|By Bob Weaver|
Bob Law of Grantsville has been described as a entrepreneur, risk taker, promoter, inventor and visionary.
Law has died at age 75.
During his lifetime, he had many business ventures, some quite fledgling, while others made him a small fortune.
Like many risk takers, he would tell you he had problems holding on to his money.
His first business venture out of Calhoun High School, graduating in 1957, was to consign records, those plastic things with holes in the middle, to small stores around rural West Virginia. Then he opened an archery shop.
His most famous venture was the internationally known Air Rifle Headquarters in Grantsville, which he started in the 1960s, importing to America the world's best air rifle and improving them.
"The real pioneer in bringing high quality airguns into the US market, and the man who pioneered the use of airgun tuning and synthetic lubricants was Law," according an Air Gunner historian.
"It was Law who developed the essential techniques and materials for maximizing the accuracy and power of these guns."
He was the first to mount rifle scopes to airguns, and promoted his products in “Air Rifle Monthly” that was part catalog, part handbook.
He had other ventures from which the community benefited, including a Christian book store, used furniture, appliance store and video rentals.
He was also a Bible scholar.
"He was certainly a fascinating and creative man," wrote the historian.
BOB LAW - MORE THAN A STORY CAN TELL
By Gaylen Duskey
Bob Law genius? Yes.
He was also a philantropist, a Bible expert, a salesman, a promoter, a jokester and a lot more things. But he was above all a friend.
When I read of Robert Lee “Bob” Law's passing the other day I wanted to cry. But I couldn't as the memories of pranks, jokes and good friendship brought a chuckle. He went out as he had lived … making people smile.
A perfect person? No.
He spent just about every fortune he made and he made quite a few of them in several different businesses.
From the beginning, and forgive me if I leave any out, there was records and wire recordings; archery equipment; air rifles; religious items; DVD and VCR rentals and lawn care.
I got to know Bob during his days selling archery equipment. I bought a bow and a bunch of arrows when I was a pre-teen and it would be my guess that somewhere on Hog Knob there is an arrow or two struck in a tree or buried in the ground from where I shot at a target.
But archery equipment gave way to other things such as baseball, basketball and football as I grew older.
It wasn't until Bob had reinvented himself as an air rifle guru, and believe me he WAS a guru, that I was around him much and that is when we developed what became a life long friendship, even as I moved around the country for the better part of three decades.
He developed an idea – a mail order business in Grantsville – into a viable product and come up with his Air Rifle Headquarters from where he offered up catalogs, air rifles and their peripheral equipment and hIs world wide magazine “Air Rifle Monthly” in which he talked about the industry and the product with expert skill because at the he probably was the No. 1 expert in the world.
And, if not he was on the first hand.
Jokes were a big part of the friendship back then.
I know I placed a piece of paper in the J&B Drugs window that said: “For the world's greatest lover call” ... with Bob's direct number listed.
That night when I asked him if he got many calls and told him about the notice he said: “I was wondering what all the Romeo stuff was about.”
No anger for his wasted time on the telephone, just a laugh.
This was also the period of excess.
This was when he bought not one, but two new Plymouth Super Birds (the same car Richard Petty drove to 27 NASCAR wins that season) and the house boat.
This was about the time I began my long sojourn elsewhere.
But every time I came back I'd look up Bob and we'd regale each other with stories and horrible puns. Bob had many of the worst puns EVER.
When I finally did move back to Grantsville for good, he asked me why.
I told him my parents were both getting older and I wanted to be here for them.
He said he too was doing that since he lived with his father and was taking care of him.
It didn't fit the Devil-may-care memories I had of him, but it didn't surprise me either.
It was at this time I played the all-time classic joke on him.
I e-mailed a fake ad for Nubian goats to a local publication and gave Bob's phone number with the message: “ Ask for Bob.”
I ran into him in the store a couple of days later and he sidled up to me and laughed, saying “I could have sold 200 of them if I'd had them. I may go into the goat business.”
Instead he got into the cat business as he befriended a couple of stray cats which turned into a feral cat colony as his Booger Hole house, getting to the point where he posted a message on his sign board outside saying: “Free kittens … have plenty.”
I never knew if he got rid of all the kittens or not, I just knew that he was feeding them … not turning away a one, just as he had not turned away a person in his entire life.
I guess my most lasting memory may be of his worst pun ever.
It was the story of a frog who went to the bank to obtain a loan dealing with loan officer Patty Black.
After much wrangling Patty Black went to the bank president and told her story: The frog had no job, no income and really no collateral except for two ceramic frogs … a couple of knick knacks..
That moved the bank president to shock his employee when he said: “Knick knack Patty Black, give the frog a loan ...”
Bob Law - More than a story can tell