Robert Aaron Brinkema
May 22, 1978 – May 29, 2021
Robert Aaron “Bobby” Brinkema, beloved son, brother, and uncle, died at his home on May 29, 2021. He had just celebrated his 43rd birthday a week before. Bobby is survived by his parents, John and DeeDee Brinkema, his sister Genie, brother-in-law Evan and nephew and niece Sepi and Bixie. A graduate of the Kilmer Center in Fairfax County, Bobby spent over 20 years in the day program offered by Service Source.
Although Bobby was profoundly intellectually disabled from birth and suffered from frequent seizures, he was able to enjoy many small pleasures: he loved food, especially bread and strawberries; playing with books and shoes; laughing at the antics of cats and young children; and most of all, classical music of all kinds- from early music to opera. During the COVID isolation at home, Bobby spent hours watching and listening to operas on TV and listening to CDs.
When 5-year-old Sepi was told that his Uncle Bobby had died, he responded, “He did not get to be 43 for very long. It’s not fair; he should have had a lot more birthdays.”When he asked where Bobby was, his mother told him that when people die, it is a kind of going away, that they float up to the sky. So Sepi replied that Uncle Bobby is in the air over Virginia, but since air moves, maybe he is also above them where they live in New England.
Bobby’s family wants to thank all the dedicated special education teachers and aides who worked with Bobby and who work every day with so many unique and challenging children; the staff at Service Source who enabled Bobby and other disabled adults to keep active; our wonderful neighbors, colleagues, and friends who have brought kind words and support in this difficult time; the many care providers who helped us keep Bobby at home, especially Grazyna and Bogdan Glinkowski, who were second parents to Bobby; and a special thanks and appreciation to all the great musicians whose artistry brought so much joy to Bobby and brings comfort to us.
After a private burial, a celebration of Bobby’s life will be held in the future. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Service Source Foundation, 10467 White Granite Drive, Oakton, VA 22124 or Early Music America, 801 Vinial Street, Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Robert Aaron Brinkema
June 3, 2021
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Please know you are in my thoughts. Wishing your family all the best.
Di Johnston (TJ Class of ‘98)