The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada will honor the memory of its building’s namesake Robert (Bob) Forbuss, on the anniversary of his birthday, January 31, 2023.
Bob Forbuss was a gay man who made it possible for the Center to move into its large, renovated building at 401 S. Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas. It is known as the Forbuss Building because of his work.
The Robert L. Forbuss Building at The Center opened on April 5, 2013. Bob helped The Center select the building, plan its renovation, and raise money for the work. The renovation groundbreaking was in 2012, five days before Bob died of ALS at age 64 after a two-year illness.
The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada building bears his name. “Bob loved architecture, theater, and the arts & education, food and had a strong desire to make Las Vegas a better place to live,” says John Waldron, Ed.D, Chief Executive Officer of The Center. “We honor his passions and achievements as we celebrate ten years working in the building that bears his name, and as we celebrate 30 years of The Center’s service to the community.”
Please consider making a contribution in honor of the man who made the Robert Forbuss Building possible and to those who continue to welcome people into it online at Donate to The Center.
About Robert (Bob) Lee Forbuss
Bob was active in AIDS and LGBTQ+ causes in his career as a business executive, government official, and philanthropist. He also was active in youth and cultural charities, including visiting and helping teach students at the newly opened Robert Forbuss Elementary School near the Rhodes Ranch neighborhood.
Bob was born on January 31, 1948, in Las Vegas to parents who worked in the casino and hospitality industry. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and he was raised by his mother and her mother in a small house in the Huntridge neighborhood, within less than a mile of where the Center is located now. During this time, his mother’s family opened a dry-cleaning business within walking distance of their home; and Bob did attend the local Catholic schools, including Bishop Gorman High School. He worked in casinos and the hospitality business during the summers.
Bob obtained a political science degree, at age 22, from California State College, Long Beach, but came back to Las Vegas to work as an EMT technician for an ambulance company, and teach history, government, and debate at Bishop Gorman High School. He was promoted at the ambulance company and became an executive. He ran for and was elected to the Clark County School Board and served there for 8 years. He was named Chairman of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and was a founding board member of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Bob was not publicly gay until relatively late in life. He did publicly support local Las Vegas AIDS organizations, including Aid for AIDS and Golden Rainbow. His last political campaign was for a position as a Regent for the University of Nevada. Bob lost that election to a candidate who campaigned based on opposition to gay marriage. Newspapers reported that Bob’s “only regret in the campaign is that [his opponent’s] ads were negative toward the end. ‘He’s young. He’ll learn,’ Forbuss said.” Two months after Bob’s death, his life was celebrated at The Smith Center in Las Vegas, including speeches by Dr. Jerry Cade, US Senator Harry Reid, Congresswoman Shelly Berkley, former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, former US Senator Richard Bryan; and a performance by a student choir from Forbuss Elementary School.