ForeverMissed
                      What will we do without Bob?

Robert “Bob” Howard Stanley, scholar, professor, lawyer, musician, singer, collector, coffee roaster, pipe smoker, and almost-award-winning chili maker, died on August 16, 2021. 

He would have wanted us to raise a glass of scotch in his memory—preferably a smoky, peaty single malt—though whether to drink it neat, with a splash of water, or on the rocks he would leave to you.

Bob would want us to also toast the biggest loves of his life: his accomplished younger brother and best buddy, Bill; his beautiful and accomplished cousin, Nancy; her lovable husband Fred; Bob’s dear, loyal friend and protégé, Lori Weber; and his constant feline companion, the dapper Mr. Fella. He would also want us to acknowledge others who passed from his life too early: his talented and musical parents, James and Ruth Stanley, his cousins Jan and Jim, his best friends Robert “Bob” Ross and Edward Bacciocco, Jr., his dogs Cocoa and Jenna, and his cat Pumpkin.

And he would want us to remind them (the loves of his life) that even though he is no longer physically present, he expects you to keep close his deepest secrets including his grade school and high school shenanigans--because even though Bill and Nancy report that Bob was considered a “Brainiac” by all—it is clear that he was never above a bit of fun.

One look at any of his yearbook photos reveals what we all knew or suspected about young Bob: he was uncannily smart, undoubtedly mischievous, rock-star handsome, and, even then, never failed to rock the sideburns, tousled hair, and too-cool-for school glasses and button-down, long-sleeve cotton shirts, that was his unforgettable signature look to the end.

Although Bob’s “look” leaned toward California casual—and certainly none have ever reported catching him in a velvet smoking jacket—he had the classic sensibilities of a renaissance man with refined and rarified tastes in tobacco, scotch, cars, coffee, food, books, film, and music. However, his pleasure was as much about deep learning and understanding these things as it was in consuming them. It wasn’t enough for Bob to enjoy a good cup of coffee; he researched the history of coffee; perfected the ultimate roast (of course, he roasted his own beans); experimented for years until he achieved the precise water temperature, grind, and bean-to-water ratio to achieve the perfect pour.  He was like this with all the things he loved. He was a collector, curator, connoisseur, aficionado, gourmand, bon vivant, epicurean, and sophisticated. 

Those fancy words are not, though, the ones Bob would have used to describe himself; call him a “bon vivant” and his likely reaction would be a visual show of exasperation—his fingertips to each side of his forehead, and his big head bowed and shaking slowly side-to-side as if to say “no, no, no,” followed by an exaggerated exhale that sounded like something between a “pfft” and a raspberry.

Certainly, his fancy education (philosophy BA, law degree, history Ph.D.), erudition, and eloquence was revealed when delivering a lecture, a diatribe against some idiot politician, or in a protest letter to university administration (of which there were many over the years). Perhaps his humility was due to his Midwest upbringing in Independence and Liberty, Missouri and Lawrence, Kansas. Much like his childhood neighbor, President Harry S Truman, Bob’s inclination was to prefer plain words and creative, earthy sayings--indeed, he even used now and then one of Harry’s lesser known cautionary sayings: “Never kick a turd on a hot day.”

We imagine Bob would more readily accept this more straightforward description of himself: “Bob was a gentleman and a scholar.”

And what a gentleman he was: kind, generous, loyal, empathetic, sympathetic, and just. From his early years and throughout his life, he was a champion of the underdog and a fighter of the good fight.  As a law student, he successfully battled administration to eliminate grueling numerous back-to-back three-hour exams. As a senior professor, he reformed the department’s tenure process, ensuring that generations of junior faculty secured their jobs through a more just and transparent process. He advocated for a CSU statewide catastrophic leaves donation program that, once enacted, allowed thousands of gravely ill CSU employees to receive donated sick time from their peers. And he committed himself to delivering the same high-quality education he himself received; believing that if he brought his best to the classroom, students would (and did) rise to the occasion.

As a scholar, Bob accomplished the inconceivable. He wrote a captivating, rousing, page-turner of a book on the history of the federal income tax. Published by Oxford Press, it is described by reviewers as a “tour de force” and a “chilling” account of how the federal tax law was created by centrists to maintain the economic status quo of the rich while quelling the dissent of the masses.

