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Robert William Guthrie


1921 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
Robert William Guthrie Obituary
Guthrie, Robert William SAN DIEGO -- Robert was born in Santa Monica, California March 15, 1921 to Harry and Catherine Guthrie. The family relocated to Point Loma when he was a young boy; Bob attended Point Loma HS and finished his education at Cal Berkley and UCLA. He was a "true San Diegan" and often remarked how he couldn't understand why anyone would choose to live elsewhere. His college studies were interrupted by the onset of war and Bob enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot flying the most advanced plane at that time, the P38. He was stationed in the China/Burma air theater and was awarded the Soldier's Medal of Honor for removing three men from the wreckage of a burning plane. When he returned from overseas he began his career in retail in the Sears Management program, and through family was introduced to his future bride, Donna Marie Reis. Bob and Donna raised three children, Robert Jr., Christine and Deborah and the family lived in El Cajon where, in postwar 1952 they opened the first of five retail stores they would eventually operate with their last name as the moniker. "Guthrie's" was to go on a transformative journey from children's to junior's clothing and they opened the next two stores in Ocean Beach and College Grove. Bob was a retail visionary and when Fashion Valley opened he again transformed his business and left the junior market behind, focusing on sophisticated women's clothing. Within a few years he opened the last store in University Towne Center. An avid golfer he spent years "perfecting" his swing and joined Singing Hills Country club where the family spent the hot, dry summers around the pool while Bob golfed. Bob and Donna had a love of the ocean and owned a vacation home in Mission Beach. He was a gifted bodysurfer and enjoyed the sport well into his 70's. Family and friends spent days at the beach and evenings gathered for great dinners, jazz music and lively conversation, usually centered on liberal politics. Guthrie's closed in 1987, and never being a man to sit still, Bob began his Copper Art business which became a full time endeavor where he and Donna traveled to art exhibits in the Southwest. Donna's death in 2009 was devastating and his final years were spent in constant contact with his children, grandchildren and wonderful neighbors. He passed away June 5, 2014 at the age of 93 after a long and interesting life. He is survived by Bob Jr. and Nancy Guthrie, Christie and John Whalen, Deborah and Chris Dryden and his cherished grandchildren; Billy LeGrand and his wife Anna, Ryan Guthrie and Carly Dryden. Bob will be interned at Holy Cross Cemetery with his beloved Donna. We will miss him terribly and hold him forever in our hearts. Condolences to PO Box 2055, La Mesa, CA 91943.
Published in U-T San Diego on July 27, 2014
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