ForeverMissed
On October 29th, after a year long battle with pancreatic cancer, Robert Cabrera passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 72. He was someone who had a boundless energy for his work, travel, skiing and adventure and a deep attachment to friends and family. We will miss him terribly.

Robert was born Roberto Jorge Cabrera in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 29, 1948.  Looking for better economic opportunities, his family moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1961, where his father eventually established a business as a tailor of fine suits for men and taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Robert attended Aviation Career & Technical Education High School before switching to and graduating from Xaverian High School. He was accepted to Hunter College, where he studied art and was an avid painter, though he eventually changed his focus and graduated with a degree in mathematics. Robert worked as a teaching assistant in the New York City public schools and then took graduate courses and taught at Hunter College. 

Looking to escape the violence and crime in New York, he moved to the Bay Area in November, 1973, where he applied to UC Santa Barbara’s doctoral program in mathematics, and, as part of the process, was allowed to apply to two other campuses as well. After being accepted to Santa Barbara, he was packing his car to move there when the mailman handed him a letter of acceptance from UC Berkeley. Though he had never expected to get into Berkeley he was awarded a University Fellowship. He unpacked his car and stayed in Berkeley where he earned a master’s degree in mathematics and taught for a time at City College of SF.

While working on his doctoral thesis, Robert got a job doing carpentry and found that he enjoyed working with his hands and building. He abandoned his academic pursuits and began buying properties in Berkeley to renovate. His appreciation for architecture and love of building and remodeling projects was to become his life-long passion. Becoming a licensed contractor he specialized in foundation work and, for a time, relocated to Los Angeles where he worked on designing movie sets, started a floor refinishing business and worked on a number of renovation projects. When he returned to Berkely, he continued developing properties, became active in the Berkeley Property Owner’s Association, eventually serving as president, and was active in the process of passing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995. Robert was a mentor to many others, teaching them the construction trades and launching them in their own careers. 

Robert married Carol Curtis in 1991 and his daughter, Katalina, was born in 1994. The family spent their summers in the Lot area of France where he enjoyed working on old farm houses and traveling through England and continental Europe. He had a particular love of the history and the architecture to be found in open air museums. The family also spent many weekends on their property on Greenfield Ranch outside of Ukiah, CA, where he was always involved in some kind of building project and loved harvesting the fruit in the orchard.

After an amicable divorce in 2012, Robert found a kindred soul in Anne Harris and moved to San Anselmo. They were married in 2016 at the Marin County Civic Center. Anne inspired Robert to rekindle his interest in skiing which soon became a great passion. The two combined their love of travel with their love of the slopes, and made it their mission to ski all around the globe. They continued spending their summers and part of each fall at their house France.

Robert’s interests were many and varied, and friends found him an interesting conversationalist. Among other things, he enjoyed gardening (he was a life time member of Seed Savers), reading about history, seeking out new wines and good cheeses, and hunting through thrift stores. Although soft spoken, his views on politics were fiercely held. He had a lifelong love of animals, and whenever he encountered a dog or cat on the street, had to stop and make friends. Above all, being with family was important to Robert, and he travelled to Argentina to visit relatives often. Robert was passionate in everything he did, guided always by an unflagging curiosity about the world. 

Robert was pre-deceased by his parents Roberto and Elvira Cabrera, and his stepson Morgen Phillips. He is survived by his wife, Anne Cabrera of San Anselmo, CA; stepson, Harris Phillips of Victoria, B.C., Canada; first wife, Carol Curtis and daughter, Katalina Cabrera of Berkeley, CA; and sister, Lillian Sweeney of Meadowbrook, PA. He is laid to rest at the Mt Tamalpais Cemetery and Mortuary in San Rafael, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at pancan.org/donate.

Posted by Harris Phillips on November 27, 2020
You had a massive impact on my life.  You taught me so much, and for that I’m forever thankful. I’m lucky to have crossed paths with you, Robert.