Even with all the well-deserved accolades for his written scholarship, his best political analysis was saved for happy hour and dinner parties with family and friends. His riffs on political and social issues were always thought-provoking, astute, and above all funny. Bob would want us to remember that he could find humor in the most mundane, ridiculous, or perturbing political news of the day. Admittedly, his humor--and the humor of those he most admired--could be dark, mordant, and sarcastic. But it could also be light, silly, and playful. His comic sensibilities were truly democratic, ranging from the high-brow to low-brow to everything in between.

How much we will miss those clippings he posted on his campus office door from the New Yorker, Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, and Doonesbury. We’ll miss the daily satirical pieces he forwarded from The Borowitz Report or The Onion. And we will miss all those times we gathered to watch the Bill Mahr Show, the Daily Show, or Comedy Central, always with good stiff drinks to shore us up for the painful truths embedded in the comedy.

In all those years, there may have been only one political event that Bob could not eventually find humor in: the day America elected the 45th president. As he said that day and for many more to come: “I can’t joke about this.” But in all other times, Bob would find ways to make us—and himself—laugh at the absurdity of life and politics, focusing his homespun putdowns on “the dumb dumbs” (mainly politicians), wisecracking that “their eyes are just a little too big” and “they were playing checkers when everyone else was playing chess.”

Bob laughed often and unreservedly. There are probably none among us who could ever forget his distinctive, deep-bass laugh. But perhaps Bob’s most unforgettable characteristics were his capacity for love, magnanimity, compassion, and loyalty.

As one of his friends said recently, “To be loved by Bob is to be loved unconditionally.”  His family and friends all recognize the truth in that simple but profound declaration.

He was our greatest admirer, our biggest cheerleader, our most devoted advocate. We saw this so clearly in his love for his younger brother, Bill, and his cousin Nancy (“Nance”). He was deeply proud of Bill and his accomplishments as a professor of music, professional musician, and undoubtedly, one of the “greatest trombone players on either side of the Rockies.” Of cousin Nancy, whom Bob viewed as a sister, he bragged about her beauty, kindness, career success, two brilliant children, Laurel and Lee, and, above all, her whip-smart intelligence, especially in deciding to marry Fred, “the nicest man in the world.” He loved Bill and Nancy so much that he allowed them in his house two decades before inviting anyone else.  

Bob did not think his family and friends were perfect. He saw our flaws but generously chose to ignore them or embrace them as that special something that made each of us unique. As one friend put it, “Bob seemed to believe that I had super powers and he almost made me believe it, too.” 

For those of us lucky enough to have been loved by Bob, we will never forget the experience. We are all left wondering: what will we do without Bob?
Bob's Memorial Fund
Posted by Marley Smith on September 14, 2021
In my four years at Chico State, I have never had a Professor inspire me, encourage me and make a difference in my life as Professor Bob Stanley did. Professor Stanley was an old soul, a voice of reason, and a professor who truly cared for his students. I remember walking into the first class I had with Professor Stanley, carrying the 5 pound, 1000 page case book that he had assigned, and being incredibly nervous. I had been warned by my upperclassmen friends that Professor Stanley was brilliant, but his classes were not ones that you could do the bare minimum in, so be prepared to actually do the work. His Socratic method of calling on students and his intense dialogues encouraged me to not only do the work, but to be fascinated by the subject of law.

Professor Stanley had the ability to work modern-day problems into comparison with the texts that we were reading. When Trump was elected President, Professor Stanley was able to bring up cases like Roe v. Wade, Texas v. Johnson, and Plessy v. Ferguson, and show his class the delicacy and intricacy in which laws were crafted, but how easily everything could be changed. Professor Stanley opened my eyes to the power of the law, and inspired me to act to be a catalyst of positive change. I remember staying with him after class on the day that we reviewed Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and speaking with him about my fears. I am not an emotional person, but tears crept into my eyes as I explained how "these backwards assholes were going to ruin America." He simply looked at me and told me that I didn't have to let them.

Professor Stanley wrote one of my letters of recommendation for law school, and I do not believe I would be as successful as I have been had it not been for him. He sent me a copy of the letter and it will forever be one of my prized possessions. He explained that I was one of the most passionate, outspoken and hardest working students he had worked with in his time. I am so proud that my mentor, the man who further pushed me to be passionate about law, viewed me as such a student. I will always remember Professor Stanley as the professor who taught me the most, provided me with new perspectives and allowed me to leave class early to take my cat to vet. Thank you for everything Professor Stanley, I think about you often as I sit through my law school courses. I will continue to strive to be the person that you wrote my letter of recommendation for.
Posted by Justis Kusumoto on September 10, 2021
We live in a turbulent time in American history, with misinformation poisoning our public discourse. Professor Stanley, who will be missed, was a steady voice of reason. I wish everyday people would pay more attention to legit academics like Stanley and less to culture war media personalities. If all Baby Boomers were half as educated, brilliant, and thoughtful as Bob Stanley, half of America's problems would disappear.

