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Sykesville officials memorialize longtime town engineer with bench, Town House recognition

Bob Bonds Sr.'s family gathered around his memorial bench in Sykesville.
Bob Bonds Sr.'s family gathered around his memorial bench in Sykesville. (Akira Kyles)

The work of Bob Bond Sr. is apparent throughout the town of Sykesville. As town engineer, he touched every development in Sykesville for the past 47 years, which is why the town took time to honor him and his work.

Friday morning, town officials invited Bond’s family to gather and present two symbols they used to memorialize him in the town he loved most — with a brick and a bench.

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Mark Onheiser, Sykesville’s project coordinator, and Jana Antrobus, executive assistant to the town manager, worked together to bring the memorial ceremony to present the two items to Bond’s family.

A brick was carved and placed within the patio on the side of the Town House that honors multiple veterans. Bond., who died in June, served in the U.S. Army from 1948 to 1951, according to his son Bob Bond Jr. The bench was placed in front of the Sykesville town house, overlooking Main Street.

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Bob Bond Sr.'s brick dedication for his service in the U.S. Army.
Bob Bond Sr.'s brick dedication for his service in the U.S. Army. (Akira Kyles)

Not only Bond’s children but also his grandchildren and one great-grandchild, gathered to honor his legacy, some travelling from New York and Chevy Chase to attend the memorial ceremony to honor his legacy. According to those closest to him, Bond was dedicated to Sykesville and it held a special place in his heart.

“He just really loved the town,” said daughter-in-law Ardis Bond. “It was like it was his own. He never lived here but you would think he was born and raised here.”

Bond worked as Sykesville’s engineer up until the day he passed on June 15.

“Any time a development or project or road construction ⁠— anything happened within the town, engineer drawings were sent to Bob for review. If something came in and it wasn’t right, he wouldn’t just make comments, he would give an alternative,” said Antrobus. “Any project development that come into town, those plans went to Bob so, his hands touched anything that was new in town the last 47 years.”

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Bond Sr. left a mark not only on the town but on the people in it as well.

“Bob impressed upon me like there’s no tomorrow. The rest of my life, that’s all I do is, every time I look at the drawing or print, or storm drain, I’m going to think about Bob," said Onheiser, noting he worked closely with Bond for the past five years but has known him for “a long time.”

Bond’s oldest daughter, Cindi Hayes, remembered her father’s integrity.

“He was bigger than life but he was also very, very modest. He never wanted anybody to take note of him or all of his accomplishments,” said Hayes. “I opened up my eulogy with saying that we were all gathered and how happy I was that everybody was but that if my father had had his way, he wouldn’t have shown up because no way would he ever agree to show up to that.”

As humble as he was, his son still believes that his dad would have enjoyed the memorial.

“He would be really pleased. He loved this town like it was his own and he defended it like it was his own,” said Bond Jr. “I think it’s very sweet for them to do this. We’re very touched; we didn’t expect it."

One way Bond Sr.'s granddaughter described him was practical.

“The families used to, before the grandkids, [spend] summers up at a lake in Canada — and then the grandkids started going, too — but he used to bathe and he would wash his hair and jump in the lake because it was shampoo and go and that’s where you were and that’s what you did,” said Katharine Hayes, Bond Sr.'s granddaughter.

She added that her grandfather was “baffled” by technology until he discovered FaceTime to video chat with one of his grandsons who was serving in the U.S. Navy.

At the unveiling of the memorial bench, Sykesville Mayor Ian Shaw reflected on Bond’s dedication to improving the town.

“We thought [the bench] was so fitting for Bob because he was so awesome,” said Shaw. "I remember sitting in a meeting and these young guys came with all these studies and he was giving them his look of disdain because he had all the charts and was telling me stuff and they’re telling them about the water and all this and I could just tell that he was like ‘yeah, whatever.’ When they came back like a year or so later, I asked him and I said “what about all those studies?' he goes ‘oh, that guy didn’t really know what he was doing,’ talking about her staff person. See, Bob, he’s like ' I don’t need all these studies to tell you that stuff’s not right.'”

According to Shaw, the town saw Bond as though he was family, “so he won’t be forgotten.”

Bond was laid to rest on July 17 and buried in Reisterstown. According to his children, he was predeceased by their mother, who had passed six months prior.

Cindi Hayes expressed her gratitude to they town for remembering her father.

“You’ve also given us a place that we know we can come back and visit,” she said to Shaw. “We have a place to come, because I don’t like sitting in a graveyard that much but I can come sit here.”

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