Robert "Bob" Lawrence (1915 - 2013)

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  • "Robert served as a member of the Sierra College Friends of..."
    - David Dickson
  • "As a faculty member at Sierra College, Bob was a respected..."
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    - Harold (Buck) Gein
  • "I took Physics at Placer High in 1951 from Robert Lawrence...."
    - Takasumi Kojima
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Robert "Bob"
1915 - 2013

Robert "Bob" Lawrence, a resident of Auburn since 1946, passed away on January 14, 2013 in Auburn. He was 97. He will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives he touched throughout his lifetime.
Bob began his career in Auburn in 1946 teaching Physics and Math at Placer High. In 1948 he transferred to then Placer College, now Sierra, where he taught Physics and Astronomy for 38 years. His students knew him as an inspiring and interesting teacher with demos of the principles of physics that students remembered forever. During his tenure at Sierra, he held numerous faculty positions, and was an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers, California Association of Physics Teachers, and numerous Community organizations. He served on the Placer County Grand Jury and, for several years, was on the Auburn Airport Commission.
Bob was born in 1915 in Corvallis, Oregon, where his father was a professor of Botany at Oregon State University. Growing up around the university science departments, he soon discovered his love of the physical sciences. After high school he enrolled at Oregon State as physics major and after World War II spent several summers to complete his Masters. As a loyal "Beaver", he returned to the campus often, most recently in June 2012 for his 75th Reunion where he was presented with a Medal of Honor by the University President.
During World War II, Bob worked for the Navy as a Physicist in the Pacific Fleet Deperming Stations in Seattle and Portland, demagnetizing minesweepers, submarines and allied cargo ships. This process, known as degaussing, involved winding large cables around the ship's hull and passing electrical current through the cables to remove the magnetism from the steel hulls to prevent detonation of underwater mines. In the 1950's Bob was the Placer County RADF Field Team Leader training local science teachers and engineers to serve as data gathers and instrument operators in the case of nuclear attack during the Cold War.
Because of his varied background and experience, Bob often spoke at Auburn service clubs and citizen organizations about science and technology subjects. After retiring from Sierra College in 1984, he continued to be active in the community as a member of Sirs, Friends of the Library, American Field Service, and the docents at the Folsom Power House State Park.
In the 1980s and 90s he traveled regularly with his wife, Pat, to Latin America, Europe, and around the U.S. At 94, he was off to Turkey and Greece to fulfill a life long dream to see the Ancient world. Wherever he went, he faithfully carried his cameras. He loved to document his travels, the people he met along the way, and the lives and interests of his family.
Bob is survived by: his son, Richard and wife, Denise of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and their two children, Diana and Daniel; his son, James and wife, Theresa, of Park City, Utah; sister-in-law, Millicent Coverston, niece Sandy Silva, and nephew Steven Coverston of Auburn; and nieces and nephews and their families in Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts.
The family will hold a Memorial Service in Bob's honor in March at the Congregational Church grounds in Auburn, Calif. A notice will appear in the Auburn Journal in early March.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on Jan. 30, 2013