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Late Taco Bob’s owner remembered for his smile

Customers say ‘it’s a sad day in Kalamazoo’ after beloved owner of Taco Bob’s died on Sunday
Kalamazoo mourning loss of beloved owner of Taco Bob's. He died on Sunday.
Posted at 7:55 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 19:55:41-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Taco Bob was always chipper with a big smile on his face, said restaurant manager Pintoo Hoffman.

"The guy was a hoot," he said during an interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday.

His name was actually Bob Ketteman and he owned the Taco Bob’s restaurant chain. He was often seen working behind the counter of the downtown location, greeting every customer who walked through the door.

“The smiling face and always having a kind word for us I think is what we’re going to miss most,” said customer John Heasley who eats there at least once a week. “Yeah, it’s kind of sad day in Kalamazoo.”

Sunday night, Ketteman passed away while on vacation in Florida, Hoffman said.

Hoffman, who worked with him for seven years, remembers getting the phone call from Ketteman’s niece about his passing.

“I was so shocked. I was like ‘maybe that’s a different Bob. There’s no way it could be Bob Ketteman,’" Hoffman remembered saying. “And, it was Bob Ketteman. It was just heartbreaking.”

Customers felt his loss too. Many expressed their condolences while ordering their food. One woman stopped by the restaurant for a few minutes just to give Hoffman a sympathy card.

“We do love Taco Bob’s,” said Terry Morrow who was eating tacos with his colleagues from the Bronson Health Foundation. “We come over here regularly and after the sad news we heard from the weekend, we decided Taco Tuesday would be the right way to honor Taco Bob.”

Morrow, like Heasley, said he’ll miss Ketteman’s smile, jokes, his ‘hellos’ as well as his ‘goodbyes.’

“He leaves behind delicious funny tacos,” Hoffman said. “The attitude of Taco Bob’s just staying happy, making sure people are having a great time, smiling, just loving life. You can’t be better than that.”