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Robert L. SHRADER Notice
The world has lost one of the most amazing men who ever lived, and our family has lost a marvelous husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Born in Oakland, CA, October 20, 1913, Bob passed away quickly and peacefully at age 98 with his family at his side on April 11, 2012 in the home that he and his wife built near Freestone, CA. It was time for him to go. He had done everything a man could do in a lifetime. Bob "W6BNB" is survived by Dorothy "W6ECU", his loving, devoted wife and constant companion for over 71 years of marriage. Also survived by son Doug "KJ6TEJ" (Juanita) of Santa Rosa, daughter Patricia (Tom) Niles of Owego, NY, grandson Scott (Erin) Niles, granddaughters Kristen Shrader and Dawn (Sadegh) Yazdi, great-grandson Jake Niles and great-granddaughters Leah Niles, Hanna Yazdi and Parisa Yazdi. Starting at the age of 10 by building crystal radio sets, he began the pursuit of his lifelong passion for wireless radio communication and electronics which began while on a cruise to Hawaii with his parents in 1923. The ship's radio operator, a man from Sebastopol, Earl Wohler, invited Bob up to the ship's radio room. Thus began a lifelong friendship that lasted many decades until Earl's passing. Upon graduation from high school, Bob obtained his amateur radio license, W6BNB, and became a licensed commercial radio operator. This was at the height of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, but he was hired on as a shipboard radio-telegraph officer for the Dollar Lines, something unheard of for someone so young. Over the next several years he sailed around the world six times and trans-Pacific many more. Oh, the stories he has told about adventures in exotic ports-of-call all around the globe. In 1939 Bob became a deputy sheriff in Alameda County in charge of radiotelegraph operations. He married the only love of his life, Dorothy Fox, in 1941. At the beginning of World War II he began teaching radio and electronics to cadets on Treasure Island. He was assigned the rank of Lieutenant in the U.S. Maritime Service and they relocated to King's Point, NY, where he instructed cadets at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He returned to his sheriff's position at the end of the war, but soon found his calling teaching electronics at Oakland Central Trade School, later known as Laney College. Bob turned his teaching materials into one of McGraw-Hill's top selling textbooks, "Electronic Communications", published in 1959 and in continuous production through edition 6 in 1991. This book was followed by many others, published in several languages. He retired and moved to Sebastopol in 1969 and built his home five miles west of town at the top of a hill among towering redwood groves. Bob continued authoring books and publishing numerous technical articles for national magazines. He joined the Freestone Fire Department in 1969 and quickly advanced from firefighter to Captain to Chief of the department. He orchestrated the merger of Freestone FD and Twin Hills FD in 1978 and served as President of the Twin Hills Executive Board after that. In 1997 he wrote and published "Fire Fighting, How It's Done". Bob was the founder and member of local, national and international radio organizations, and the recipient of awards and honors too numerous to list. At the age of 97 he researched and wrote "A Freestone Area Story". He was active and alert until his final day. The photo above was taken one day prior to his passing. You could see the sparkle in his eyes the moment he put on his old Merchant Marine officers cap. There will never be another like him. There will be no services. If you would like to honor Bob's memory, the family suggests making a donation to: Mid-Florida Multiple Sclerosis, 2701 Maitland Center Pkwy Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32751
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Apr. 18 to Apr. 21, 2012
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