Love you forever.

-Harris
Posted by Sebastien Cayrols on November 26, 2020
When I arrived in the US five years ago, I was alone and quite lost, looking for a place where to live. And what I found was more than just a place. I was very lucky to find Robert on my path. The night we met, it was raining a lot and I remember his warm smile which was so important to me, a real relief.
He questioned me about France and my name and we started to talk about my country. I was amazed by his kindness and his simplicity.
A couple of weeks later, knowing that I was alone, he invited me to join his family for Christmas. It was so great ! I was discovering their traditions and on top of that, I even got a gift. A book that helped me find my way and feel better. I had to leave a few months later but I kept such a great souvenir from this moment that I did stay in touch.

In the end, all these moments, all these memories of him will chase this sadness I feel right now.

In this very particular day, I do want to thank him for what he gave me and what he was.
Posted by Adrianne Hackett on November 19, 2020
Robert is my cousin and although our paths have not crossed for many years I do have a great love and special place in my heart for him and Lil. I feel the loss at his passing and wish Lil, Anne, Carol and Katalina all the best during this very difficult time for all of you. I remember growing up in Brooklyn what an easy going funny guy he was. As teens Lil and I would spend summer days at his apartment in Brooklyn while he was off traveling somewhere on a new adventure. I remember him as always having boundless energy and was a free spirit. What a wonderful accomplished life he enjoyed. Good for you cousin. What could be better in life than to be able to pursue all your interest to the best of your ability. May God bless you and all your family. Love you Robertito
Posted by Nathan Husbands on November 17, 2020
Robert and I shared a very brief relationship over one summer, he was a mentor more than a boss and a friend more that a neighbour but at the same time to me he was just Robert.., I was lucky to have been in this mans company for the duration of a summer, enjoying work in the sun, learning, digging holes, laying pipes, fixing roofs.. but most importantly learning something with my brother and cousin in the ambient atmosphere of small French farm village.. I can smell the grass, the trees and the churned up dirt as I think of it. It was a summer to remember, I can’t believe life could have been that relaxing and we were earning money and learning stuff with no pressure atall.. it seems pretty surreal.
We were all blessed to have had people like Robert walk into our lives.. there needs to be more people in our lives like Robert.. he was one of a kind, loving, helpful and always happy and it’s hard to say this without getting emotional.. but he was more that a mentor, he was more than a friend.. he was family to everyone that knew him and that’s just who he was...
he was an inspiration and I am I am so lucky to have known him for even just a few weeks, And I am so thankful to have had him as a boss..

God bless you man.. and sleep well

I’ll be up to have a drink with you before you know it.. ❤️
Posted by Lesley Husbands on November 16, 2020
This is a tribute to Robert, written by Thomas Husbands

