Certainly, a life well lived!
Bob Gaw passed away peacefully on Oct 24, 2023, at 94. He was blessed with an amazing life, filled with adventures around the globe. He made great friends throughout his travels who visited often at Bob and Jane’s (wife) home in Jacks Valley. The home in Jacks Valley was their dream home, which was designed by Jane. This was an incredible testament to them, their lives, and their love. It was filled to the brim with a vast collection of objects of art collected from their travels and living in both Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
Bob and Jane were married for 70 years. It is hard to think of Bob without thinking of Jane, she sadly predeceased Bob by two years. They shared so many passions together. They met at Lake Kirkwood, Bob the handyman at the Girl Scout camp and Jane the Girl Scout counselor. Their initial shared love of the outdoors was sparked there and continued throughout both of their lifetimes. Many hiking trips, backpacking, following the Immigrant Trail, Desolation Wilderness, Yosemite, McGee Lakes, John Muir trail, even their honeymoon was a backpacking trip! The list can go on and on, but the pinnacle of their adventure passion was a trip to the Himalayas. A three week trek with the family, 250 miles. That was a dream of Bob’s since being a boy, looking at National Geographic Magazines.
Lake Kirkwood was a passion and heart place. As a small boy Bob explored Kirkwood, as his father helped build the Sherman’s cabin, lifelong friends and neighbors in Berkeley. Bob became caretaker of that cabin when the Sherman’s moved East. When the opportunity of purchasing the family cabin presented itself, it was immediately seized. That cabin became the north star for Bob and Jane, with the “winter” home only 30 minutes away, when they retired, they were always up at the lake. They adored the hardships of no running water or electricity and rowing to the cabin, playing Canasta, reading, cooking, and eating all by kerosene light with the sound of a crackling fire. At the elevation of 7,690’ the family slept outside falling asleep looking at the stars seemly so close one could reach up and touch them, until the snow came - A great memory. The three sons essentially grew up at the lake every summer.
Considered a top educator Bob was regarded both nationally and on a global level. He had a Master’s degree from University of Reno with his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley. Throughout his career he collected a mountain of accolades.
After growing up in Berkeley, he started his career path in Sloan Nevada in a two-room school, which he and Jane ran. He then moved to Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Cove, to another two-room school (which is still there but much bigger now). He told stories about how they went down to the firehouse to watch TV and one of his duties was to man the local snowplow! FYI, he loved snow plowing, a tradition he continued at his and Jane’s house on Mont Blanc. Something about battling the elements and the ice in his beard. He then followed a path of Principal positions then to become the youngest Superintendent of schools in California at Reed Union School District in Tiburon. From there the family moved to Malaysia where he became the Headmaster of the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL). Per Bob “one of the best decisions of his life”. After the boys all graduated from ISKL, Bob and Jane took a sabbatical that was cut short with a great job offer from ARAMCO, in Saudi Arabia, where he became Superintendent of those schools for 10 years.
Bob and Jane soon discovered that living in Saudi was a great place to continue with their pursuit of adventure. They took multiple trips all over Europe including the alps rekindling their love of skiing. To them nothing beats a good day skiing followed by delicious food and great wine! The most amazing new passion they took up was scuba diving. They both took multiple endless courses and became Master Divers. They took that skill and traveled to some of the most spectacular dive sites in the world – The Maldives, the Red Sea, the South China Sea, the Caribbean, etc.
Bob retired after Saudi, and they built their dream house in Carson City, Nevada. They continued to travel, no continent was untouched except Antarctica, Bob still shooting roll upon roll of slides. He had close to 75,000 slides. They visited their grand kids and took up another passion, garden railroading. Under the cottonwoods, Bob built a huge layout in their backyard. Jane jumped in as well, painting all the miniature structures including the animated elements. A lot of the later travel was focused on visiting other backyard railroads, then returning with inspiration to better theirs.
Bob loved socializing and throwing parties as the neighbors and friends will attest to. To him there was nothing better than laughter, good conversation and a drink in hand.
Lastly Bob had an affinity to man’s best friend and always had a large dog by his side throughout retirement. Bob enjoyed having his best friend drive with him in the passenger seat. Bob called Jacks Valley Road, “Tory’s Lane”, because Tory always got so excited, he knew he was almost home.
Bob is survived and missed by his three sons-Michael, Jeffrey and Kevin & their spouses, four grandchildren, dearest friend Edith and his faithful four-legged friend Tory.