Robert Bott

Born in Rupert, ID
Departed on Nov 24, 2022


Robert Bott died peacefully on Thursday, November 24th surrounded by his loving wife of 32 years and his two daughters. The family invites you to join them at a Celebration of Robert’s life at 2pm on Friday, December 2, 2022, at First Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a service followed by a time of food, fellowship and sharing stories at 3pm. 

Born in Rupert, Idaho on July 12, 1954 to Jennie Thomas and Louis Bott, Robert always pursued his passions and loves. Animals, music, coffee, and thrill. In his youth he kept and showed prize Friesian Holsteins and was a star athlete in basketball, baseball, and football. 

After leaving home at 17, Robert was always looking for the next adventure and ready to pick up and chase it at a moment’s notice. He worked as a rodeo clown, sound engineer, dockworker, electrician, farmer, trucker, and handyman across the American North West. A hippie through and through, music was of great importance to Robert in his youth and until the end. As a teen he would sneak away to Salt Lake City to see Grateful Dead play the Salt Palace. One of his favorite concerts was when the concert caused such a stir that the police cut the power and the Dead switched out their electric instruments for acoustic and played on in the dark. If you talked with him long enough you were sure to hear a story about seeing Janis Joplin or Ray Charles or Jim Morrison or…the list is too long. He loved live music and classic rock and roll.

Robert’s wandering ways flew out the window when he landed in Iowa City and took an odd job shoveling snow with a friend for a busy law student, Caroline, in 1989. It just so happened that law student’s home was in need of some electrical work, too, which Robert took on. As the days and weeks flew by, Caroline would make Robert cookies and coffee and they would chat for hours while he worked. A year later they were married, owned a home, and were expecting their first daughter. The two settled in Cedar Rapids and raised two girls, Katharine Rose and Hannah Emily. 

Throughout his life, Robert pursued diversity, change, and excitement but never expected anything to fall in his lap. He was driven and threw his whole self into his every endeavor. He worked for over 25 years in used car sales where he spent his career working to ensure that every person he met - sale or no sale - left with exactly what they needed. A man of deep convictions, Robert was driven by a commitment to honesty and service rooted in his faith.

In the 1990s Robert worked with Gary Nims to lead the local jail ministry, a passion project driven by his own experience on the other side of the law and time in jail. Raised Catholic, Robert lost his faith at a young age but was brought back into the faith by loving and forgiving Christians and he never lost sight of that gift. Though it was a point of great pride to share that gift through ministry, he approached this work as a privilege, an act of service he was blessed to do. 

Robert could find common ground with just about anyone in front of him. A skilled and natural conversationalist, Robert loved to tell his own story and get even total strangers talking about their own. He made an impression with everyone he ever met and will be fondly remembered in more hearts than we could ever possibly know. 

His whole life, Robert had a passion and love of coffee that started while living in Seattle in the 70s and 80s during the birth of the specialty coffee industry in America. The first trip Robert and Caroline ever took, to St. Louis, Robert brought whole beans and a coffee grinder. He was very passionate about coffee, to put it mildly. In the early 2000s, he started to roast his own coffee at home. Eventually he was roasting small batches for family and friends. Then his dream of opening a coffee business with his daughter Hannah became reality and they opened a small craft roasting business, selling at farmer’s markets and online. 

In his free time Robert loved camping, traveling, spinning records, gardening, and woodworking. His greatest joy though was sharing his passions and time with his loved ones. In his retirement he traveled Europe and North America with Caroline, always planning special and unique trips. One of his last vacations, the two spent a month traveling Italy, where they visited his grand mother Serafina and grandfather Luigi's hometowns. Robert always considered his family to be his greatest accomplishment. He will be best remembered by those closest to him as a loving father, grandfather, and husband. 

Robert loved being a grandpa to his granddaughter Eva. They were very close and spent time together everyday. This summer, they went camping, visited the zoo and spent a week at a Minnesota lake. Baba and Eva were always up for ice cream, especially at The Freeze.

Katie lovingly took care of Robert the past two years, making sure he was fed, his library books were up to date, got his haircut and to appointments on time. 

Robert is survived by his wife, Caroline Giddings, daughters Katie and Hannah, granddaughter Eva, his constant companions, Daisy, Ellie and Penelope: his mother, Jennie Morrison, Brothers and sisters in law, Steve and Wendy, Mike and Doris and Jeff and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Although not one to tolerate meetings well, Robert served on the boards of Fresh Start Ministries and Mission of Hope. 

The family requests that gifts in Robert’s memory be given to Mercy Medical Center Foundation, Fresh Start Ministries or Mission of Hope.