I remember how I first met Robert.
I first saw him with Anne and Robert one day on there cycle ride around the village, I was working in the field with my cousin and brother at the time and I remember as they went past i said 'Hi' and not 'Bonjour' as I should have being in France. I thought Anne said 'Hi' back but I wasn't sure! They were cycling so it was very brief and I couldnt think quick enough on the spot and as I said, i was working.
My mum however was furthur up the field and I noticed they had stopped to talk to her about something, they were there a little while before going off on there cycle ride again. I thought nothing of it at the time, just some more French people interested in the quirky garden maybe...so I carried on with work.
My mum later that day told me that the people that stopped were an English speaking couple that lived very locally and have done for many years, she added that they noticed us three young lads working in the field and mentioned to her about some work they wanted help with on there house down the road and also that we have been invited to come and meet them properly to discuss it all.
She said that Anne's son was here with his girlfriend for a few more days and that we are all similar ages so we should come over to meet them aswell before they go again. They also told her they would pay us per hour, which was awesome as I wanted some extra money at the time, working on my place was limited and I was heading off to Switzerland in the winter. I remeber I was super keen for the work but also nervous as I didnt know what the work was going to be and how skilled they would expect me to be. I remember my mum being very happy about meeting them, she said to me that they were our kind of people and that I would like them and that we should definitely go to meet them. So we did.
We went round there place a few days later, it was literally a few minutes in the car but it was somewhere I had never been or even noticed before. It was a lovely old farm house tucked up a little street away from everywhere.
We got greeted by everyone out in the garden as they were sat out there already, full of great energy and smiles all round. It was very comforting and relaxing meeting them, not as it can be sometimes for the first time meeting people. So we sat down to have some snacks and a few beers while talking and getting to know each other and it all seemed to flow so easy, everyone had common ground with someone else there it was like designing, building, fashion, tattoos, skiing, travelling, moving to France, people history, interests, there was just one thing after another that we were talking about and we didnt stop for a while. Everything spoken about with lots of passion and excitement.
I remember leaving that evening so excited to have met everyone, so excited looking forward to our future with our very like minded, new friends. We hadn't met anyone like this in the 3-4 years we have been there and it was such breath of fresh air to know we had similar people close by.
We did actually end up working on there house most of the summer, until they left to go back to America for the winter. Over summer is where I really got to know Robert quite well as we were working there most days for a few hours. He was super intelligent and he along with Anne knew everything there was about construction and property development you could. It was inspiring from the start I felt, I would go there everyday and learn something interesting and new. He was a great teacher and a perfectionist in what he did, who better to learn from than him. He was always so patient and never seemed angry or dissatisfied with what I did if it wasn't of his standards but he would show me the correct way of doing it calmly and with every detail. I was so lucky to have someone who was prepared to help me at the same time as paying me, it is such a pleasuring knowing I learnt the endless things and did all those new projects there I wouldnt have know how to before or without him, so I have taken alot from that one summer with him. Not just from what I learnt from him but about him as well.
We shared a love for skiing of course. I am a ski teacher and he has been skiing all his life on and off. We were already planning a trip to go and ski together, and for me to come and work in America some time. I got the feeling that he was very good at skiing by how fondly he spoke about it, I wish we got to ski together just once would have been cool. I know I will be thinking of him when ski next. He had a long exciting life full of the craziest stories and history, I was always happy to listen to them as they were always so full on. I can imagine by the time your his age you would have them stacked up, i cant imagine the things he didnt tell me haha. Reading these tributes was lovely to discover even more.
I remember him telling me once about how he was going to build a property on a piece of land that he bought for a really cheap price, that he wanted to get a house built on it and make money of of it, he said that it took so long to get all the permissions and planning done that he actually got a very good offer for the land in the meantime and took that instead, regardless of the effort it took to get the plans and permissions. He used that money to by two little flats I think, then slowly over the years rented and bought another, then another and so on and so until he was set up for life basically. He made alot from not alot.
He was so funny too, I have the best memory of him round our house for homemade pizza, that he loved by the way(he went on to make them himself)and it was dark at the time, we were outside cleaning the table, a little jolly. All I hear is Robert in his American accent say "awwwww man, I put my hand in the hummus". He thought it was the crisp bowl he said and just grabbed it. I am laughing so hard as im writing this- thinking of that time is my favourite memory we shared, it won't ever be forgotten im so sure of that.
To sum it all up meeting and knowing Robert was lovely. Always a buzz and a joy around him and he helped me in every way he could from the first time we met. He was a true human and I believe he had a wonderful life.
Rest in peace Robert.
God bless.
Love Tom.


