Robert Sears Obituary

Robert Cecil Sears
Robert Cecil Sears

May 21, 1928 - January 25, 2019
Born in Aberdeen, Washington
Resided in Rohnert Park, California
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Obituary

Robert Cecil Sears of Rohnert Park passed away at sunset on January 25, 2019. He was 90.

Bob was born on May 21,1928 in Aberdeen, WA to Cecil and Flora (Haxton) Sears. His father lost his auto sales job during the Great Depression, so the family moved to San Francisco in 1935 when his father accepted a position with the IRS. Bob recounted his excitement as a young boy sailing under the partially built Golden Gate Bridge and viewing San Francisco for the first time. At that moment he fell in love with the City. Two years later, his family walked across the newly completed Golden Gate Bridge on Pedestrian Day.

His family settled in the Sunset District where Bob attended Jefferson Elementary. He excelled in school, especially math. At age 11, he contracted polio. Upon returning home from the hospital, he was determined to regain the strength in his right leg. He achieved this goal by riding his bike on Moraga Street and in Golden Gate Park. In 1939-40, he enjoyed visits to the Golden Gate International Exposition at Treasure Island, occasionally solo. During World War II, he assisted his father as an Air Raid Warden making sure that homes in the Sunset complied with blackout drills.

Bob learned to play the clarinet as a freshman at Lowell High School and went on to play in bands and orchestras at Lowell, San Francisco City College and Oregon State College, as well as various summer camps in California.

His work ethic began at an early age. During his school years, he worked at various jobs to earn spending money: delivery assistant to a tailor, newspaper delivery boy, assay lab assistant, phone company assistant and service station attendant.

He graduated from Lowell in January 1946 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He trained in Morro Bay as a Landing Craft Coxswain on LCMs prior to his battalion moving to Port Townsend, WA. Kelp beds and heavy fog made sailing the LCMs difficult, but they added to the adventure. After being discharged from the Army as a Sergeant, he enrolled in San Francisco City College on the G.I. Bill as an engineering student.

In 1948, with the encouragement of a City College band friend, Bob joined the USMC Reserve in order to play in the Treasure Island Band. In August 1950, all Reserve Marines were called to active service in Korea. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Battalion ,11th Marines. As part of an Artillery Regiment, he served as an Artillery Surveyor and Fire Direction Control Man in North and South Korea. He received the Bronze Star with Combat V for his meritorious achievement under brutal conditions at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. He took great pride in serving his country in the Marines as a member of the “Chosin Few.”

Upon discharge from the USMC as a Sergeant, he returned to Oregon State College on the G.I. Bill, earning his B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1953. He accepted an offer by the Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco which led to a 39 year career as a Cost Engineer, estimating the cost to build power plants and refineries in the U.S. and around the world.

Bob met Virgeen Schneeberger on a blind date set up by one of Virgeen's patients while she was an RN at Letterman Hospital. They married five months later on March 16, 1957. In 1959, they purchased their home in Corte Madera. During the years he commuted from Marin to San Francisco, Bob always appreciated the spectacular view of the City each time he crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.

After retirement, Bob and Virgeen enjoyed traveling in the U.S., Canada and Europe, with Hawaii being a favorite destination. They moved to Rohnert Park in 2000 to be closer to their daughter's family. He dusted off his clarinet and joined the Rohnert Park Community Band and the Sonoma State University Wind Ensemble. Music brought great joy to his life and he continued to play his clarinet until age 88. He could not have been more proud when grandson Andy also chose to play the clarinet. Papa Bob never missed Andy's band concerts.

He took pleasure in reading, working in his yard, riding his bike, going to movies, watching MSNBC, attending Santa Rosa Symphony concerts, and most of all, spending time with family. He was a history buff and rarely missed the weekly history class at Brookdale.

Bob cared deeply about his family and always put their needs ahead of his own. They will hold in their hearts his strength, wisdom, support and unconditional love. He is survived by Virgeen, his wife of 61 years, daughter Suzanne Blue, son-in-law Gerry Blue, grandson Andy Blue and brother-in-law Warren (Joyce) Schneeberger. He is predeceased by his parents, sister LaVonne Stern, his poodle Peaches and granddogs Casey and Sophie.

Bob loved dogs and they adored him. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in his memory to Dogwood Animal Rescue Project, 1415 Fulton Rd., Suite 205, Box 432, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. As he wished, there will be no services. You may honor Bob's memory by re-reading a favorite book, treating family to a favorite restaurant, attending a local concert, encouraging a child and raising a glass of Grand Marnier to his memory.

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Services

Funeral Home
Daniels Chapel of the Roses
1225 Sonoma Avenue
Santa Rosa , CA US 95405

Charities

Dogwood Animal Rescue Project
1415 Fulton Rd., Suite 205, Box 432,
Santa Rosa, CA US 95403