Obituary: Robert (Bob) Weingartner

Family man, humorist, mentor, historian

Robert (Bob) Weingartner, a longtime resident of Claremont, died peacefully at his home on March 28, surrounded by his children and caregivers.

He was born January 2, 1928, the son of Lillie Linden and Carl Weingartner in Quincey, Massachusetts. He grew up during the Great Depression, falling in love with sandlot baseball, as well as ice skating in the winter. He enjoyed school, where he began developing his leadership skills as president of his eighth grade class. Bob and his younger sister Lois spent their early years in both Braintree, Massachusetts and Hamden, Connecticut.

In 1941 his father was transferred to the New York City Railroad, and they lived in Port Chester, New York, where he attended Port Chester Senior High School from his sophomore through senior years. His first real job was as a “soda jerk.” During high school summers he sold tickets to commuters at Grand Central Station in New York City. His first 17 years were described as “simple,” with loving and nurturing parents; it was mostly a wonderful childhood, despite the Great Depression.

In November 1945, he entered Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He then decided to enlist in the U.S. Army in September 1946, largely so that he could utilize the GI Bill for his remaining years at Yale. He spent 14 months in the Army, primarily in Korea. He returned to college and finished after his father was transferred back to the New Haven Railroad in 1949. He then began his professional career, working as a salesman for General Foods.

Plagued by asthma and hay fever since childhood, he decided to move to Phoenix in 1955. After a few months selling Maxwell House coffee, he was hired by the 3M Company’s Background Music Division, where he worked for 31 years until his retirement in 1987. During his tenure with 3M, he was promoted to supervisor and traveled extensively throughout the Western United States.

Bob’s first wife died suddenly in 1960. He met Nancy in 1962 on a blind date, fell in love, and they married in 1964. He and his 5-year-old son Steve joined Nancy and her three children, Scott, Janet, and Kathryn. “Family was most important to dad,” his family shared.

The family made Claremont their permanent home and he accepted many leadership positions in the community. He served as head usher at Claremont United Church of Christ for 25 years. The couple enjoyed many years participating in CUCC’s “hub-a-wif,” where they served terms as co-presidents and co-coordinators of a monthly program and potluck for married couples. In the late 1980s, he was one of the original members of the newly revived CUCC Friday morning men’s breakfast. He also served on the board of stewardship and finance at CUCC.

He also served as president of the Claremont Republican Club, as well as treasurer and then president of the University Club of Claremont. As president of Pilgrim Place’s Pettersen Museum for five years, he was responsible for (among other things) enlisting volunteers to be at the museum when open. He co-chaired the Galileo Society at Harvey Mudd, as well as serving on the board of the Friends of Oak Park Cemetery.

When he retired, he and his wife enjoyed traveling, both within the U.S. and abroad. Although their favorite places were Hawaii and Switzerland, cruises had also taken them to the Mediterranean, New Zealand, Australia, the Rhine and Danube rivers, and more. Although their daughters live on the East Coast, the couple always made a point of stopping for a few days to visit them. They also enjoyed many visits to Granite Lake near Keene, New Hampshire, where his sister and her family owned a cabin.

“As a ‘people person,’ he loved to engage others in history, science, travel, politics, and anything else from A to Z,” his family shared. “He had many friends of different ages. He was a captivating storyteller. His sharp wit frequently caused peals of laughter. Bob put people at ease; he was kind, generous, loyal, encouraging, and respectful of others. It was because of these qualities that he became a mentor to many others, including some of his children’s friends. His children will remember that he always ended a conversation with ‘I love you.’”

He is survived by his sister, Lois Gay, and her three sons, Randy, Chad, and Bry (wife Elaine and children Janine and Steve, and his wife Amy); son, Steve Weingartner (partner Demara Nuzum); and daughters Kathryn Thompson and Janet Thompson (partner Sharon England).

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday April 12 at Claremont United Church of Christ’s Kingman Chapel, 233 Harrison Ave., Claremont, CA 91711. A reception will follow in the Louise Roberts Room.


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