William Robert (Bob) McCAFFREY

After 94 years of a long and full life, Bob left us in his usual quiet way on November 20, 2012. He passed away at home, in the company of his wife and children, and will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends. He was born June 20, 1918 in San Francisco, to parents William James and Mildred McCaffrey. The family soon moved to Healdsburg, where Bob grew up in a house on Johnson Street. During World War II, Bob served in the Army Air Corps, and was stationed in France and the Azore Islands. Like many of his generation, he attended college after the war with help from the GI Bill, and graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelors Degree in Animal Husbandry. One of his professors found him a summer job in 1946 at the Ridgewood Ranch, near Willits, where one of his duties was to care for a retired racehorse named Seabiscuit. That summer, while attending a rodeo in Willits, he met a girl from Napa named Marion Lawson. A year later, after taking his final exams at UC Davis, he whisked her away to Reno where they were married at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. This past June, they celebrated 65 years of marriage. Following graduation, he worked for General Mills for 25 years, testing cows and selling feed throughout the Redwood Empire. Bob and Marion lived in Petaluma and Ukiah, and then settled back in Healdsburg in 1960, raising their five children in a grand old Victorian on Matheson Street, where they lived for 38 years, and so many fond memories were made. When the stairs got too long and steep, they moved to their home in Windsor where they have lived for the last 14 years. During his years in Healdsburg, Bob was a parishioner of St. John's Catholic Church. He was a past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and was, for many years, an organizer of the annual St. John's Fair. He helped organized the annual Healdsburg Sports Banquet which, for many years, brought sports celebrity speakers to support the Healdsburg Boys Club. Bob and his family camped up and down the California coast when his children were young. He loved to camp with his family, and to tell bear stories to the children and grandchildren after the sun set. In later years, the trips were to Hendy Wood, Richardson's Grove, and Samuel P. Taylor State Park, where Bob insisted on always sleeping outside the tent under the stars. He enjoyed playing golf, and played into his late 80's, often with his brother, Art, and with his sons and son-in-law. He was a passionate fan of the Giants and the 49ers. Bob was a proud Irishman and a cowboy at heart. He loved to read the Western fiction of Louis L'Amour, and when he ran out of those books, started to write a book of his own on the travels of a cowboy. His wood carvings of cowboys and Sonoma county vineyards won several Blue Ribbons over the years at the Sonoma County Fair. Most days, he could be found wearing one of his assortment of Irish hats his children had given him through the years, and he took his favorite hat with him when he left us. Bob is survived by his loving wife Marion, and by his five children, Patricia McCaffrey, Mary Sikes (Ed), Michael McCaffrey, Colleen McCaffrey (Pete) and Matthew McCaffrey. He is also survived, and will be fondly remembered, by his grandchildren, Carrie Sheppard (Tracy), Danny Sikes (Staci), Mark Weiss (Sarah), Austin McCaffrey, Korinne McCaffrey, Kelsey McCaffrey, Lainey McCaffrey, and Kyra McCaffrey, and by his eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, and by his brother, Art McCaffrey, and his sisters, Margie McCaffrey and Virginia McCaffrey Lee. Friends and family are invited to a Memorial Mass at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, November 29, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Windsor. Private internment will be held by the family. Memorial contributions may be made to Home Hospice, whose care and support for Bob and his family gave peace and comfort to his final days.

Published Online in the Press Democrat from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29, 2012