I’m very sad to report that Duarte/Monrovia football fixture and my friend “Big Bob” passed away in his sleep early Wednesday evening at age 52 …

The Duarte/Monrovia-area football fan fixture known as “Big Bob” died in his sleep at home early Wednesday evening. He was 52.

Big Bob, whose real name was Henry Clark, was best known in recent years for becoming one of Monrovia’s biggest football fans. He made appearances this past season on this website’s PrepXtra Live show as an outspoken Wildcats fan.

He was also a fan of Duarte, where he went to school and graduated in 1977. Despite being confined to a mechanical wheelchair due to his weight, Big Bob still made it out to Monrovia games and even was seen at passing games as far away as Glendora this past summer.

Big Bob was also a key cog in rekindling the Duarte/Monrovia rivalry and getting the two teams to play each other annually in the “M/D Classic”, which Big Bob had hoped would turn into something like the Turkey Tussle between Muir and PHS. The series has since been canceled.

“I will just really remember him as a guy who tried to work hard and get things put together for the kids, like the M/D Classic,” former Duarte coach Wardell Crutchfield Jr. said. “He would do stuff in the community, like when all the shootings were going on. He was really involved in trying to get that stuff cleaned up.

“He had a lot of opinions, I’ll tell you that. He believed in what he believed. He was a guy who would get on a bus to come to a football game. I would offer to give him a ride and he would say ‘No, it’s alright. But I’ll be there.’ And sure enough, he would be there. He definitely loved the Monrovia-Duarte connection.”

Aram’s take: Words can’t describe how sad I am right now. I got a call from Big Bob on Monday and although I was still asleep and missed the call, I was very happy to see that he called. Big Bob hadn’t been doing well since the football season ended. Anyway, I called him on Tuesday and spoke to him for 15 minutes and he ranged from coherent to incoherent. I asked him several times if he was OK. He said he was. We talked about his favorite topics — Duarte and Monrovia football — and he was excited for the offseason activities that were about to begin. Big Bob was in the hospital a couple months back and I spoke to him at that time. Among all the funny things he ever told me he said “DON’T YOU GO PUTTING IT ON THE BLOG THAT I’M HERE. WAIT ‘TIL I’M DEAD TO DO IT.” I didn’t meet Big Bob until this season, but I’m happy I did. I got to take in the entire second half of Monrovia’s semifinals win over Covina standing next to Big Bob. He couldn’t have been happier. I also got to hang with him a bit before Monrovia’s championship game win over San Gabriel. All you Duarte and Monrovia players out there will never know just how much he loved you guys and loved watching you play. Big Bob was one of the funniest people I ever met. He made me fall over laughing one time when he abruptly asked/told me “You’ve never had a black man’s barbecue, have you?” Big Bob was one of a kind and he will be missed in a BIG way.

Here’s Big Bob’s last appearance on PrepXtra Live from Nov. 29, 2011. It starts just after the 30-minute mark. It was classic Big Bob!