So went a farewell from the Kent Police community to one of its own Saturday, in the sunny confines of the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Kent.
Several hundred of the late officer Robin McCuistion’s friends and colleagues came to pay their respects to the man who had a been a husband, dad, police officer, business owner and all-around giving guy.
“We come here to celebrate Rob’s life,” said Pastor Dan Behrens. “Even more importantly, we come here to celebrate the life that Rob was part of.”
McCuistion, 53, left that life in the most unexpected of ways: driving home on Kersey Way Southeast in Auburn in the early hours of Feb. 24, his car left the roadway, went down an embankment and struck a tree. He died at the scene. Given the icy conditions that night, it’s thought the weather may have been a factor in the accident, although investigators are still piecing together what happened.
On paper, McCuistion, was a lot of things: a 13-year department veteran who’d transitioned to police work after a career in construction; a field-training officer and a regular on Kent’s street patrols, the owner of a successful slot-car racing business and a devoted family man.
Life has a lot more dimensions than paper, though – and sitting through Saturday’s service, it was clear that McCuistion had many facets. He was known as a scuba diver, a pilot, a bonsai gardener, carpenter, sponsored jet-ski racer and “eBay extraordinaire.” His life also revolved around his wife of 30 years, Diane, and their three children: Robbie, Lauren and Ian.
“Everything Rob did, he did in a big way,” Behrens told the audience.
Police Chief Ken Thomas, one of the speakers, spoke to McCuistion’s love of online entrepreneurship.
Thomas, not terribly acquainted with the workings of Craigslist, asked McCuistion for his help in getting something posted. McCuistion, Thomas said, came over with a camera and proceeded to thoroughly document the item the chief wanted to sell.
Thomas said he was expecting one photo, but “Rob took about 57 pictures, and got 100 different details, of which I had no idea.”
When he was done, the two men sat talking for a while, as friends.
“It was a very special moment,” Thomas said.
The chief also acknowledged McCuistion’s love of police work – noting McCuistion had transitioned into it age 40, after leaving a lucrative career as a heavy-construction superintendent.
“He really enjoyed what he did as a police officer,” Thomas said.
The chief presented McCuistion’s family with the Chief’s Award for Devoted Service. Thomas explained the honor, in the form of a plaque, was typically presented when an officer had reached 20 years of service with the department.
“In his case, we made an exception,” Thomas said.
The final police crew with whom McCuistion had worked also presented a Kent flag to the McCuistion’s family, sitting in the audience.
Dan Parris, a friend of McCuistion, who also was involved in McCuistion’s slot-race business, also was among those sharing memories of the officer.
“He was a person to be taken seriously,” Parris said.
He was generous too, according to his friend.
“He’d always look for deals, but then he’d turn around and give it to a friend,” Parris said.
McCuistion loved his police career, and Parris said he even had an opportunity to meet some of McCuistion’s colleagues.
“He did introduce me to a few officers – although this was always on the side of the road, with the lights flashing,” Parris said, to laughter in the audience.
There were tears before Parris left the podium.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this – he and McCuistion were supposed to be getting old and running the slot-car business, having laughs, with years ahead of, Parris said.
That’s not to be.
“He’d better be there with a smile, when it’s my time,” Parris said, voice choked. “We love you, Rob.”
A private committal service at Mountain View Cemetery in Lakewood followed Saturday’s memorial service.