Coeur d'Alene – Robert Virgil Hough, 89, died peacefully Saturday March 12, 2016 at the Garden at Orchard Ridge Assisted Living Center. He was fondly known as "Bubblehead" Bob and "the Voice of North Idaho" by his many radio listeners. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Colleen "Cokie" Hough and their five children, Terry Hough, Bruce Hough, John Hough, Scott Hough, and Wendy Hough Eaton (a sixth child, Julie Ann Hough died at birth), and 24 Grandchildren, and 61 Great Grandchildren.
He was born February 16, 1927 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to his mother Maude Pearl "Peggy" Revert and father Virgil Hough. They moved to Hollywood, California during his childhood where his parents soon after divorced. One of his early memories was at six years old when his mother pinned a note to his shirt that said, "This is Bobbie" and put him on a Greyhound bus to Colorado to work on his Grandfather's farm. He said it gave him a taste of being a hard luck dirt farmer and will always remain in his heart as a great experience.
He sold newspapers from the time he was seven years old and would stand outside the Paramount Studios as one of his "corners". He once sold a paper to Charlie Chaplin! He knew Spanky of Spanky and our gang and took tap dance lessons to break into show business. He never did but he did get a chance to dance with Judy Garland once in Poinsettia Park during a break in the shooting of The Wizard of Oz.
He enjoyed sports and all physical activities and joined his friends at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica where he learned to walk on his hands (an activity he continued into his sixties! On a bet, he walked on his hands from his home at 707 North 4th Street to the Spudnut on the corner of 4th and Roosevelt in Coeur d'Alene). As a boy, he joined the Methodist Church just off Highland in Hollywood because they had a basketball court. That was the extent of his early religious upbringing.
World War II came and as a high school student he worked at Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, California as a riveter on the Boeing Wing jig.
At age sixteen he decided to enlist in the Navy and joined his buddies in getting tattoos to commemorate their devotion to their country. Unfortunately he was denied acceptance into the Navy because he was colorblind. At age 18 he joined the Army and went to Texas to prepare for the invasion of Japan, but fortunately the war ended. Instead he re-upped and went to the Philippines and New Guinea in the Infantry and American registration program where he recovered the remains of servicemen for return to their homes for proper burial.
In 1948 he went to radio school at the Don Martin School of Broadcasting in Hollywood, California on the GI Bill. That wasn't his first choice for a career however. His first choice was to play professional baseball. He signed a contract in early 1950 and planned to play in Hannibal, Missouri, for the Pittsburgh farm team, but the league went bankrupt. A week later he got a call from Provo, Utah to immediately begin working as a radio announcer. He jumped on a Greyhound bus and arrived at a place he knew nothing of, and began a forty year career in broadcasting and serving the community.
The very night he arrived in Provo, he met his future bride Colleen Wood where she was waiting tables at the China City Cafe. She greeted him with "Oh, don't I know you?" He remembers acting like a "lunkhead" saying "I don't think so!" The next night he came back and asked her to go to a "flick" with him. She wasn't accustomed to the Hollywood term flick and had to ask him what he meant! Three months later on August 12, 1950 they were married in the same house on 707 North 4th Street in Coeur d'Alene that my mother lived in from the time she was 16 years old. (They eventually moved into that same house where they lived for 59 years until January of this year).
It was during his first year of marriage that he became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He claims his two greatest decisions in life were first marrying his wife and second joining the Church.
When he came to Coeur d'Alene to be married he felt like this was the most beautiful place in the world, driving the old Highway 10 overlooking the lake was a thrill he never took for granted. His first job in North Idaho was a KVNI on Blackwell Island, but it wasn't long until he graduated to the larger adjacent market of Spokane, Washington.
He began as the Midnight to 6 am disc jockey on KNEW (channel 79) and began his career as a Rock n' Roll DJ. He named his show the Sleep Rocker's Club and had over 9000 members who signed up to be in the club. He was at the station with three other "Bobs" so each one was given a nickname to distinguish between them. He became known as "Bubblehead" Bob, a nickname that would follow him throughout his life. He introduced the Inland Northwest and his kids to Rock n Roll. It was during this time that he welcomed some of the biggest acts in Rock n Roll to Spokane, such as Elvis Presley, Chubby Checker, Fats Domino, Ricky Valens, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beach Boys and many others. He was the go to DJ for "record hops" from Ritzville to Wenatchee to Bonners Ferry and Wallace and everywhere in between. He continued to work in radio for many years with a slight detour in television on the KREM TV daytime television show Telescope. He helped put on the air a new country western station that would become KSPO, and introduced Talk Radio to the FM dial on KZUN.