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Posted by Karla Leibowitz on November 15, 2020
I see Robert's wonderful smile brightening his face. I see it right here on this memorial site. He was always so pleasant to me, in his quiet way, and we shared a love of Mathematics and of France and of the French language. Who knew that we shared a love for skiing as well? That would have been another fun adventure! My favorite memory of him is in France, looking out across centuries old rooftops and discussing historical architecture. Or was it the trip to Emauss that made us mindful of the past? And I remember his crazy house in Ukiah, where we made pasta and ground oats with a crank. Maybe it was picking asparagus at his other ranch house on the hill, in a field plowed by wild pigs. Never a dull moment with Robert. A life well and thoughtfully lived. My condolences to the women he loved. I enjoyed our times together.
Posted by Lesley Husbands on November 15, 2020
The sun was shining as I weeded the hedgerow along the village road, I glanced up and watched a cyclist pass by, followed a few moments later by another. The second cyclist stopped and said ‘Hi’........... by now the first cyclist had returned.
This was my introduction to Robert. Anne had initiated what I can only describe as a friendship that felt right, right from the beginning.
My boys and I were invited for a drink at Le Pressoir that evening. We arrived and sat under the hazelnut tree, ate snacks, listened to great music and watched as the summer sun left us for the day.
The conversation came naturally and a variety of subjects were covered, many, many stories were told to a captivated audience. We were listening to Robert talk about his life and how he met Anne and what bought him, many years ago to buy in this area of France.
Over the coming months Robert and Anne became family friends and we enjoyed their company and knowledge of the area. My boys were offered work and loved being around Le Pressoir that summer, Robert helped them become more confident at DIY and taught them with such ease.
It is difficult to talk ‘just’ about Robert, even though this is a tribute for him.
I need to talk about who they were, Anne and Robert.
They were a friendly couple, who shared so much in the time they had together. They were energetic, enthusiastic, happy, free, loving, caring, funny, sometimes very funny, good company, creative, professional, smart, interesting........ I could go on and on.
What I saw in Anne and Robert was a humble couple, who lived life, worked hard, enjoyed what they shared and loved each other, naturally.

My sincere condolences to Carol, Katalina and of course Anne x










Posted by Jo Cox on November 15, 2020
I met Robert when he married my pal Anne. I knew right away what a special guy he was and to see how much he and my dear friend loved each other was wonderful.
As I got to know Robert I saw how he truly lived his life to the fullest and was always planning and looking forward to the future. He had such a love of travel, architecture, knowledge and great french wine and cheese. I feel so fortunate to have spent the time I did with him and to have had adventures in four countries with him and Anne.
Dear Robert left much sooner than anyone would have liked and will be missed by so many. I admired his smarts, humour and sense of adventure so much.
A very inspiring man and just such a lovely guy.
Love you Robert 
Posted by Kenneth Mahaffey on November 14, 2020
Robert was a special person. I knew him for many years as a skilled and successful property investor in Berkeley, through BPOA, but we shared many interests. For instance, I had had a tower cabin--Crow'sNest--on the property he purchased on Greenfield Ranch years before his purchase.

Robert was kind, gentle, smart, principled. Just a really nice guy. We shared an interest in architecture and design, travel and good restoration work. He lived a full life, but too short.  The world has lost a special person. I really miss him.

