Our wonderful father, Robert Reinecke, passed peacefully at his home in Freeland, WA, on September 20, 2023, at the age of 96. The cause of his death was congestive heart failure. Robert was a remarkable man who lived life with a smile on his face, a positive outlook, and a deep commitment to family and friends.
Bob was born in Sharon, PA, on October 27th, 1926, to Herman Henry Reinecke and Matilda “Anne” Christensen Reinecke. Herman was an engineer/inventor and Anne was a bookkeeper until she married. In 1938, the family moved to Los Angeles, CA, seeking new opportunity and sunny weather.
After completing middle school, Bob attended high school at Black Foxe Military Academy in Los Angeles, graduating in 1945, then headed to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. He completed his electrical engineering degree at UCLA in February, 1951. He was forever a proud UCLA Bruin (as well as a Stanford Cardinal fan).
A notable event in Bob’s life occurred in 1948, when he attended a progressive dinner in Pasadena with a college friend. The first stop, the soup course, was at the home of Daniel and Marguerite Miller, hosted by their daughter Janet, a recent UCLA grad. Bob loved telling the story about how much he enjoyed the split-pea soup that night, but was even more taken with the blue-eyed Janet. Their relationship blossomed over the next two years, as they enjoyed big-band dances, UCLA games, the Hollywood Bowl, the Rose Parade and beach outings. Jan and Bob were married February 18th, 1951, in Pasadena, CA.
After graduating from UCLA, Bob considered job offers from several industrial manufacturing companies, and settled on a position with Westinghouse Electric Corporation. The newlyweds headed to Pittsburgh, PA, for the one-year Westinghouse Graduate Student Course, and thus began Bob’s 38-year career in industrial power equipment engineering and sales.
When Bob and Jan returned to California in 1952, they settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, where their three children, Lynn, Daniel, and Donna were born. In 1961 they moved to Moraga, CA, where they raised their family in a close-knit neighborhood on Hetfield Place, forming friendships that lasted a lifetime. During those years, Bob and his family enjoyed many activities, including sailing, model trains, and wonderful vacations at coastal beaches and mountain lakes.
Bob thrived in his work and enjoyed it immensely, moving from inside sales in Emeryville, CA, to outside regional sales, and then district manager. Throughout his successful career, Bob and Jan built friendships with colleagues and clients that endured for decades.
After Bob retired in 1989, he and Jan packed up and moved to another wonderful community – Lake Wildwood, near Grass Valley, CA. Their retirement years were spent entertaining, volunteering, hosting their family for summer vacations and holidays, plus lots of travel throughout the US and abroad. The travel planning was nearly as much fun as the travel itself, and they loved sharing tales of their adventures with friends. Bob also pursued his hobbies of golf, sailing, gardening, dabbling in the stock market, reading mysteries, attending
musical theater with Jan, fixing anything that needed fixing, and keeping up with his grandchildren, Kirstie and Wes.
After 25 happy years in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Bob and Jan said farewell to their many dear friends, and moved to Freeland, WA, to be closer to daughter Donna. Once again, they settled into a new neighborhood with enthusiasm, forming friendships, joining community groups, and traveling about the region.
Throughout his life, Bob loved all things electrical, especially large engines, motors, generators, and turbines, as well as trains, ships and airplanes. He was an early adopter of computer technology. The introduction of Macintosh computers in 1984 caught his interest and he became an “Apple guy” with gusto, helping to form the Apple Core Computer Club in Lake Wildwood for fellow Mac users. He loved assisting others as they acquired computers and was keenly interested in any new technology that came along. After moving to Whidbey, he enjoyed attending the MAGIC computer club meetings.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Bob was one of the friendliest and most positive people you could ever know. He was a wonderful host, a masterful BBQ-er, enjoyed the cocktail hour, a good meal with friends, and especially time with his family. His frequent expressions, “How good can it get?” or “That was the best meal I ever had!” or “What a marvelous time!” were not hyperbole – he truly enjoyed people and the pleasures of each day. He made a difference in so many lives by being exactly who he was, “just Bob.” He will be missed by all who loved him and will be remembered forever.
Bob is preceded in death by Jan, his beloved wife of nearly 70 years. He is survived by daughters Lynn Reinecke and Donna Christensen of Langley, WA; son and daughter-in-law Dan and Lu Ann Reinecke; granddaughter Kirsten Reinecke (Sean); great-grandson Arthur; grandson Weston Christensen (Heather); nieces Mary Burmester (Neil) and Anahita King; nephew David Crater (Nancy); many great-nieces and great-nephews. He is also preceded in death by his niece, Judi Crater McCalla.
Our family wishes to thank the many caregivers and medical professionals who supported Bob over the past several years. We are especially grateful for the excellent care and support we received from Hospice of the Northwest. Donations in Bob’s memory may be made to Hospice of the Northwest, www.hospicenw.org, MAGIC (Macintosh Appreciation Group of Island County), www.whidbey.com/magicmug, or a charitable organization of your choice.