2017, The Common Acre won the Port of Seattle Environmental Excellence Award for Innovation.
Bob’s expertise in beekeeping was recognized when he became a Washington State certified Journeyman Beekeeper in 2011. After his cancer diagnosis, Bob rebranded his beekeeping business to Survivor Bee–focusing on holistic and relational beekeeping. His stewardship and study of bees culminated in Master Beekeeper certification by the Washington State Beekeepers Association in August 2023.
The art of writing undergirded Bob’s dynamic career. Whether writing for Real Change, journaling and self-publishing or seeing his haiku printed in the likes of The Heron's Nest, Haiku of the Day, and Tiny Words, Bob carved out time and courted language. His haiku practice began in 2005 when—as a writer-in-residence for Seattle’s Richard Hugo House—he lived in one of the “Hugo Huts” located in the center of Belltown’s P-Patch garden. In 2020, his manuscript, Under the Chestnut Tree, won an eChapbook award from Snapshot Press. Bob was subsequently named the winner of the Snapshot Press 2021 book award for his previously unpublished book-length haiku collection, Into the Woods, which is expected to be published in the coming year.
Beekeeping Lessons, his final project to have been published by Mountaineers, would have brought together the many threads woven throughout Bob’s career: ecology, medicine, haiku, community, education, and the interconnected nature of our lives. Though the work remains unfinished, the qualities Bob wrote about in Beekeeping Lessons—abundance, risk, patience, and tenacity—are gifts he’s left with us.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Joan Redmond and Robert Redmond of Cleveland, Ohio. He is survived by his wife, Amy Baranski; his son, Japhy Redmond; his siblings, Judy Gutoskey (Dave), Anne Redmond, Brian Redmond (Laura); and extended family with many nieces and nephews.
Bob will be remembered on October 1, 2023, 1-3pm, at the Seahurst Banquet Room in the Burien Community Center (14700 6th Ave SW, Burien, WA 98166).
In lieu of bringing flowers, please bring a bulb or rhizome to contribute to a memorial garden.
To share your condolences and memories of Bob, please visit his Tribute Wall, located above.
- Care Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home -