Carpe diem.
Posted by John Sargent on November 9, 2020
I was blessed to meet Robert and Ann in Cervinia a few years at the Warren Smith Ski Academy. Robert's joy, charisma and passion for skiing cemented an ongoing friendship long after our week together in Cervinia. We met up again in Cervinia the following season and then again in Austria last season. And, during the summer months we kept each other up-to-date on email and WhatsApp. As a new skier, he taught me a lot and introduced me to so many different ideas and resources like Lito Tajeda Flores, Harald Harb, etc. But most importantly, he shared with me his passion and joy for skiing that has inspired me deeply. He was always smiling when he was on the slopes - no matter how cold, windy or foggy - skiing 360's, jumping off piste into the powder - all while listening to his Spotify playlist.  I couldn't keep up with him! Thank you Robert for your gift of friendship and for sharing the joy of skiing. I really had hoped that I could ski many more seasons with you. But, I know you are now carving big lines in untracked powder in Heaven...  We miss you.
Posted by Marta Ernst on November 9, 2020
I met Robert through our friend and french teacher Anne Marie. She said one day to me: you have to meet Robert he is from Argentina like you and he speaks french at your level. And that is how it started and I am so glad I did meet him, because we had the most interesting conversations in french and in spanish of course our native language. But most of all Robert was such a kind man always eager to help and a good friend. He loved to share his ideas and talk about his travels and France and eager to hear my news from Argentina, which we shared very often. I always looked forward to see him in french class because there was always something interesting to talk about with him. You will be missed very much Robert. Love to you and your family. Your friend. Marta.
Posted by Mira Walker on November 8, 2020
When I was homesteading on Greenfield ranch I met Robert at the gate to the ranch. It was a pretty isolated gate at that time and yet we both chatted like old friends and we found out, thru that meeting, that Robert was my neighbor to be on the 200 acre parcel. Glad to have known him and watch him create a very unique stucture on his parcel.
Posted by William Phillips on November 8, 2020
Robert was a lovely, intelligent, witty, engaging and very funny man. I’m honoured to have been his friend for the past 8 years. He was gracious to my sons, Harris and Morgen, and I and we each developed a deep bond with him that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Whether we were outdoors dining at the Pressior in France or walking the hilly trails in Marin with his beloved mini Boston Terrier - Frederick or sampling the smooth and sultry Zinfandels from Lodi, the conversations between us were fluid and never ending. I will truly miss the man and, as he was a true elder, have learned and gained invaluable wisdom from him. During my last conversation with Robert, a few weeks before his passing, we laughed and cried at the craziness we call this life. I hope whatever is beyond this veil and should Robert cross paths with my beloved and departed son Morgen, that they might rejoice together in the synchronicity that is the here and now. Much love to you Robert and thank you for being you.
Posted by Charles Huddleston on November 8, 2020
i met Robert in the late 90's; I performed building design work for one of his rentals in Berkeley. There was a lapse of many years till he called me again, and we proceeded to have a very nourishing business relationship till very recently. Robert was always quite clear about what he wanted, and we worked together on achieving that goal. He was a special client , and always was aiming for the best for his tenants, employees, and business relationships. He was a kind and adventurous soul, and there is now an empty space in my heart for him. Lots of love to you, Robert, and Bon Voyage!
Posted by Mark Tarses on November 8, 2020
Robert volunteered a lot of time for causes that he believed in. He was the president of the Berkeley Property Owner's Association for many years. He believed in right and wrong and didn't just sit home and grumble about bad things going on in his community, like most people do.
Posted by Christine Cox on November 7, 2020

My mum and Anne share a long and loving friendship, and in 2016 that’s how I came to meet Robert. When I meet people that I like I have a tradition of asking them five questions. Robert politely endured my prying and soon we were swapping stories, disagreeing on politics but agreeing on philosophies about life. And best of all were his life stories.

I was captivated by his stories of New York, knowing John Watters, Robert’s origins and road to success. What a life! Immediately we shared a natural, comfortable dialogue together.

He struck me as kind, smart, funny, eccentric, fun, the kind of person that makes you feel good and gives you moments that you won’t forget. You know a good man when you meet one and we will miss him immensely.
Xox
Posted by Anne Lebas on November 7, 2020
Aurevoir Robert , dear friend,
It has been an honor to be your teacher, although you did not really needed any lesson because you knowledge of the French language was really impressive... I think we mostly enjoyed our conversations about ... everything .
Then our friendship developed because we shared a lot of common interest, like travelling, a taste of adventure , drinking good wines and eating delicious cheese among others. I also was thrilled to meet Anne and it was such a pleasure to be with the 2 of you, working in the gardens and hiking around the lovely Le Pressoir in France and the Greenfield ranch . Such lovely memories...
You were such a smart and gentle soul and I will miss you very much . But I will keep a smile on my face every time I will think about all those lovely moments we spend together.
Aurevoir mon ami...
Posted by Anne Cabrera on November 7, 2020
Tribute to my husband Robert Cabrera     November 5, 2020                                

Thank you all for honoring Robert with your presence here today. I know that he would be smiling to see your faces.

