Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Slain bouncer
remembered as
generous man

A benefit is scheduled tonight
in memory of Robert Cullen

By Rosemarie Bernardo

A nightclub bouncer who died from injuries suffered while trying to break up a fight was remembered yesterday as someone who always thought of others first.

"No matter how tired he was, he would make sure the staff went home safely," said Richie Aqui, manager of Venus Nite Club, where Robert G. Cullen worked as head of security services.

Cullen, 50, died Saturday at Straub Clinic and Hospital. Police said he was kicked in the chest while trying to break up a fight in front of the nightclub's entrance early Saturday.

Police said Cullen collapsed after being kicked and attempts to revive him were performed before an ambulance arrived. A 21-year-old Mililani man has since been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Cullen's death.

Cullen was a Kailua resident and an alumni of Kaimuki High.

Friends set up a makeshift memorial of flowers and lei in front of the nightclub at 1349 Kapiolani Blvd., where a memorial benefit was scheduled from 5 to 10 p.m. tonight. A $10 donation per person is requested at the entrance. Proceeds will go towards Cullen's family.

"I just don't understand what happened," said Aqui, who was working with Cullen the night of the altercation.

Aqui said the last time he spoke to Cullen was before the club closed early Saturday. Cullen, who liked to smoke a cigar after work, had asked if he could smoke before the club closed.

"That's the last time I got to speak with him," Aqui said. Twenty minutes later, someone said Cullen collapsed, he said.

Cullen, referred to as "Uncle Bobby" by some Venus employees, also was remembered as a helpful, dependable person who often swept up, cleaned tables and carried entertainers' bags.

"You can always count on Bobby," Aqui said. "A lot of people were touched by him."

Cullen also was a full-time employee of TheBus for the past 27 years. Customer representative Linda Mitsunaga said people always were at ease around him.

"He was so kind and generous," she said. "He always made time to say hello."

TheBus Vice President Roger Morton said, "He had a large part to do with the service running correctly everyday."

Cullen also was known for his volunteerism in events such as the March of Dimes' Walk America event.

"Whenever we had a charity event, he was always involved," Morton said.

He added that riders of Cullen's bus often referred to it as "the Bobby Bus."

"The man had a big heart," said chief road supervisor Edward Sniffen, who knew Cullen for almost 30 years. "He'll be missed by everyone here."

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