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(balvenie) Robert Dokka

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Robert Dokka, known here at Dave's Garden as balvenie passed away January 5, 2009.

Our friend Robert had been an active and well-loved member here since February 2004. He contributed to many forums, and his wit and talents are well-known. He touched many lives with his love for this green Earth and the many beautiful things that grow on this planet.

Robert was also a talented artist with an eye for beauty. His creations in wood and glass grace the homes of quite a few members here, as he was as generous as he was creative.

The members in our Pet Forum remember him as he entertained them with the antics of his shelties. They were dearly loved by all who saw his posts.

Robert would want us to remember him by planting a tree, cleaning a vacant lot, or donating food to a homeless or animal shelter. He was always trying to leave this place better than he found it and would be pleased if we did so as well.

Thumbnail by melody
Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

how saddened I am to read this.

His artistic creativity was an inspiration to me. His talent in stained glass was so impressive.

He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

There was a tribute thread started on the California forum yesterday. You'll find it at:

I myself, knew Robert only from Coffee and ..., but I thoroughly enjoyed his posts and will miss him.


Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

I am so saddened to hear this. I enjoyed "talking" to Robert on many occasions. So full of wit and advice. He is in good company in Heaven talking to many other DGers that have gone on before us..........

Prayers going out to his family and friends.


So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

It is my great loss that I never got to meet Robert in person... too many miles from one coast to the other. Over the years of my friendship with Robert, unexpected things from him would show up in my mail... a Frank Lloyd Wright book, cards with photos he took on the front... a pepper mill... and once even an old car radio... always with an upbeat letter enclosed.

Dave's Garden is chock-full of loving, caring people but I count Robert among the very best. I shall miss his great dry wit, and the smile I always felt him wearing whether we were talking over the telephone lines, or with mere words online.

I'm not allowed to drink anymore but at some time I shall find some Balvenie (or another decent single-malt) and savor a shot in his honor.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6b)

Such a perfect craftsman I thought this was his profession.
Truely a wizard w/ glass he was.
I'm glad his Art and Ideas grace many memembers homes and gardens here.

Robert you will be sorely missed.

Darius we will lift one together.

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

I'm so sorry to read of Balvenie's death. When I think of him, I always think of the beautiful doorway he carved. It is breathtaking. I always loved seeing what he was up to. As DG grew, I lost touch and didn't always run across his threads; what pains me most is I didn't know he was ill. My heart's with you.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

As most of us know, Robert loved his dear shelties. I found this image that he posted, and have cropped it a bit. It is still his, I'm just placing it here for those who loved him to see.

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Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

I was priveleged to have met Robert at the end of last summer when he shared some of with me some of the plants from his garden. I had a nice afternoon on a cold and rainy day last summer talking with him and Barbara. They were both so hospitable and it was very easy and comfortable to sit and chat. I was looking forward to a lasting friendship and to seeing more of Robertís art treasures.

It didnít take very long for Robert to share his spirit and love with a new acquaintance and it is my loss that I will miss out on getting to know him better.

What a wonderful he person he was and what a tremendous legacy he has left.

Enjoy your new digs, Robert, and know that you will remain fondly in our memories for a long, long time.


Craryville, NY

I have never had the privilege of meeting Robert either in person or virtually here at DG, but he sounds like my type of guy! I must say, Heaven must be needing alot of Angels right now, for too many of the beautiful beings are passing too soon. May the Angels hold you in the palms of their hands, Robert. Godspeed.

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

My deepest condolences to Barb, and Brian and the family.
While I didn't know Robert, I do know he was a cherished and much beloved member of Dave's Garden.
I posted a message on the California forum, yesterday. After reading the posts and seeing the photos of his work and his love for shelties. I can't help but feel saddened at his loss.
At the same time, I hope that your family embraces the legacy he left here for you at DG. It is a blessing. He will be remembered. I'll be planting a tree in his name. I hope he liked California Live Oaks.
Walk In Beauty!

Crossville, TN

I will miss his jovial self when we DG'ers get together in CA....he was so special.

I will also plant a tree in his honor....maybe a Desert Willow!

He will always remain in our hearts.

Jo...Queen of Chocolates

Lynnwood, WA

Hi, This is Robert's son Brian. I wanted to thank you all again for your support. It really means a lot to our family. Here is a link to the obituary published in the Everett Herald today and tomorrow.

Beaumont, TX(Zone 8b)

I am so saddened by the loss of our good friend Robert. When I joined Dave's a few years ago, I found some of his threads with his work posted. I was in awe of the talent God had given him. I always knew that when I saw one of his threads, I was in for a special treat. His incredible visions and modesty always brought a smile to my face.

A little over 2 years ago, shortly after the Artisans Forum was created, Robert wrote an email to me asking if Connie and I would be willing to create a copper sculpture for his arbor. He asked me if we would document the process so that others that might be interested in working with copper could see what went into coming up with a sculpture. At that time, Connie and I had just begun to create garden critters. Robert gave us the encouragement and the artistic license to come up with whatever our minds could visualize.

Both of us had been admiring his work so much and knew that whatever we came up with, it was going to be very special indeed. So we set up a camera and took (literally) thousands of photos as we worked. For a week, each night I would come home and edit the photos and then tell what we'd done.

