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Robert S. Ghio, 65, Columbia, Mo., passed away Saturday, April 3, 2010, in his workshop/studio at his home.
Robert was born in New York to Robert Ghio and Sue Wright Ghio, where his father was stationed at the time. They moved back to Columbia where Rob grew up and spent his youth riding motorcycles over the roads of Boone County. He was known by many as the "Original Frog." Rob graduated from Hickman High School in 1962, and attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City. On December 12, 1964, he married Janet Solter. They lived in Kansas City before moving back to Columbia where Rob worked for Jim Simmons in the coin laundry business which he later bought. He was also part-owner of a construction company that built Green Meadows Plaza. He opened Andy's Corner restaurant which he later sold to his sister Missie and her husband Mick. It became known as Murry's. Rob and Janet were blessed with two children, Jennifer and Eric. On October 9, 1993, Rob married Betty Forbes Nichols and accepted her two children, Christi and Clif into his life. Rob enjoyed life to the fullest, creating the unexpected and always looking for an adventure. In September of 1988, Rob and long time friend, Cokie Chapman, launched a 19-foot sloop rig, the Desiderata, into the Missouri River at Rocheport and set sail for Florida. They traveled down the Missouri River to the Mississippi, eventually reaching the Gulf in November. They spent their nights on sand bars or in the very small cabin on the boat and during the day they enjoyed the beauty of the rivers. Reaching Biloxi, Mississippi, the waves were more than Rob could handle, getting sea sick, he ended his part of the trip with Cokie trying to make it the rest of the way, however eventually the water got too rough for such a small boat and he too had to stop short of his destination. It was the trip of a lifetime for two friends and they have great memories of a time spent on the river. Rob enjoyed the outdoors. He loved camping and floating the rivers in Missouri. The Gasconade, with all of its beauty and slow moving water was his favorite. Rob and Betty joined The Missouri Offhand Muzzle Loaders Association and spent many weekends between April and October at rendezvous camping in their teepee or one-pole. They made many friends over the years at these events and these friends became family. Rob was a great artist, carving emu eggs and eventually discovering gourd art. Being Rob, he joined the two mediums and created beautiful art. Later he created stained glass pieces and eventually incorporated the stained glass into his gourds. Rob belonged to the Missouri Gourd Society and again he made many friends who became family. He attended art shows and gourd festivals throughout the United States and won many awards. Rob was known as the "Great Hugger". He hugged everyone and taught people how to hug. Rob collected friends everywhere he went and there will be a big void in their life without him, but they will all be better for having known him. His friends will have many stories to tell for years to come. Over the last three years on Friday evenings you could find Rob and Betty sitting on the patio at Summit Lake Winery in Hartsburg where again he made many friends. Rob is survived by his wife, Betty of the home; one daughter, Jennifer Shinkle and husband Jeff of Jefferson City; one son, Eric Ghio and wife Alicia of Eugene, Oregon; one stepdaughter, Christi Duran and husband Ron of Centralia and stepson, Clif Nichols and wife Dawn of Columbia. As well as his former wife Janet Ghio of Columbia; and 12 grandchildren who he dearly loved, Celia, Audrey and Jack of Jefferson City, Kellan, Kyle, Jackie and Abigail of Oregon, Aleah of Arizona, Dustin and C.J. of Centralia, Josh and Lawson of Columbia; his sister, Missie McReynolds and her three children and their families in North Carolina. He also leaves behind his beloved dog Ginger. Rob was preceded in death by his parents in November of 1999. There will be a celebration of Rob's life at Summit - Lake Winery in Hartsburg on Thursday, April 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. If Rob touched your life in some way, please come and share with his family and friends. Memorial contributions can be made to Columbia Second Chance, P.O. Box 10186, Columbia, MO 65205.