It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we inform you that Bobby Wolter, drummer (The Weeds, REDFORD and Love Syndicate) and blogger at brianandbobbyspeak.com, passed away suddenly shortly after midnight Saturday morning from a massive hemoptysis in his lung. He was 28.
Andrew Wolter, Bobby’s brother, publicly announced Bobby’s death on Facebook hours later.
“Bobby passed away tonight at home in his father's arms after a long battle with cystic fibrosis. My brother was strong, loving and always believed in helping others before himself,” he wrote. “He never complained and he never made excuses. I once asked Bobby how he coped with everything and he replied, ‘Everyone's life is a journey and this is just a part of mine.’ He is loved and missed so much by so many and can now rest in peace.”
PW wrote about Wolter back in June when he launched brianandbobbyspeak.com, a blog that chronicled the unusual friendship between Wolter and local producer and musician Brian McTear, who also has cystic fibrosis.
In 2004, the pair were introduced when Marianne Ferrin, a nurse and coordinator of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in West Philly, gave Wolter McTear’s email address and encouraged him to drop McTear a line. Since CF patients can’t hang out with one another without risking the exchange of dangerous infections, Wolter and McTear began volleying letters via email -- developing an intimate epistolary comraderie that lead to years of mutual support and friendship.
Then this past June, after Wolter had to put down the drumsticks for lack of physical energy, he picked up the laptop and published the letters—going back five years--to inspire other patients with cystic fibrosis to live life fully, thoughtfully and bravely.
Wolter’s sudden death shocked friends and compatriots in Philadelphia’s music community at large. Throughout the weekend, friends wrote messages of love for Wolter and support for his family on Wolter’s Facebook page and on the blog, where McTear recently posted his last public letter to Wolter.
“You were too young and had too many wonderful and thoughtful things to bring to the world yet. It’s impossible for me to believe this. Right down to my core, you are bigger than life,” wrote McTear. “To me at this moment you are still here, so I just want to say things to you that I would say to you ALIVE, before I lose this feeling.”
Cystic Fibrosis made it exceedingly difficult for Bobby Wolter to breathe. He talked about how it was so hard to get up and out to walk his beloved dog Oscar some mornings. Of course, he often looked tired, physically. Yet his spirit sparkled so clearly, ever buoyant and always rising. Breathe easy Bobby, and Godspeed.
Services will be held at Paoli Presbyterian Church (225 S Valley Rd, Paoli, PA 19301) on Wednesday, August 26 at 5pm, with wake to follow. Details as we learn them. Services are open to all who would like to pay respects.