May 22, 1924 - August 28, 2013
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Robert "Bob" MacAlister, a Caltech-educated Engineer whose distinguished career in the international oil business led him and his first wife, Catherine, to many parts of the world, has died at age 89 in Camarillo, California. Living there since his retirement in 1986, MacAlister died at home peacefully.
Bobby, as he was known as a youngster, was born in Los Angeles in 1924 to Iris and Robert MacAlister, Sr. Bob Sr. was an LA City Councilman during the Depression; Iris was a school teacher with a yen for leading international travels. Bobby, who developed handyman skills and was good with tools, worked as a mechanic in a Richfield gas station during high school. He installed a racing camshaft in a '24 Model A Ford and set the drag-racing speed record of 114 mph on the Mojave salt flats in 1941. Graduating from LA High School in 1942, Bobby attended UCLA until he entered the Army infantry and fought under General Patton in the Battle of the Bulge around Bastogne, Belgium for which he received a combat infantryman's badge and 3 battle stars.
Bob had a successful Shell Oil career for 21 years, and then joined Occidental Petroleum in Libya in 1969, followed by heading up Occidental's pursuits in the UK North Sea, Canada and Australia. He finished his career in London with Hamilton Brothers, the first company to produce oil in the North Sea.
Bob is survived by his second wife, Grace Schultz LeClerc of Edmonton, Alberta, whom he married in 1995 (Bob's first wife, Catherine, died in 1994 after 47 years of marriage), brother Louis Bolanos, son Rodney and his wife Mary and their children Martin and Lucy, and daughter Sara and her husband Phil and their children Henry and Charles. Bob gave most of the credit for his outstanding career to the top-quality education he obtained at Caltech, and proudly invested in the educations of his grandchildren from elementary school through university.
A private memorial service will be held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, friends wishing to make donations in Robert MacAlister's name are invited to do so at the Young America's Foundation supporting the Ronald Reagan Ranch (www.yaf.org).
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 6 to Sept. 8, 2013