Obituary: Daniel Robert “Rob” DeChaine III
Longtime Claremonter, Village fixture, teacher, VW enthusiast
Daniel Robert “Rob” DeChaine III died peacefully on August 9, surrounded by family and friends, due to complications from kidney cancer.
He fought the disease for more than 18 years with courage and strength, his family shared. He said he hated the term “battle” in relation to cancer because he did not feel as though either side won, and there were no agreed upon terms of engagement.
Mr. DeChaine was born October 13, 1961 and had lived in Claremont since 1968. He loved living in “the City of Trees and PhDs.” He worked for many years in the Village, starting out at 15 as a dishwasher at Pepita’s Restaurant, then becoming a server at The Danson before moving on to manage Rhino Records, and then assisting with the opening of Video Paradiso.
He worked full time while going to school, and eventually earned his PhD in cultural studies from Claremont Graduate University in 2001.
He found his true career passion when he began teaching. He taught at Mt. San Antonio College, Chaffey Community College, Pasadena City College and eventually landed at his master’s degree alma mater, California State University, Los Angeles. He loved that campus, his students and colleagues. He truly believed in education and the benefits it brought to those who endeavored to learn, his family shared, and that all people could learn, all people deserved to learn and everyone should be given a chance. His enthusiasm for his field showed in his interactions with his students, as he mentored and helped anyone who asked. He took his research and scholarly writing very seriously, but also thoroughly enjoyed the work.
Over the years, his enduring fondness for Volkswagen Beetles drove him to help establish a local chapter of a Vintage Volkswagen Club that served the inland valley. For a brief time, he sold his only vintage Volkswagen for a vintage Porsche, but soon returned to his first true car love of the Beetle. He was a member of the VW Club again and he was thrilled.
Mr. DeChaine is survived by his father, Daniel DeChaine; sister, Laura Van Dran; his partner of more than 37 years, Cindy DeChaine; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles.
There will be a casual celebration of his life from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, August 19 at the Chaffey Community Art Museum, 217 S. Lemon Ave., Ontario, CA 91761.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. DeChaine’s name to City of Hope, Kidney Cancer Research Program at cityofhope.org/giving, or by mail to 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, attn: Dr. S. Pal or the Kure It Foundation.