A big man with a slow Texas drawl and a quick wit, Bob Fogarty was someone that you only needed to meet once to become his friend. I first crossed paths with him in The Golden Nugget in Reno at the 2003 DeckExpo, where we were meeting to discuss the possibility of starting an association of deck builders. Someone lay down a hundred-dollar bill and said, “Let’s get this started!" Bob’s $100 soon followed along with 17 others, and NADRA - the North American Deck and Railing Association - was born.
A loyal supporter of our deck industry, Bob could always be counted on to provide a bit of excitement at the many Deck Expos we attended together. There was the time he convinced everyone (except me) to go to a 'gentlemen’s' club, or the time in Memphis where he slipped in the shower and ended up in the hospital. As my fellow deck builder Clemens Jellema says, "Bob sure kept us up many nights going to places we haven’t seen before."
I knew that Bob was a former cop. But what I didn’t know was that he always packed a sidearm...until the time I made the mistake of slipping up behind him unannounced to give him a big bear hug. His reaction was like a snake. In a flash, but in a very controlled manner, he pulled his gun until he recognized me and just as quickly slid it back into its holster. In fact, he had been a police officer for most of his life, and it was only after he retired that he began building decks in the south Dallas area.
Bob was never afraid to share his knowledge in the industry, and I think one of his greatest joys was that he was part of a large group of deck builders worldwide. It was his second family. And while he experienced many health issues over the years, he was always optimistic and never complained. In recent years, we tried to convince him to start thinking about retirement, but he remained dedicated to his customers, and worked until his final days.
Bob is survived by his gracious wife, Joyce, who welcomed me and many other deck builders into their home many times. His company, Artistic Decks & Arbors, was located in Red Oak, Texas.