Robert Eugene Jett
Jan. 15, 1919 - May 7, 2013
Resident of Aptos
On a sunny May morning, Bob gave up his plan to live forever when he died quietly at home from complications of old age.
Bob was born in Lockeford, California, and lived there until his father lost his business as a consequence of the Great Depression. In the next few years Bob lived in 15 different towns in the San Joaquin Valley. This experience left Bob with the life long gift of affability. His family eventually settled in Visalia where Robert attended high school and junior college. He excelled in baseball, basketball, and football, earning the nickname "Ramrod" and two bad knees. Working at a peach cannery during the summer he met Wanda Cobb. He later married her on April Fool's Day 1942. Bob spent World War II with the Army air force in England. Upon his return home Bob tried several jobs including being a policeman and delivering soda pop. It was during this time his first daughter was born. Eventually he returned to school on the GI Bill, earning a Masters' degree in education from San Jose State University. Bob threw himself into his new career as the principal of an elementary school in the tiny Modoc County town of Canby. It was there that his second daughter was born. He ended his career as Superintendent of the Scotts Valley school district in 1974. In between he worked as a school administrator in Atwater, Lakeport, and Eureka. Robert loved interacting with students and working with teachers but grew to loathe the increasingly political climate of education.
During his long retirement, Bob became a master baker, kept bees and goats, read all 11 volumes of Durant's history of civilization, joined the Peace Corps and went to Samoa, drove all the way to Maine and back sleeping in the back of his Ford Taurus station wagon, and provided childcare for his granddaughter Cassie. In all these and many more adventures he was accompanied by his wife, Wanda.
Throughout his life Bob was a liberal, an avid yet fickle sports fan, a great storyteller, an endearing and exasperating father and grandfather, a loyal husband, and a warm friend to many. He also completely spoiled every pet he ever owned. Bob is survived by his wife Wanda and daughters Christine Lehrer and Heidi Jett as well as many both chosen and biological family members. A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Fellowship, 6401 Freedom Blvd, in Aptos on June 8th at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers please be kind to someone, or better yet, make them laugh.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on June 4, 2013