Chico State changed my life. I met professors that truly nurtured my intellectual interests and curiosity in politics, public policy, law, and history. Professor Stanley was a central part of that Chico State experience. He stimulated deep thought on these topics in class. His teaching style was lecture heavy and traditional in many ways, yet, unlike most of the social science teachers I had in secondary school, he was able to make every class enthralling. His use of socratic questioning and humor made his teaching memorable and fun.

I could go to his office hours and chat about Barry Goldwater's impact on the high court or antitrust law. His constitutional law course was by far the most fun class I took in 2018.

Robert Stanley was a brilliant professor, and a true gem to Chico State. I will miss him.
Posted by Paula Scholtes on September 8, 2021
Thank you for advocating for catastrophic leave donations -- the program's been a lifesaver for so many on campus, myself included.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Marley Smith on September 14, 2021
In my four years at Chico State, I have never had a Professor inspire me, encourage me and make a difference in my life as Professor Bob Stanley did. Professor Stanley was an old soul, a voice of reason, and a professor who truly cared for his students. I remember walking into the first class I had with Professor Stanley, carrying the 5 pound, 1000 page case book that he had assigned, and being incredibly nervous. I had been warned by my upperclassmen friends that Professor Stanley was brilliant, but his classes were not ones that you could do the bare minimum in, so be prepared to actually do the work. His Socratic method of calling on students and his intense dialogues encouraged me to not only do the work, but to be fascinated by the subject of law.

Professor Stanley had the ability to work modern-day problems into comparison with the texts that we were reading. When Trump was elected President, Professor Stanley was able to bring up cases like Roe v. Wade, Texas v. Johnson, and Plessy v. Ferguson, and show his class the delicacy and intricacy in which laws were crafted, but how easily everything could be changed. Professor Stanley opened my eyes to the power of the law, and inspired me to act to be a catalyst of positive change. I remember staying with him after class on the day that we reviewed Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and speaking with him about my fears. I am not an emotional person, but tears crept into my eyes as I explained how "these backwards assholes were going to ruin America." He simply looked at me and told me that I didn't have to let them.

Professor Stanley wrote one of my letters of recommendation for law school, and I do not believe I would be as successful as I have been had it not been for him. He sent me a copy of the letter and it will forever be one of my prized possessions. He explained that I was one of the most passionate, outspoken and hardest working students he had worked with in his time. I am so proud that my mentor, the man who further pushed me to be passionate about law, viewed me as such a student. I will always remember Professor Stanley as the professor who taught me the most, provided me with new perspectives and allowed me to leave class early to take my cat to vet. Thank you for everything Professor Stanley, I think about you often as I sit through my law school courses. I will continue to strive to be the person that you wrote my letter of recommendation for.
Posted by Justis Kusumoto on September 10, 2021
We live in a turbulent time in American history, with misinformation poisoning our public discourse. Professor Stanley, who will be missed, was a steady voice of reason. I wish everyday people would pay more attention to legit academics like Stanley and less to culture war media personalities. If all Baby Boomers were half as educated, brilliant, and thoughtful as Bob Stanley, half of America's problems would disappear.

Chico State changed my life. I met professors that truly nurtured my intellectual interests and curiosity in politics, public policy, law, and history. Professor Stanley was a central part of that Chico State experience. He stimulated deep thought on these topics in class. His teaching style was lecture heavy and traditional in many ways, yet, unlike most of the social science teachers I had in secondary school, he was able to make every class enthralling. His use of socratic questioning and humor made his teaching memorable and fun.

I could go to his office hours and chat about Barry Goldwater's impact on the high court or antitrust law. His constitutional law course was by far the most fun class I took in 2018.

Robert Stanley was a brilliant professor, and a true gem to Chico State. I will miss him.
Posted by Paula Scholtes on September 8, 2021
Thank you for advocating for catastrophic leave donations -- the program's been a lifesaver for so many on campus, myself included.
his Life

Robert Howard Stanley's Life

Professor Emeritus Robert H. Stanley, Bob, who taught in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice for 31 years, passed away on August 16, 2021.  He was 68. 

