Lowbrows owner died as he lived
Friends describe Bob Albrecht as a quiet man who would help others when they needed it.
David Delcourt remembers a man who never said goodbye when he left a room.
“We’d be playing dominoes or be having a beer and you’d look up and say, ‘Where’s Bob?”” Delcourt said. “And somebody would say he left 15 minutes ago.
“Well, he left the same way on this earth. Nobody was with him. He went out to his wife’s flower garden and laid down.”
Albrecht, owner of Lowbrows Beer and Wine Garden and a champion of the arts in Pilot Point, died Monday at his home in Sanger. He was 71.
Albrecht’s passing is a “great loss” to the community, said longtime friend Jay Melugin.
“He was very much to himself, but he had a heart of gold,” Melugin said. “He would help anyone that needed help.”
Justine Wollaston, a good friend of Albrecht’s, called him her “creative partner in crime.”
“You could write a book about Bob,” she said, laughing, when asked to describe Albrecht.
She called him a modern-day Huck Finn who was a free spirit, a man who was brilliant, charming and funny. Albrecht was a man who accepted people for who they were – a sentiment shared by Wollaston and others. Wollaston recalled the fun she had shooting a film called “Lowbrows: An Arthaus Comedy” with Albrecht at Lowbrows that was shown in December at The Garage Door Theater at the Pilot Point Community Opera House.
“It’s going to be very hard to not have Bob in Pilot Point,” Wollaston said.
Like Melugin, Albrecht was a lover of history.
“He was really involved in the history of Pilot Point,” Melugin said. “He was one of the original people who started the Opera House. He was also on the preservation board and helped get Main Street going.”
Delcourt, who owns the Pilot Point Community Opera House, said Albrecht was always interested in the community and always helped when asked.
“We started the Opera House probably 11½ years ago and he was on the board, and he was all for it, helping revive the historic downtown,” Delcourt said. “He already done three years of work by himself on Lowbrows. They loved the fact that there were other people interested in saving the history of downtown.”
Delcourt said whenever a museum in the southwest U.S. needed somebody to help them preserve a building, museum officials would contact Albrecht about it and he would spend time at the building and write a report on preservation.
Gretchen Vasquez, Bob’s daughter, said her dad’s involvement in the community was “just incredible.” She said people have stories about how Albrecht influenced their lives.
“He was a great dad,” said Vasquez, who lives in Weatherford. “He taught us everything we know. He had had grandkids and he taught them everything he could think of.”
A celebration of life will be held soon, she said. Details will be forthcoming.
Cheri, Bob’s wife, mentioned her husband’s educational background, explaining he had bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in industrial arts, from the University of North Texas, but was quick to say he was a man of no pretenses. He had an extensive background in preservation society work, which is what he loved most. Cheri said Bob was a loving father and grandfather and good husband, Cheri said.
“My son calls him the beating heart of the Pilot Point Square, because there wasn’t one before him,” Cheri said, referring to son Alden. “It was just a ghost town.”
Donna Stephens, bartender at Lowbrows, said Albrecht was a “quirky kind of guy” who liked “the different stuff, as you can tell by looking in here,” describing the eclectic mix of items and pictures in the bar. He also liked pranking people, as the door handle to Lowbrows could be hard to handle.
“He was a kind man, but he didn’t talk a lot; he sat back and listened,” Stephens said.
Despite his quiet nature, Albrecht was known as a raconteur. He was at the bar every day and he was a “great man to work for,” Stephens said. The bar is closed until Friday, Stephens said.
As far as a wake for Albrecht at Lowbrows, supporters hoped to do something Friday or Saturday.
“He was just a very talented man, and I would call him a genius,” Stephens said. “He could do just about anything he set his mind to.”
Albrecht’s influence was felt beyond the creative community.
“I know if I was going to do anything on The Square, I needed to talk to Bob about it and make sure he was OK [with it],” Pilot Point City Manager Alan Guard.
Albrecht emitted a cooperative spirit with anything revolving around his business, Guard said.
“He came with some issues about the sidewalk going in and wanted to make sure it was done a certain way, and I was like, yeah, we can do that,” he said. “He kind of looked at me like, ‘Aren’t you going to fight me?’”
Guard communicated that it was his building and the city was happy to work with him.
“I had very positive interactions with him,” Guard said.
Lowbrows is an iconic venue on The Square, with Guard describing the place as Switzerland in the sense that it’ a neutral territory where people can relax and have a good time and not talk business.
“People recognize it,” he said. “It’s unique. I think people come to it because it’s unique and it’s not TGI Fridays or anything like that. I think people are themselves when they go there. I’ve been there when there’s been three people there, and I’ve been there when there’s been 25 people there.”
Charlotte Petermeier, a member of the Opera House board, said the Opera House benefited from being next to Lowbrows, with Liberty Street separating them, on the Southwest side of The Square. Albrecht was also instrumental in getting the dog tags set hanging on The Gazebo on The Square.