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THE METROLINK CRASH

Car Accident Drove Victim to Rail, a Commute His Family Said He Loved

Tragedy: Robert Kube, 59, of Moreno Valley centered his life around his church, wife and daughters. A second victim was not identified.

April 24, 2002|EVAN HALPER and MIKE ANTON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

He boarded the Metrolink train in Riverside each day to avoid a punishing freeway commute.

Robert Kube, 59, fell in love with the train after a bad car accident three years ago. It was peaceful, a 90-minute cruise from his Moreno Valley home to the government office where he worked in Santa Ana. It was time he used to read the Bible and to prepare for a course he taught at his church--on embracing faith.

But Tuesday morning, one of the typically tranquil commutes that Kube enjoyed ended suddenly and violently. The married father of two was one of two who died when a freight train plowed into Metrolink Train 809 in Placentia. Kube died at the scene.

The second victim of the train crash is described by authorities as a 48-year-old man who lived in Riverside County. Police were in the area late Tuesday trying to locate the man's parents and won't release his name until they inform his next of kin.

Kube's life was centered around the Moreno Valley Christian Fellowship and his family: his wife Ann and daughters, Krystle, 17, and Kelly, 21.

That and baseball.

Kube had an obsession with the sport. When he was in his 20s, although he was partially blind in one eye, Kube tried out for a minor-league team in his hometown of Detroit. He didn't make the squad. Instead, he went to work at the Department of Housing and Urban Development as a real-estate specialist helping in the sale of foreclosed homes.

He met his future wife, Ann, when the two were set up for a date. He told her he fell in love because she could talk intelligently about sports. When they moved to Perris a few years later, Kube played ball in amateur leagues.

The couple, married more than 20 years, had kids relatively late in life. When Ann finally got pregnant, Bob was hoping for a boy--someone to play ball with.

But they had girls, and Kube coached Krystle's softball team.

"He taught me everything I knew about playing," she said.

When Kelly decided that dance, not baseball, was her passion, Kube attended her recitals.

"My dad was the coolest guy," she said. "He was funny. He gave everything he had for me." On Friday, her 22nd birthday, her dad was going to take her shopping.

Ann Kube said Tuesday was the first morning in months that she didn't get up to see her husband catch his 7:30 a.m. train.

On Thursday, she plans to go to church in her husband's place. It will be the first meeting of a fellowship group Robert Kube organized for newcomers. Ann Kube said her husband would have wanted her to carry on with his work.

Its name: New Beginnings.

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