The Antiplanner has met many people who are smarter than I am, and one of them was my father, Robert O’Toole, who died last week at the age of 91. In fact, I sometimes suspected that he was too smart for his own good.
Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1925, Bob was the second of three sons. His father died of tuberculosis when Bob was 5 or 6 years old, and though his mother remarried, times were hard. One year, he received a bicycle for Christmas–but his mother and step-father had just made a $1 downpayment on the bike and he had to earn the rest.
He retreated into his books. “He read all the time,” one of his brothers told me. “He was so much smarter than the rest of us,” his other brother added. Bob graduated from Roosevelt High School at or near the top of his class in 1943. He was what people today would call a geek: a skinny guy into math and science but with few to no people skills.