My heart is filled with grief which reflects the enormous love I feel for Robert. In fact, remembering the love is what sustains me in this time of letting him go. I want to talk about the joy of the wonderful 8 and a half years we had together.

We met in the spring of 2012, and from the first date (a hike up in Tilden Park) we began to feel in synch with one another. Robert was a great storyteller and told lots of the stories of his life; his childhood in Argentina, then coming to New York as a 13-year-old, learning a new language and the ways of the street.

I was very interested listening to him through those early conversations, his great sense of adventure, and his DIY attitude! Robert said he was attracted to me because I had homeschooled my kids, chopped wood, and was not afraid to get my hands dirty! And through all of it we talked!

Shortly after we met Robert left for the summer to France. We got to know each other a lot better during that time through writing to each other. It was such a pleasure to send and receive the letters and to tell our stories in this deeply intimate way. When he returned in August, he invited me to come visit him in France in October. It was a wonderful time: our first shared trip, and after that we saw each other regularly, he was my best friend and I was his.

In March of 2013 Robert bought our home in San Anselmo and asked me if I was ready to start building a future together. We talked about some much needed updates and together on the sofa with graph paper we designed our new bathroom to prepare our first Love nest. Our life was full of love and laughter and deep mutual support.

We lived with gusto from that time on, sharing many pleasures and joys. Robert loved architecture, history (especially WW II), travel, politics, family, pizza, celebrations and oh ya… SKIING!  It was Roberts dream to ski every month of the year and we tried. We loved entertaining and having friends and family over to wine and dine; we often had dinners where no one wanted the evening to end.

For me, my world changed with Robert. Many of our best times we’re spent in rural France fixing up a stone Farmhouse- The Pressoir. Robert had purchased the property more than 25 years earlier and together over 3 years bit by bit we created our second love nest. Our home and work life took off and blended together beautifully. Robert was a grounding force – He was deeply supportive when my son Morgen died; I don’t know what I’d have done without Robert at that time. We were very close; there isn’t anything we didn’t share. I always felt safe and protected. For all of these things, I am deeply grateful to Robert.

Robert was gentle in his temperament; people were drawn to him. He was very smart and knew lots of things and at the same time, he honoured others for the things they knew about. He was passionate about and took great pride in his work. Robert was a patient teacher and believed in the importance of sharing his knowhow and skills. A special Thank you to Leonel and Fredy for their loyalty and service. Over many years you have been the backbone of his business and helped make it possible for Robert to reach his goals. 

After his diagnosis, 10 months ago, Katalina didn’t hesitate in joining me to care for and support Robert. Through this rollercoaster of a journey Katie has been strong and steady by her Fathers side. Katie would hang out with Robert, sharing old letters, photos, memories and family history. It was a gift to witness the respect and love pass between them and the joy it brought to Robert in his final days.

Weeks after surgery, he was admitted to hospital with a fever. After days on antibiotics they did a scan to reveal the cancer had spread to his liver and lungs. Hospice was recommended and they estimated he had about 2 weeks to live. He lived 2 months longer. Many times in Roberts final days he expressed to Katie, Carol and I how important it is for family to be there for one another. Perhaps this was Roberts way of expressing his gratitude and appreciation for our support not only of him but of each other. Robert was not afraid of death or of talking about it. He gave me the courage it took to be there for him.

