Broken Pipe: Bob Runowski

It is with deep sadness and regret that we must report on the passing of a valuable member of the pipe community. Well-known, respected and beloved by many, tobacco blender Bob Runowski passed last month on or about July 24. We just heard the news this afternoon and do not have many details, but wanted to let the pipe community know about this great loss. From some online research which has not been verified, it seems that Mr. Runowski was only 63 years old. We do not have a cause of death.

Bob Runowski’s name can be found on several popular tobacco blends produced by Cornell & Diehl, for which he was the blender. He worked with C&D for over 15-years and was a good friend of C&D owner Craig Tarlar. When we phoned C&D’s offices, Craig was not available to talk, so we briefly spoke to his son Chris. He told us that Bob was a great friend to the Tarlar family and C&D’s business. He was a wealth of knowledge regarding old time blends with an incredible ability to re-create them. He was especially an expert on Burley tobaccos. Bob suffered for years from wounds received in Vietnam, undergoing many operations, but never complaining. Runowski was a member of the Philadelphia Pipe Club and the Morley Club.

His obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer reads – July 24, 2011. Beloved husband of Catherine "Cass"; devoted father of Robert (Christy) and Andrew (Lauren); also survived by his brother, Bruce (Debbie); nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are invited to his Funeral Mass, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Thursday, 10 A.M. Interment at the convenience of his family. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s name can be made to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church Memorial Fund, 2319 S. 3rd St., Phila. PA 19148.

We wish to express our deepest condolences to Bob Runowski’s family and friends.

7 Responses

  • I just heard the sad news through an email from one of our members, Frank (fhb2532), as it must be rippling throughout the grapevine. Our community has lost a truly great blender; and while we still have the benefit of his genius, the thought of how his passing will impact the future is too sad to contemplate.
    Two of my all time favorites were his creations: Haunted Bookshop and Bayou Morning. I’ll have to have a bowl of each while contemplating his contributions and legacy.
    My condolences to his family and friends. 🙁

  • Bob will be very much missed by a great many people. He was not only a font of knowledge on old tobaccos and a creative experimenter, he shared freely what he knew, and what he learned, and always had time to take a new pipester under his wing. He was a truly good man, and the world is a poorer place without him. Rest well, Morleysson. May your soul be carried home on clouds of fragrant smoke.

  • The loss of Bob Runowski will touch everyone in our online community. When I began blending, Bob willingly offered advice and suggestions, and tested several of my early blends. He was always sharing, be it tobacco or his great knowledge of burley. He was a true giant and gentleman.

  • A real shocker for me… hit me hard…. as I know it will so many others. Such a nice and kind man, God Bless his service to us not only as a tobacco man and blender but his sacrifices in Vietnam as a defender of all our Freedom.

  • I’ve never met the man but have enjoyed his writings and tobacco blends. Truly a unique individual in our world. My condolences.

  • I am also deeply saddened by the news of Bob’s passing. I corresponded with him several times and he sent me experimental blends to try. He had so many wonderful creations and I smoked a bowl of one of my favorites, Morley’s Best, to salute his wonderful life.