Remembering Circle of Chiefs recipient Robert (Bob) Lindholm

By Joel Vance

OWAA’s Circle of Chiefs lost a member April 16, with the death of Robert (Bob) Lindholm, 82, of Lindsborg Kansas. He had retired to the small Kansas town after his retirement in 1993 as a Missouri assistant attorney general under two respected attorneys general— John Danforth, who became a United States Senator, and Jay Nixon, who became Missouri’s governor.

Bob was the point man in environmental litigation for both of his bosses, one a Republican, one a Democrat. He had been a member of the Circle of Chiefs since 2007, and he made his mark in outdoor communication through his photographic lens, favoring the landscape photography, large-scale and black-and-white in the manner of his hero, Ansel Adams.

Lindholm collaborated on a book celebrating the travels of pioneer artist Karl Bodmer which was issued by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2013. He also was the photographer for William Least Heat Moon’s book, River Horse, a trip across the waterways of the United States in a small boat, which today is housed in its own building at the Boone County Historical Society in Columbia.

The Bodmer book was honored by the national Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and Lindholm also was honored by the Sierra Club with its annual Ansel Adams award which “honors superlative photography that has been used to further conservation causes.”

Perhaps his most notable achievement for Missouri, was his legal work toward the establishment of the 200 mile long MKT trail, known as the Katy, the nation’s longest rails-to-trails conversion, which has become a heavily used hiking and biking trail extending from near St. Louis to western Missouri. It extends past a number of small towns which have become revitalized thanks to tourism from bikers and hikers on the trail. Bob also was a counsel for the Department of Natural Resources and the state’s Clean Water Commission where he wrote legislation toward the protection of the state’s water resources (his license plate was SAV H2O).

Bob was a native of St. Louis and has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Webster Groves high school. He earned a degree in radio and television production from the University of Missouri where he also received a law degree in 1964—and where he also was named a distinguished alumnus. He was a Marine Corps veteran and there was an honorary military service in Kansas City as part of his funeral ceremony.

An exhibit of his photos traveled to 24 National Park sites and he produced duplicate exhibits for President Jimmy Carter and for the United State’s Congress. He illustrated the 1985 Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute report, and was active in the Nature Conservancy which sponsored a St. Louis exhibit of his photography in 1991.

Lindholm told the Missouri Conservationist magazine that outdoor photography has two aims, “One is pointing up the beauty of things we need to save, and the second is pointing out the problems we’ve created.” In the manner of Ansel Adams, he did his own darkroom work and was known to spend a day perfecting a single print. He wrote in the March, 1988, issue of Photographic magazine, “As photographers we are privileged to be able to capture some of the beauty of this earth. In passing it along to others we will have given a bit to this world from which we take so much.”

Bob is survived by his wife, Joyce, daughters, Christina Lisa, and Kristin and 10 grandchildren.  The family asked that any donations in his honor be made to the Katy Trail State Park or The Nature Conservancy.

Scroll to Top