We were such a wonderful match for each other. Robert said, that it felt like we crammed 16 years of a full rich life into the 8 and a half years that we had. He told me I was the love of his life. And there is no question that Robert was the love of my life. I am so thankful to have had these precious years with this wonderful man.
Posted by Brandon Marsh on November 7, 2020
Robert always was very kind to me and my dog BB. I appreciate knowing him but wish I knew him better. He will be greatly missed by both me and BB. I'm grateful for him giving me the opportunity to live in such a great building, community and town like Fairfax. We had very little interactions or conversations outside of landlord stuff, and he always was very soft spoken. In our brief encounters I can always felt his kind energy. I know he was loved by many for being such a great man and kind person. I'm definitely saddened and again will miss him as well. ='(
Posted by Katalina Cabrera on November 7, 2020
My dad was really a one of a kind guy. Growing up, my image of him is this conservative in Berkeley, this conservative guy in a sea of Berkeley liberals. And I would think, what is he doing here? Why does he live here? But that was the thing about him, he was his own person. From an early age, he taught me that there is more than one perspective. And that it’s important to think for yourself. 


My dad really marched to the beat of his own drum in pretty much everything he did. He taught me to choose my own path… do exactly what you want to do, don’t settle. There was not a single day that he didn’t follow his passion, and he had so many. Something that has always struck me about him is how many different things have captured his attention, his interest. 

Art, math, history, architecture… he was fascinated by all of it. He was a real Renaissance man. He was always pushing the envelope, trying new things… it’s a special kind of person that one day up and decides to buy a 300 year old farmhouse in France. And he continued to be full of surprises when, later in life, he developed an interest not only in skiing, but in something called ski ballet—an esoteric form of skiing that incorporates elegant ballet-style moves. When he got into something, he would be obsessed. He would watch ski ballet videos the first thing every morning on his iPad when he woke up. 


Another thing dad was crazy about was animals of all kinds, and he made it his mission to feed every single creature he could. He fed this flock of birds at Home Depot, and he claimed that they recognized his truck and would come running when they saw it. In Ukiah, one of his main pursuits was catching lizards and removing their ticks. We called them wizards, from when I couldn’t pronounce the letter L when I was a kid… and it earned him the title of “Wiz Doctor.”

He passed on his love of animals to me from the time I was little… when he would pretend that all the animals knew who I was—I was famous to them. I don’t remember how it started but everywhere we went he would tell me the animals were saying “Look, there’s Katie!”

He had a thing for numbers and never forgot a single one of the prices of the properties he bought or sold. He surprised me again this past year when he revealed another new pursuit of his, which was determining which numbers were prime in his head as he lay in bed, waiting to fall asleep at night. That was what he did instead of counting sheep. He started from zero, and each night would work his way through another chunk of numbers, and had gotten up into the 2,000s at some point a couple months ago.


Dad’s favorite number was 23, the address of our old family home at Hillside Court, and he would take pictures of that number wherever he went. 

Dad made friends everywhere and attracted some interesting people. I always give the example of Hate Man—one of the colorful Berkeley characters that he befriended. Hate Man walked the streets of Berkeley fervidly preaching his philosophy… that everybody hated each other and should just be open about it. When you greeted him, you had to say, “Hey man, I hate you”…before proceeding with the conversation. And dad just loved that, thought that was hilarious. He stayed good friends with the guy, helping him out by letting him keep his stuff at one of his properties. 

He was just like that. He was kind. Generous. Giving effortlessly. I always thought to myself, he’s someone who can carry people. Can hold a lot of people up. At various times—me, my mom, Anne, the people who worked for him, his family in Argentina… he held us all up with such strength and grace.


So many people have come into his orbit over the years… worked with him on his projects… visited him in France and Ukiah—these beautiful corners of the world that he had a knack for stumbling upon… and filled their lives with magic. If there’s one thing I have to say to my dad, it’s “You put the magic in my life.”

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Harris Phillips on November 27, 2020
You had a massive impact on my life.  You taught me so much, and for that I’m forever thankful. I’m lucky to have crossed paths with you, Robert.

Love you forever.

