November 27, 2021, Davis CA - Native of Brooklyn, New York and California resident for 55 years, Robert (Bob) Richardson passed away peacefully at the age of 83 with wife Vicky and family by his side. A member of the Baldwinsville Chapter of the National Honor Society, Bob's life served as an example of the NHS’s four main qualities: scholarship, leadership, character and service.
Bob’s scholarship showed early promise and excellent achievement at New York’s Baldwinsville Academy and Central School. The year before his 1956 graduation, Bob was awarded a trip by the American Field Service to live with a host family in Mulheim on the Ruhr, Germany. Typical of his gentle humor, Bob wrote about 'Lederhosen' in a letter to his hometown newspaper, "These shorts are wonderful in that they do not have to be washed and they will not tear. Last week I bought a pair, and, according to Mrs. Hohndork, they will last me until my dying day. So far I have absolutely no complaints about them." Bob's grandson still wears that pair wisely purchased in 1955.
Bob attended a small, highly regarded engineering college, Webb Institute of Naval Architecture at Glen Cove, Long Island, New York, where he participated in sailing competitions. The following passage describes Bob’s tenacity and good nature as exhibited during a tight race in November 1958:
“The first “A” race was won by skipper Ken Court of Webb. There was some excitement during the last leg when his crew, Bob Richardson, hiked out a little too far. Suddenly Bob lost his foothold and flipped backwards over the rail. For a moment all that could be seen of him was hands gripping the rail. Less than a minute later he was back onboard, dripping, perched on the windward rail.”
While a student at Webb, Bob spent 10 weeks at the Davidson Laboratory at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. There he worked in a ship model testing tank for experimental hydrofoils. Additionally, Bob worked on his undergraduate thesis involving a theoretical approach to the action of a propeller in driving a vessel. He earned his first degree, Bachelor of Naval Architecture, in 1960.
A lifelong learner, Bob went on to earn a Masters of Engineering from University of California Berkeley and an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University.
Leadership had many forms in Bob’s life. He served as the President of the Junior High School Council and was an avid teammate on the JV and Varsity Football and Wrestling teams. As an Eagle Scout in BSA, Bob earned a Silver Award for distinguished service to his council.
Bob demonstrated kind, patient, dependable leadership as the father of 4 children he raised with wife Vicky. He enjoyed the family adventures throughout the eastern and western states and around the world. He taught all the kids to ski, how to pitch a tent, and where to catch fish for the most delicious camp food.
Bob’s character had many sterling qualities. Over the course of his career, Bob served as a loyal naval architecture employee at Earl & Wright, Morris Guralnick, Ship Research, and Chevron where he specialized in double-hull tanker design among other naval vessels.
Friends and family all love memories of Bob’s gentle personality, reassuring smiles and musical endeavors. Bob began performing violin recitals at a young age and continued performing through his high school years in string trios and orchestras at his high school and All-County Orchestra. Throughout his life, Bob encouraged the music pursuits of others even as he continued his instrument mastery by adding Spanish classical guitar, piano, harmonica and ukulele. During his retirement Bob performed with the Paradise Symphony Orchestra and the Rossmoor Big Band in Walnut Creek, CA.
Those who knew Bob know he served with a smile. Whether as a young Lieutenant in the US Coast Guard in Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia, or as a beloved husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, and great grandfather. Bob served others faithfully and often with a song or poem. Memories of Bob are ripe with stories of how he served as a mentor, teammate, teacher, brother, and friend; his presence provided an even keel and a steady hand which will be missed.
Special thanks to Hospice of Yolo County and Davis Pistachio House of Wellcare for the time and attention given to Bob during his final months of life.
Bob enjoyed conversing about his extended family, diverse musical endeavors and favorite hikes in and around Muir Woods. His example of scholarship, leadership, character and service continue in the lives of not only Bob’s four children but also his 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He will be missed.