Alexander Mack "Bobby" Aikin, III, who served District 3 in the Texas House of Representatives during the 70th legislature and who's hosted KETR's Breakdown with Bob Aikin since 2009, passed away Wednesday afternoon at his home in Commerce, TX.
Over the coming days, you're likely to learn all about the contributions Bob Aikin made to Texas politics, state education, schools throughout the state with The Aikin Group, and East Texas State University. His career was a storied one.
I can't speak to most of those things. I knew Bob Aikin to be an unfathomably knowledgeable resource on literally any subject, a remarkable media talent, and a trusted friend.
I first sought him out at the suggestion of a mutual friend, Dr. John Mark Dempsey, in early 2009. The idea was to develop a radio segment about... well... anything Bobby wanted to talk about. His knack for being up-to-speed with current events, global politics, and popular culture made him the ideal addition to a radio station whose mission is to educate and inform our region. He also happily accepted a role on KETR's Broadcast Advisory Board in the fall of 2009.
Over the past three years, Bobby and I have had a standing meeting each week, whether we were on the air live or, more recently, prerecording the day before the show. Each Wednesday at 1:30pm has been reserved as a recording session where Bobby would 'Break Down' various topics in such a way that KETR's local audience might feel connected to, say, the French presidential election, or the fall of Soviet Russia, or the genius of movie director Christopher Nolan, or what have you.
Like clockwork, he was in my office at 1:35 this afternoon. We recorded what would have been our 164th or so episode. As was our custom, before and after the recording, we talked about what was new in our worlds, his recent trip to Houston (and the amazing steakhouses he visited), and KETR's fundraising efforts, of which he's been such a very big part.
That's what our relationship was. He'd come in and close my office door, and I'd take the opportunity to bounce ideas off of him about station programming and fundraising, University issues, restaurants in Austin and Washington, D.C. that he'd suggest... He was a wealth of knowledge with regard to the intricacies of finance, as well. He even offered advice that helped me to sort through the finer points of my home mortgage in the summer of 2009. He once told a story about a poor kid on the receiving end of an unexpected phone call from President Johnson - as if he'd been there in the thick of the situation. Oh, and we'd also do the show.
Over the next few days, there will be many stories about the way that Bobby touched the lives of people throughout the region, the state, and the nation. I knew him to be an invaluable friend both to KETR and to me.
Bobby was 65 years old.
UPDATE: KETR understands that a Celebration of Life is set for Sunday, June 17th from 3-5pm at the Sam Raburn Student Center on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce. Our hearts are with his wife, Debbie, and their family during this difficult time.
We encourage you to share your fond memories of Bob Aikin in our comment box below.