During his career in Spokane he was the announcer for the Spokane Indians during their Triple A Los Angeles Dodgers farm team days. He finally got to play "professional" baseball in many celebrity ball games that included such notables as Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snyder, Bob Feller, Satchel Page, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, among others. He was the PA announcer at the Deer Park Drag Strip and the many Diamond Cup Hydroplane races on Coeur d'Alene Lake.
He eventually ended his commute to Spokane and returned to KVNI Radio where he became known as the "Voice of North Idaho". He had a following that identified themselves as the "Bunny Slipper Mommas" and was the authority and source of information on anything and everything in the community. If you were a politician he was one of your very first stops. Former four term Governor Cecil D. Andrus stated, "His influence was wide and unarguable, and on any given issue, we and the citizens of his area always wanted to know 'What does Bob Hough think?' He represents the best in broadcast journalism, and I can't think of anyone else in the state who approaches him in stature and performance".
He was always willing to help any community organization, school, or club. He generously not only gave airtime to their causes but gave his time as MC, host, and celebrity guest at numerous events over the years. He was recognized by many of these organizations for his years of devotion and service in the community. He received an honorary degree from North Idaho College for his contributions to the community and to the school and for his distinguished career.
He was a creative story teller and entertained his children (both on the radio and at bedside) with stories of the Adventures of the Hough Brothers and Wendy. The stories always began in a tree house high above the African veldt. He taught his children to work and equally important how to be together whether working or playing. He was famous for his garden and orchard and shared the "fruits" his labors with neighbors and friends.
He enjoyed learning to hunt and fish with his father in law Oscar Paisley. Fishing would become a passion of his for his entire life. He taught many a friend and family member, including his grandchildren how to fish. As a family if it was winter, he took them snow skiing to Schweitzer basin where he did remote radio broadcasts as well; if it was summer, they went waterskiing on Hayden and Coeur d'Alene Lake. In the mid-sixties he took a leap of faith and bought a property on Blue Creek Bay on Coeur d'Alene Lake which has become a four generation gathering place for the family.
After his retirement, he and his wife Colleen dedicated time to serving their church. They spent 18 months on a mission for their church in Salt Lake City, UT where they assisted others in finding ancestors and teaching others about genealogy research. Throughout his life he served in many roles in his church from Scoutmaster, to congregational leadership assignments, to High Councilor, etc. But his favorite calling in the church was to teach Sunday School. He loved to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He always felt that as the teacher he learned the most.
His favorite assignment was when he and his wife served in the Seattle Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He counts it as a highlight of his life, spending a week a month for many years in Seattle and later at the Spokane Temple assisting others and serving in that sacred building.
It can truly be said that he served his fellowman well and endured to the end. His relationship with his wife only grew sweeter and more loving as they reached their later years. He was his wife's "Bobby" who she loved so sweetly and dearly. He cherished his wife and family. His will be a sweet reunion in heaven as he meets his ancestors and family members. Though his family is grieved to be separated from him, they also have joy in knowing they will see him again.
In lieu of Flowers, the family would appreciate your support of the North Idaho College, Robert and Colleen Hough Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship will go to a student with financial need with an interest in pursuing broadcasting or broadcast journalism. Donations are accepted at www.nic.edu/give Make sure to type in the Foundation's name, i.e., Robert and Colleen Hough Scholarship Fund or mail North Idaho College Foundation, Robert and Colleen Hough Scholarship Fund, 1000 West Garden Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814
A viewing/visitation is planned for Friday, March 18, 2016 from 5 PM to 8 PM at Yates Funeral Home - Coeur d' Alene Chapel, 744 N. 4th St., Coeur d' Alene. The funeral service will be Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 2 PM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2801 N. 4th St., Coeur d' Alene.