The WildFyre Society acknowledges with great sorrow the death of “Naked Bob” Firman in a tragic accident on the morning of Saturday, February 15, 2003, one day before he would have turned 52. Bob was working on improvements to the backyard of his beloved house in Plantation, Florida (near Fort Lauderdale) when a structure collapsed, and falling debris caused a fatal injury.
Bob was a key member of the WildFyre Society, initiating and hosting many events and serving the club as photographer, newsletter editor, and adviser to the board. We will never forget his tremendous hospitality and the many nude pool parties that he held for us at his home, the naked square dance events that he organized at the Round Up Circle C in Hollywood, Florida, the clothing-optional happy hours that he arranged at Boots Bar in Fort Lauderdale, and the palatial, multi-room tent that he graciously shared with club members on our trips to Sawmill Camping Resort in Dade City, Florida.
We had the chance to see Bob's smiling face just days before at the final WildFyre event that he attended, our nude skating party at Gold Coast Roller Rink in Fort Lauderdale. He said that this was still his favorite of all the WildFyre Society's varied activities, and we are consoled in a small way by having been able to share those precious hours with him in his element.
Bob was one of the best boosters and most ardent members of the WildFyre Society, and his loss affects us deeply. Bob was also an original member of Gay Naturists International (GNI). He attended all but one of GNI's annual nude Gatherings, starting in the mid-1980s, and, employing his infectious enthusiasm and dogged persistence, recruited many new people to join GNI and participate in its events.
Bob was a renaissance man with an astonishing breadth of talents and interests. He was a former competitive ice skater, a choral singer and versatile musician with mastery of several wind instruments, an avid bowler, a consummate gag-drag artist, a landscape and lighting designer who went all-out each holiday season with elaborate indoor and outdoor decorations, a specialist in publicity and communications as a spokesperson and publications editor for the Internal Revenue Service as well as for GNI and, as mentioned before, the WildFyre Society, and the list goes on.
Bob shared his talents in service to the community. He sang with the South Florida Gay Men's Chorus and the Lambda Chorale, and played lead saxophone for the Flamingo Freedom Band of South Florida. He was especially proud of his contribution to the development of an outreach program in Broward County (Greater Fort Lauderdale) to increase awareness among low-income families and individuals of their eligibility for financial assistance through the federal earned income tax credit.
We remember fondly Bob's whimsical sense of humor—the miniature boat parade in his pool during each annual Winterfest Boat Parade weekend and the outlandish floats that he prepared for it (the last one was a scene with Santa's sleigh crashed into an igloo and plastic reindeer scattered in the snow!), “pants-ing” people in clothing-optional settings if they took too long to strip, the hilarious drag act in which he pulled an impossible number of objects out of his dress as they were mentioned in an accompanying song, his Susan Lucci-like status as the perennial Miss GNI Lace contestant (sometimes as “Sleazy Sally”) and the sporting way that he parodied himself, and again, the list goes on.
A memorial service was held on Thursday, February 27, 2003 in Oakland Park, Florida, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. The chapel overflowed with Bob's friends and co-workers, who expressed their condolences personally to Bob's parents and brothers, and his beloved band provided music. Contributions in his memory were suggested to the Flamingo Freedom Band, GNI, or South Florida Free Beaches