Connie and I had so much fun with this project. We decided from the beginning that we'd try and make the sculpture kinetic. We didn't want to let on though about that in case we couldn't make it happen. During the creation, Robert decided to call her Penelope. When we finally revealed that she was kinetic, you could practically see everyone's mouths drop open.

While we've made other sculptures, none holds as big a place in our hearts as Penelope does. We've "immortalized" her creation (from that thread - without the chatter) on a slide show if anyone would like to see her creation. Just click on the first photo to run the show in sequence.

Without Robert's faith in us, I'm not sure we would have taken the copper creations to the level we did.

Thank you Brian and Barb for sharing Robert with us. I'm sure he's designing stained glass for the homes in Heaven.


Thumbnail by UniQueTreasures
Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Oh, Janet, I remember that thread! I'd forgotten Penelope was made for Robert. :)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Let's all be sure to send Robert birthday greetings on Feb. 31, the birth date he listed on DG!

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)


Northport, ME(Zone 5b)

I am deeply saddened to learn this. I did not know Robert personally, but I did become acquainted with him on the pets fourum.

The love he had for his wonderful Shelties and the caring and perceptive information he shared with all animal lovers will be sorely missed. I enjoyed his insight, experence and wit and although we did not agree on everything, conversations with him always left everyone refreshed - and wiser.

Thank you, Robert...we miss you ~ Leslie

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Leslie, Robert and Frank are having a good time together ;) Talking about their doggies....and gardens, etc.

Have a great day and hope you are well.

Kathy :)

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I didn't know Robert, but as soon as I saw his name I thought of the arbor and Penelope. He no doubt will add to the beauty of heaven. Hugs to his family.

McKinney, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh wow. I just came across this and want to add my condolences. I too enjoyed his garden art and his open and friendly nature. We've lost so many special DGers recently. So sad....

(Zone 7a)

I don't spend as much time on the forums as I wish, but I remember once lurking when Robert suggested a great book - It was a kind of coming-of-age work of fiction, told from the standpoint of an autistic boy. Can't for the life of me remember the title. But I read it - thanks to Robert - and came away with a profound new open-nes to large universes behind *perceived* limited social skills in some people. Heck, I go around with foot permanently inserted in my own chops, so maybe a bigger reason I loved that book was that it gave me hope for my own future - lol.

Well, I wish Robert could know how many lives he touched for the better - he has left quite a ripple effect behind. I'll miss him, too.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I miss him too. Just last Saturday I made a day trip and found myself talking with Robert off and on during the drive... much better than listening to a radio (which I don't have anyway). Whatever we were discussing seemed profound at the time, but like a dream I no longer remember it.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

My goodness, I wasn't aware until just now Robert had moved on. I had no idea he was sick or unhealthy; this is a surprise, he certainly never had an unhealthy attitude in Life, did he.

In an email several years ago he mentioned that his Mother had died four years earlier (2000) and now here it is, only nine years later, he has joined her. He used to tell me of his Mom's persimmon cookies and send me recipes that were as close to hers as he could find.

Robert, hope there are persimmon cookies, persimmon pudding, persimmon pies where you are now!


Persimmon Cookies

Shoe, Mom passed away 4 years ago and I don't know what happened to all her recipes. Maybe when my stepdad comes up next month he can find them and bring them along. I looked at the internet and found this one that sounds
like it is close to what she made, but mom never put nuts and raisins in
them.I remember they were so good, sort of smooth and shiney on top, but
that was close on 60 years ago.

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or shortening
1 beaten egg
2 cups flour
Ĺ teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
1 teaspoon soda disolved in the persimmon pulp.
1 cup persimmon pulp (with soda)
1 cup of ground nuts and raisins

Cream butter and sugar,add beaten egg,then raisins,nuts and persimmon pulp.
Add dry ingredients.
Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Every fall when they come
on the market I buy as many as I can eat and afford, usually the little
hard ones 'cause I can't wait long enough for the bigger ones to get
mushy. Hope this helps.robert

There you have it, Folks. Have some persimmon cookies this year and think of Balvenie.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

he would have hit it off great with my mom, persimmon pudding cook that she was! i was just thinking of robert and decided to re-read this thread. sometimes i don't post on the memory garden but i read them all. you are missed, robert.

Oostburg, WI(Zone 5b)

Robert was in my thoughts today too as I divided some seed he had given me. I'm sharing it with others. He is truly missed.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Hey, Robert. I just wanted you to know that the Bergenia you gave me are all blooming furiously this spring and they've inspired the other sporadically-blooming Bergenia, as well. I think of you when I see the Comfrey, which the dogs love to nibble on, and the Pacific Iris and Tradescantia, as well.

You are forever in my garden!

Weedville, PA(Zone 6a)

I just resubscribed to DG after almost a yr long absence and was very saddened to find this news. I didn't know Robert as well as most of you but I'll never forget him or his Shelties. We didn't talk often but when we did it was all about the love of Shelties. His Merle Sheltie was the most beautiful I'd ever seen...and convinced me to consider getting one. Robert was one of those folks who made DG feel like home to me. I'm going to miss him and the stories and pics he shared.

Oostburg, WI(Zone 5b)

I wholeheartedly agree. My dream is to have a Merle Sheltie some day too. :) A wonderful memory of Bal.

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