Parish of Leatherhead - Bob Brixey 1916-2005

In Memory and Thanksgiving


25th July 1916-16th August 2005

And let us not be weary in well doing;
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not:
Galatians 6 verse 9

31st August 2005

Order of Service


Hymn: Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven


Reading: Revelation 21 verses 1-6

The Gate of the Year – Derek Pavey

Canon David Eaton, Vicar of Leatherhead

Bob was true of heart: a man who had strong principles and expectations of himself, and others, but always with a twinkle in his eye.

Part of Bob’s charm was no doubt inherited from his Italian grandfather, who was going to be a Roman Catholic priest, but fell in love with a Protestant girl, wouldn’t you know it.

I don’t know whether Bob ever contemplated ordination, but he was certainly a boy server in his local church, as well as a Scout. His grandfather was a master mason and good with his hands. This too Bob inherited, only his chosen career and vocation was catering. Starting out today he might have made a good celebrity chef, although I will leave it to your imagination which one.

Instead, Bob was apprenticed at 15 and worked as a West End chef during the war in what was a Reserved Occupation. He was at The Savoy and other well-known West End hotels and his cuisine received good marks from government ministers and royalty alike. But in 1948 Bob switched tracks and joined the recently formed National Health Service and spent the rest of his career in hospital catering.

In his early days Bob had been an amateur boxer and cut a fine figure in the ring. Whether it was those rippling muscles that attracted Ann I couldn’t possibly say, but they married in London and have shared 43 good and happy years together. In Ann Bob found an excellent companion, friend and support.

We offer our deepest sympathy today to Ann and James and Katharine, Will and Chloe. Bob adored his family in only the way that Italians can and they returned his love and affection in equal measure.

In retirement Bob didn’t let the grass grow under his feet – gardening was much enjoyed, as was bowling at the Leatherhead Bowling Club. He was a keen member of the Elizabethan Masonic Lodge.

Bob was also a hardworking churchman and gave generously of his time here. Being Chairman of the Parish Hall Committee is no mean task, and you could always be sure of a ready welcome when Bob was a sidesman. For a good number of years Bob counted the Sunday collection, with Warner Wright, and made sure it got safely to the bank. No doubt even in later life a Brixey right hook presented a considerable challenge to a any would-be thief. Securicor had met their match.

Of course beyond these practical tasks, and at a deeper level, lay a real faith which had been born and nurtured when Bob was much younger, but still bore fruit many years later. It did so partly in Bob’s high principles. He had high standards for himself and also for others – sometimes a trial to himself and to others – but they arose from a true faith and integrity of life. Bob was always straight and honest and demanded respect.

We commit Bob today to God’s safe-keeping. The Revelation of John the Divine (today’s reading) is the last book in the Bible: it was written by an old man at the end of his life; it is a vision of a world which we don’t get to see, a world beyond the grave.

It is hard for us in an age when seeing is believing to imagine that such a place exists. Perhaps we should imagine Bob in his kitchen at The Savoy. The wonderful dining rooms to be found there, especially 50 years ago, and the splendid dishes to be enjoyed there, owed their preparation to the hard work and dedication of Bob and others in the kitchen, a world way from the glitz and grandeur.

Our life is a preparation for a life to come. It may seem difficult to imagine a heaven where there will be no more mourning and crying, where tears are wiped away for ever; but perhaps, just perhaps, there is another dimension, which God holds in safe keeping and which one day we shall inherit.

Good chefs may not all know him, but Bob did. He didn’t make a great show of his faith but it was nonetheless real and cherished. For this reason we know that for sure Bob sits at table in the Kingdom of Heaven, a place of great grandeur, a welcome guest, his work on Earth is done and he enjoys a rich and a peaceful reward.

Thanks be to God.



Hymn: There is a green hill far away



Committal followed immediately at Randalls Park Crematorium
Donations to Prostate Cancer Charity.

If I could reach up
and hold a star for every time
you made me smile,
the entire evening sky
would be in the palm of my hand.

These words were chosen by Chloe
and included on a very special card she sent to her Grandpa.

If you have any memories of Bob please contact the editor

link to Ann's page

page created 13 November 2005, last updated 10 November 2009

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