January 20, 2020 our dear friend and dharma brother Robert Lytle died.
Meg Alexander sent this message.
Photo - November 1980 at the Wedding of Linda Hess and Kaz Tananhashi. That's Mel Weitsman with glasses and Ed Sattizahn in the background.
3 photos of Robert from Sara's Facebook
Looking through the Tassajara 25 Year Book which has incomplete, but a lot of information, on who was at Tassajara practice periods for the first 25 years, we find Robert first mentioned as a student in the fall of 1973. Spring '74 in the kitchen, fall '75 he's back as a doan, fall '83 on grounds, spring '84 general labor, spring '85 through spring '86 he's the director. I was shuso spring '74 and we got close then. - DC
The Abbot, Katherine Thanas and Robert Lytle went to Jamesburg to meet with Ed Brown, Mel and Yvonne to talk about the question of the next Abbot. - 10,000 YEAR BOOK, SPRING 1985
The cover of the last Wind Bell in 2012 feature's Robert's big hand and Nathan Wenger's small hand. - photo by Barbara Wenger
Robert had a painful nerve disease for decades which struck first in the hands and feet. He was on medication for years - strong stuff like morphone. It didn't seem to effect him though like people who take opiates for non medical reasons. He forgot it once when he went to the city for a meeting and said it was so painful that he'd kill himself if that happened again. But then years later a doctor got him to quit those painkillers and he said it was better that way. For a good deal of this time Robert was a nurse practitioner, mainly pediatric I think, taking care of the pain of others. Eventually he ended up in a wheelchair then bed.
I'd visit Robert in Ukiah at his office when passing through, or visit with Brenda and him at their home. I remember Sara when she was a little girl but not as she got bigger. Robert was so proud of her and how accomplished she was in her studies and music. I sent a note to Brenda and Sara that included: I'm so sad to hear of Robert's passing. He was a dear friend, such a thoughtful person. Robert extended himself to my son Clay and was helpful when Clay was in trouble and very difficult to communicate with. There's a note in my Now list that reads "Call Robert Lytle." Didn't get to that this last time. I'm happy I knew him as long and as much as I did, and sorry I wasn't in contact more. - DC
Robert and wife Brenda Grosz - photo by Barbara Wenger
On Robert from Facebook and emails - About sixty people just posted emojis.
Michael Katz - I can visualize Robert at Tass sitting on the outside steps up the dorm with some kind of rig for making holes in manzanita seeds for malas. Warm, friendly guy.
Meiya Wender - Robert, thank you for your many kindnesses and friendship, many years ago. I pray for your peaceful crossing over.
Alan Senauke - So sorry to hear this. Peace.
Mystie Brackett - Dear Robert💗 Your gentle laughing kindness will always be remembered 🙏🏼💗
Elizabeth Burgess Sawyer - Thank you for telling us.
Carlos Ponce Cabido - So sorry.
Baika Andrea Pratt - Thank you for posting. 🙏🏽💖
Frank Ostaseski - Thanks for sharing David. May he be free of all suffering.
Arlene Lueck - Thank you for sharing David, May his journey continue with peaceful ease
Neil J. Rubenking - Robert was the real deal.
Flora Taylor - A great Ino. I still remember him telling me that I really should make more of an effort to be on time for zazen; I think it hadn't really occurred to me that more of an effort was what was required.
Kai Harper Leah - Oh Robert, some interesting times working at the guesthouse with you. I have a big smile on my face thinking of those times. Yes, rest in peace my friend...💜🙏
Robert Anderson Love, love...I’ll miss you Robert.
Britton Pyland - So very sorry to hear of Robert's passing. He was a friend and dedicated practitioner.
Gene Desmidt - This truly makes me sad....We became very close at Tassajara in 1986-1987 and I used to call him the "Robert" Cat....and "Mr. nickel and Dimer"...He called me up and asked me to come up to Ukiah and give him a physical inspection of a "log Cabin" residence he was thinking of buying....I told him my fee was $100 (1/2 price) and he grumbled a little and when I was done he said lets go to the bank so I can pay you ! He paid me alright ... $100....in Nickels....I will miss his cynical and sarcastic sense of humor !💖💖💖
Elin Powers - Robert was such a friend when I lived at 300 Page street. Farewell to a gentle, kind, giant.
Gail Carpenter - I am so sorry for your loss
Sara Lytle - Thank you so much, David, for sharing this ❤️❤️❤️ And for all of you for sharing your memories. I will miss him so much.
Chris Fortin - Thank you David . 💛🙏🏽
Michael Gelfond - Nancy and I are so sad to hear about Robert’s passing.
Chris Fortin - I was a new student at Green Gulch taking care of the children and babies. Robert, an older student , would come out of the treasury office and get down on the floor on his hands and knees and play with us. A total delight and the sweetest memory.
Michael Gelfond - He was love-filled, the real deal as Neil said. When our daughter Rachel was two, we lived down the hall from Robert at 340 Page. Rachel used to like to pretend that she was a kitty cat, and Robert would put out a bowl of milk for her, say “Here kitty, kitty.” He was the sweetest person! We were lucky to know him.
Basya Petnick - Sad to hear this news. Condolences to Brenda and their daughter.
Lulu Grant - wow another one gone
Wayne Pickrell - I really enjoyed my conversations with him at ZC. A very sweet man.
Barrie Mason – Robert Lytle!
John Grimes - Robert was still ZMC director summer of '86, my first of 7 summers. Brenda was tenzo, Katherine Thanas tanto, Jim Bockhorst ino, Eleanor Edwards shika. Robert invited me to stay for the summer as a spouse (gay) not a Zen student. I was impressed. They really really needed workers haha. It was a fabulous summer!
This is a little weird for me to post. I searched for "Robert Lytle Ukiah obituary" and came up with another Robert Lytle who died on the same day in Illinois a few hours earlier.