Robert L. “Bob” Frisbey, of Livingston, Montana, passed away unexpectedly Monday evening, July 11, 2022, after playing some of his favorite fiddle tunes at a private “gig” with his friends in the “Pretty Good String Band”. He was 67.
Born in Port Hueneme, California on September 12, 1954, Bob was the oldest of five children of Marion and Ralph “Frizz” A. Frisbey. He graduated from C.M. Russell High School in 1972, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at Montana State University-Bozeman in June 1976. In 1977, he earned a Medical Technology degree at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, Montana.
In December 1977, Bob’s professional career path led him to the Livingston Memorial Hospital as a Medical Technologist. During his employment, he served as Hematology Supervisor and Blood Bank Supervisor. He was honored patients requested him by name to draw their blood for lab tests due to his ability to make the process a little less painful, and sometimes even a little fun. On Christmas Eve annually, Bob would leave his family to go the hospital and play Christmas songs on his violin for staff that had to work, and patients that could not be home for the holiday.
In 1997, Bob’s experience as a Blood Bank Supervisor lead him to donate thousands of hours as the Livingston Blood Drive Coordinator with Montana’s United Blood Services (now Vitalant) for the next 20 years. Bob had an encouraging way to explain the need to local community members to donate blood that he knew could “save a life” to someone in Montana.
Bob was actively involved with several professional organizations. He was a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, and was recognized as a nominee for “Member of the Year” in 1992 with the American Society for Medical Technology. He served nine years on the Board of Directors with the Montana Society for Medical Technology (MSMT), and was elected President in 1989-1990. In 1991, Bob was awarded “Member of the Year” with MSMT.
Learning to play the violin started in the second grade, and continued the rest of Bob’s life. During his college days, he played classical music as a member of the Bozeman Symphony and even performed in Europe. When his time with the Symphony came to an end, he found a new direction for his love of music--- in old time fiddle tunes. Bob was fortunate to be mentored by the late “Doc” James Allison of Livingston, and learned to “play a fiddle” at the Allison’s Farm “Annual Old Time Fiddler’s Picnic” held the first weekend in August annually for over 40 years. It was at the picnic that he spent time with a group of friends and co-workers--- one friend that would later become his wife. After a brief courtship, Bob married the “love of his life” Nancy Lousen Haines, and became an instant father of 12 year old Kevin Haines. With Nancy’s encouragement, Bob competed in the Montana Old-Time Fiddle Contest competitions, and later to be an original member of the “Pretty Good String Band”. Bob’s “claim to fame” was as the fiddler that actually played on the roof in the opening scene “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Firehouse Five Playhouse in the original 1993 performance staring the late Mike Art.
After 38 ½ years of service at LMH, Bob retired early after a head trauma limited his short-term memory. His retirement years kept him busy with his Tower Garden business, and actively following his two beloved granddaughters to school concerts and sporting events. Bob was an avid Dukes Basketball fan, growing the sweetest strawberries and memorizing new fiddle tunes. Bob loved to take vacation cruises with Nancy. Over the years, they traveled the Panama Canal, Hawaii, Western Caribbean, Barcelona Spain, and Mexican Riviera. Bob kept busy playing with the “Pretty Good String Band” with some of his best friends for almost 25 years. He loved the rich sound his violin built in 1754 produced, however, Bob pointed out he was NOT the original owner.
Bob will be best known in the Livingston community for his passionate care towards others, his devotion to family, and playing his fiddle. He will be greatly missed.
Bob is survived by his wife of 42 years, Nancy; son, Kevin (Tina) Haines; granddaughters, Sarah and Erika Haines. He is also survived by siblings, Mark (Kari), Lynn, Mary (Roy), and Ray (Marlene); several nieces and nephews, and countless friends.
No funeral services will be performed, and a ‘Celebration of Life’ will be scheduled for a later date. Memorials may be directed to the Boy & Girls Club of Billings (505 Orchard Lane, Billings, MT 59101), or the Livingston Baseball Softball Association (PO Box 198, Livingston, MT 59047).
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.