Robert “Bob” Gene Comer was born and raised on his family’s farm in Leota, Ind., with seven sisters and two brothers. He attended a one-room schoolhouse for his elementary education before attending and graduating from Scottsburg High School where he excelled in, among other things, agricultural studies. Upon his graduation from high school, he was offered, and summarily turned down, a full-tuition scholarship to attend college in order to continue working on his family’s farm. He then took a job working at Morgan Packing Company and ASCS, assisting in the founding of the Finley Township Elementary School and the Finley Fire Department. Bob also served in the United States Armed Forces, where he fought overseas in the Korean Conflict operating tanks and acting as a guard.
Bob married Ruth Ann Bartle of Scott County, and together the couple had two children, Russell Wayne Comer and Rachelle “Shelley” Dawn (neé Comer) Akers. Upon his return from Korea, he once again began operating the farm on which he had grown up, eventually coming to own it as his own. It was there that he would work for the rest of his life, eventually being named a River Friendly Farmer of Indiana by then-Governor Joe Kernan for his eco-friendly farming practices.
Bob was known by many for his strong love of people, greeting everyone he saw with a smile and a warm handshake. He was known to have remarked to many that an education was an important tool for a young person to possess, simply because that was something that could never be taken away once it was acquired. However, he also made clear that “book sense” would not get anyone anywhere without “common sense” to go along with it.
Because of this, the Robert G. Comer Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a high school senior who has had a life shaped by agriculture and by farming much like Bob’s own life was, and who plans to continue to grow themselves as they pursue a college degree of their own.