December 29, 1951 – January 14, 2013
Robert Walter Macdonald, Bobby to all who knew him, died surrounded by his family after a short bout with cancer. Until the disease manifested last December, Bobby was in robust health and looking forward to enjoying a retirement that he richly deserved, traveling, playing golf, enjoying sports, and enjoying the company of his family and friends. Unfortunately, that was not to be so, as cancer quickly spread throughout his system and took him on Jan. 14, 2013.
Bobby was one of four children, the only boy, born to Allan Graves Macdonald and Ruth Katheryn Macdonald. He was born in Oakland and lived in the Alamo/Danville area until the family moved to the City of Sonoma, which would become his lifetime home. He started out at Prestwood Elementary and graduated from Sonoma High in 1970. He developed a lifelong love of baseball playing for his dad — a coach for Babe Ruth and Little League. He was hugely happy with his San Francisco Giants for bringing home the World Series last year.
He loved sports, playing both football and baseball in high school, and skiing whenever he could get away with his friends and family. He and his great friend John Lynch would go to San Francisco 49er and Giant games when the opportunity presented. His love of golf would play a role in his later work.
Bobby was passionate about music from an early age, beginning with his love of the Beatles and Rolling Stones. In seventh grade, Bobby and local Sonoma boys Frank Maddox, Billy Weyl and John Lynch formed a rock band called The Vandals. Bobby’s love of music continued to inspire and sustain him throughout his life.
Bobby’s taste in learning leaned strongly to the practical, and after high school he went to work at Mare Island Naval Shipyard where he pursued a lifetime of learning his trade and developing advanced skills in sheet metal working and submarine systems, working with exotic metals and materials, to keep Navy ships and boats working. He finished his apprenticeship as a sheet metal mechanic for the Navy in January, 1979, going on to work on heavily classified projects and submarine systems.
Education was always important to Bobby and his record boasts numerous certificates of classes taken and educational achievements. He attended classes at U.C. Berkeley in safety and health.
But the happiest turn in his life was when he met Katie Wright two weeks after seeing her on an episode of Real People in 1979. The attraction was immediate and mutual and after a brief courtship, they married on June 6, 1981, a beautiful summer day in Sonoma, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Their only daughter, Nicolette, was born a year later, and was always the center of his universe.
Bobby, Katie and sometimes Nicollette travelled, going on numerous trips to Florida, Nevada, Washington, D.C., Mexico, Hawaii, Paris, and on their 30th Anniversary took an extended trip to Ireland where he really did kiss the Blarney Stone.
After Mare Island closed, Bobby went to work for the Presidio Trust in July of 1999, as the premier Army base in California was being converted to a national park. His plummiest of all jobs involved working at the Presidio Golf Course at least part of the time, allowing him access to one of the finest courses in California, but his work for the PT involved a lot more than the golf course. He became a project and construction manager, Director of Design and Construction with extensive management and oversight of many of the Presidio Trust projects that involved renovation and historical preservation. Recent projects included the Doyle Dr. project and the DisneyMuseum.
Bobby is survived by his wife Katie, daughter Nicolette, his sisters Mary M. Wharton of Bellevue, Wash., Barbara Macdonald Gianotti of Livermore, Dede Macdonald Singleton of Red Bluff, Calif., and numerous nieces and nephews.
Plans are underway for a spring Memorial Service to be held in Sonoma Valley. Memorial donations in Bobby’s memory may be made to FISH, Pets Lifeline, the Humane Society or the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Bobby is now free and golfing in the light with his dog Leroy and Papa.
Robert Walter Macdonald
December 29, 1951 – January 14, 2013