Hired into the Department in 1989, Stanley was vital component of the Legal Studies program.  Among the classes he taught were Vital Political Problems; Law, Politics and the Distribution of Justice; Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Foundations of Constitutional law.  Many students began their legal studies coursework with Professor Stanley’s Introduction to Legal Studies and ended their legal studies coursework with his Senior Seminar in Legal Studies.  He used film to creatively give the historical context of law to enrich students’ perspective of current legal decisions.  Using the Socratic Method in his classes, he challenged his students to develop their analytical skills that well prepared many of them for success in law school. 

Born February 13, 1953 in Santa Monica, California, he and his family returned to their roots in the Kansas City area.  He earned his B.A. in Philosophy at Texas Christian University in 1975, then his J.D. at University of Texas School of Law in 1978, and since 1978 he maintained his membership in the Texas State Bar. He earned his Ph. D. in History, at University of Virginia, 1986.   

From 1982-1987 Stanley served in several positions at Brown University including Director of the Center for Law and Liberal Education.  He served as Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, 1987-1988 and University of Texas at Arlington, 1988-1989.   

Professor Stanley began teaching at CSU, Chico in 1989, and he retired in 2015, but continued to teach under the FERP program until 2020. 

While at CSU, Chico, Professor Stanley was a long-term chair of the Department’s RTP committee managing hundreds of candidates’ files.  He was dedicated to helping his colleagues successfully gain tenure and promotion.  He made sure that the process was transparent and provided critical mentorship to his committee members and candidates.  

Stanley’s book, Dimensions of Law in the Service of Order: Origins of the Federal Income Tax, 1861-1913 (Oxford University Press, 1993), was described as “a tour de force” “highly sophisticated, tightly argued and thought-provoking” and “Full of insight.”  All tributes that aptly describe his reseach and work in the classroom. 

Professor emeritus Teddy DeLorenzo remembered Stanley for his “wit and dry sense of humor, with which Bob was able bring light to a difficult situation, usually by asking, “Teddy, what are we going to do about this?”  DeLorenzo added: “In addition to being an inspiring teacher, Bob was a loyal friend and colleague.  He left an indelible mark on those of us he enveloped with his big hugs. What a pleasure it was to have taught beside him for the 31 last years to see how much he loved his students and how much his students were inspired by him.  His loss is profound.”  

Professor Diana Dwyre notes that Bob Stanley was one of the first colleagues she met when she came to Chico State in 1997, and “he was a cherished friend and mentor, a confidant and trusted colleague. He inspired his students by challenging them to fully develop their critical thinking skills, and he brought his colleagues together to pursue our shared goals. Bob was witty, fun and intense, and I will miss our passionate conversations about politics, history, music and movies. He will be greatly missed.” 

Current MA student Ann Wilson noted “Professor Stanley’s intense love of the law and commitment to civil rights was apparent the moment I walked into my first class on the first day of my legal studies. His incredible knowledge, his amazing provenance, and his passion for teaching resonated with me as it did with all of his students, inspiring us to learn, reason, and advocate. It is an honor to call Professor Stanley a mentor, and more importantly, a friend. His absence makes the world a lesser place.” 

MPA student Jackie Noble (BA POLS 2019) remembered Professor Stanley as “a very sensitive, passionate teacher. He cared about his students, the material he taught, and above all, making a difference in young lives. He loved to tell us about baseball and was so excited to retire so that he could spend more time watching the games. He always had time to stop and chat and made us feel like we could come to him for anything. He left a lasting impression on us all and will be greatly missed.” 

During retirement Professor Stanley returned full force to his love of music.  He wrote and recorded original songs and cover songs of the musicians he loved, including the Eagles and Bob Dylan.  He enjoyed sharing time with his friends. 

He is survived by his dear brother Bill and his cousin Nancy and her husband Fred with whom he was very close. He was predeceased by his parents James P. Stanley and Ruth L. Stanley. 
Recent stories
Shared by Kimberlee Candela on September 9, 2021
I knew Bob from the department. I remember him in his office stuffed with books and papers, with a ready quip or a wry complaint. I also remember seeing Bob around town. Farmers’ market or downtown when he was out to lunch with good friends. Bob loved his friends and loved to laugh with them. 

I was a lecturer and enjoyed learning from others. Bob agreed I could sit in on one of his classes. I remember distinctly how engaged he was. And that he was teaching a case I knew well, but he had a whole different framework/approach that I found fascinating. 

Thank you to his family and close friends for such a well-written and beautiful tribute to Bob.