-Harris
Posted by Sebastien Cayrols on November 26, 2020
When I arrived in the US five years ago, I was alone and quite lost, looking for a place where to live. And what I found was more than just a place. I was very lucky to find Robert on my path. The night we met, it was raining a lot and I remember his warm smile which was so important to me, a real relief.
He questioned me about France and my name and we started to talk about my country. I was amazed by his kindness and his simplicity.
A couple of weeks later, knowing that I was alone, he invited me to join his family for Christmas. It was so great ! I was discovering their traditions and on top of that, I even got a gift. A book that helped me find my way and feel better. I had to leave a few months later but I kept such a great souvenir from this moment that I did stay in touch.

In the end, all these moments, all these memories of him will chase this sadness I feel right now.

In this very particular day, I do want to thank him for what he gave me and what he was.
Posted by Adrianne Hackett on November 19, 2020
Robert is my cousin and although our paths have not crossed for many years I do have a great love and special place in my heart for him and Lil. I feel the loss at his passing and wish Lil, Anne, Carol and Katalina all the best during this very difficult time for all of you. I remember growing up in Brooklyn what an easy going funny guy he was. As teens Lil and I would spend summer days at his apartment in Brooklyn while he was off traveling somewhere on a new adventure. I remember him as always having boundless energy and was a free spirit. What a wonderful accomplished life he enjoyed. Good for you cousin. What could be better in life than to be able to pursue all your interest to the best of your ability. May God bless you and all your family. Love you Robertito
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Our Dear Neighbor on Greenfield

Shared by Yvonne Kramer on November 17, 2020
My husband Marv and I were neighbors with Robert on Greenfield  Ranch for almost three decades.  During these years Robert would come and go and we mostly stayed, yet he would weave in an out of our lives in a way we always enjoyed and will miss very much. Robert would call when on the ranch and we would share dinner at our home or his, catching up on whatever period of time had lapsed. The last time we met was last Easter and enjoyed an afternoon on the our porch with my son Alexander.  The conversation pleasantly bubbled between conditions in France and how to pick up the best cheap wine at Cannery Sales. 

It is interesting that Robert became our neighbor in several locations. In acquiring a second piece on Greenfield he was  also our neighbor a few miles away in a place we had inherited from Marv's sister. Because my son Alexander and his wife Jenness now live and own that piece Robert became friends with them. I was so pleased to see our friendship and neighbor relationship spread to my son and his wife.  I also felt in some mysterious way Robert was a neighbor in France since I have visited and have close family in the Alps. I was always delighted to hear about Robert's  life there. Finally, when Marv returned to graduate school in Berkeley in the 90's he was neighbors there and sometimes visited  Robert and Carol. 

On one of Marv's visits to Robert in Berkeley he noticed a little Acacia tree growing by his back door. Robert  offered the tree to Marv, we planted it on our land, and now every spring when it blooms its bright yellow blossoms we can think of our wonderful neighbor with a truly sunny disposition. 
  

 

Thanks so much for sharing the joy of skiing!

Shared by John Sargent on November 9, 2020
I was blessed to meet Robert and Ann in Cervinia a few years at the Warren Smith Ski Academy.  Robert's joy, charisma and passion for skiing cemented an ongoing friendship long after our week together in Cervinia.  We met up again in Cervinia the following season and then again in Austria last season.  And, during the summer months we kept each other up-to-date on email and WhatsApp.  As a new skier, he taught me a lot and introduced me to so many different ideas and resources like Lito Tajeda Flores, Harald Harb, etc.  But most importantly, he shared with me his passion and joy for skiing that has inspired me deeply.  He was always smiling when he was on the slopes - no matter how cold, windy or foggy - skiing 360's, jumping off piste into the powder - all while listening to his Spotify playlist.   I couldn't keep up with him!  Thank you Robert for your gift of friendship and for sharing the joy of skiing.  I really had hoped that I could ski many more seasons with you.  But, I know you are now carving big lines in untracked powder in Heaven...    We miss you.