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National Center For P.T.S.D.
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420
Life Story / Obituary
Fighting for his country in the Marine Corps, Robert “Bobby” John Flak Jr. will be greatly missed by his family and friends, but forever honored for his service to the U.S. Bobby shared his struggles and experiences through drawing; he was incredibly talented. Anyone who knew Bobby would say that he was a popular, strong, protective, supportive, and sensitive man. Bobby has left this world too soon, but he will always be cherished and remembered by his family and countless friends.
The 1980s were an exhilarating time for music fashion and culture. Young people were moving to big cities in droves and embodying the catchphrase “dress for success.” A staggering one billion people watched as Prince Charles married Lady Diana, and Michael Jackson was the decade’s most popular artist. Although we are all used to sleek and light cell phones, the first commercial cell phone that consumers could purchase in 1983 weighed a ridiculous weight of two pounds! For Robert and Rhonda Flak, the end of the decade brought with it the birth of their son, Bobby Flak Jr. Born at a staggering weight of 9 lbs. 14 oz on October 18, 1989, Bobby’s smile instantly captured the hearts of all those who saw him. Bobby was always thought of as the “cool” big brother by his five siblings and was incredibly protective of them all. From a very early age, Bobby always had a love for sports—athletics always came easily to him. One could say that Bobby was a natural born athlete. His dad was often his coach growing up; Bobby played basketball, baseball, football, and for Western Little League. Football, by far, was his favorite sport, both watching and playing. He loved to watch sports with his grandpa Scoby and was a huge University of Michigan fan.
As a youngster Bobby was known for his shenanigans and his cleverness. Born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan, Bobby attended Covell and Shawmut Elementary, Westwood Middle School, and graduated with the class of 2008 from Union High School. Staying active, Bobby played baseball, basketball, and four years of football in high school. His teammates respected Bobby and made him captain of the football team his senior year. Bobby made it a priority to respect everyone and treat all people equally. He had an appetite to match his high activity level and ate his favorite foods whenever he could—hamburgers, pizza, candy, ice cream, kielbasa was probably his favorite food and jerky (he never could get enough of that always on his gift list for Christmas). And, everyone always knew where to go if they were looking for a good time, Bobby’s house. Hosting pool parties and befriending anyone that crossed his path, Bobby was always a social person.
Bobby’s parents divorced, but that didn’t mean he stopped being the protective and supportive older brother. All of Bobby’s siblings agree that he was the cool big brother with a larger-than-life personality. To greet anyone or to say goodbye, Bobby would throw out a fist bump. After graduation, Bobby enlisted in the Marine Corp. He completed basic training in San Diego and the dreaded Crucible. The Crucible is a test that every recruit must go through to become a Marine. It tests every recruit physically, mentally, and morally and is the defining experience of recruit training. This test takes place over 54 hours and includes food and sleep deprivation and over 45 miles of marching. Despite having hardly any food, Bobby still shared his miniscule amount of nourishment with a fellow marine during the test. Bobby was trained as a radio operator and his Artillery group was deployed to Afghanistan from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Stationed in Afghanistan for one year, Bobby’s base was no bigger than a football field. Any care packages that he received during his deployment were always shared with his fellow marines. Bobby was honorable discharged as a sergeant after four years.
Once his duty as a Marine was completed, Bobby began work at Meijer Warehouse. Eventually he somehow managed to hold down two jobs: Mill Steel during the day and Paragon Bowling Alley in the evening. Bobby’s interests included weightlifting and working out; keeping up his physique even though he was no longer an active Marine. Unfortunately, Bobby suffered from PTSD for many years. PTSD is a devastating relentless disease, but Bobby was a fighter and an overcomer. He knew that his struggles were more than he could handle alone so he reached out to his loving support system—his family. Tragically, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that the incidence of PTSD among veterans is up to 20% for those who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. To cope with his struggles and share his story, Bobby turned to expressing his feelings through drawing. Everyone admired his use of art to cope with his PTSD in such a special and creative way.
No one can truly understand what it is like to serve for our country and all the tragedies that our service members witness on a daily basis. Bobby was a hero and remained forever strong, both in body and heart. His dedication to this country will forever be honored and admired. We all owe our lives living as free American citizens to heroes like Bobby. All of Bobby’s family and friends will forever remember what a popular, supportive, and protective man he was. American president Ronald Reagan once said, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem.” Bobby Flak Jr. certainly made a difference to the world and to all those he knew and loved.
FLAK, Jr., Robert J.
Cape Cod, MA
Age 31, passed away July 20, 2021 in Cape Cod, MA. Bobby was born October 18, 1989 in Grand Rapids to Robert Flak and Rhonda (Scoby) Flak. He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Marines having served in Afghanistan. Bobby was a 2008 graduate of Union High School where he captained the football team. Bobby will be remembered for his sense of humor, laugh and his love for drawing. He is survived by his mother, Rhonda Flak, father, Robert (Angela) Flak; siblings, Brittany Dykstra, Nichole Dykstra, Ashley Dykstra, Drew Flak, Alyssa Flak; grandfathers, William Scoby and Thomas (Nancy Jones) Flak. several aunts, uncles and cousins. Memorials may be made to National Center for P.T.S.D. ptsd.va.gov To read more of Bobby's life story, leave a memory or condolence please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.