Robert Lerner died Saturday, March 2, 2013, at home with family, following a valiant struggle with throat cancer.
He was born in October of 1927, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was the child of Russian immigrants and was adopted at an early age by his maternal grandparents. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1946. From 1946 to 1948, he served his country and "saw the world" following WWII
. After his discharge he continued his education at Purdue University
. In 1951, he was re-called to active duty until April of 1952, where he was honorably discharged in San Francisco.
As a young sailor in San Francisco awaiting discharge, he decided to attend a dance. There he saw his future wife across the room and asked her to dance. After a whirlwind courtship, he married the love of his life, Marie. They traveled to Lafayette, Ind., where Robert completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University.
While in Indiana they had the first of their three children, Rachael. In 1953, they moved with their newborn daughter to Oxnard. In Oxnard Robert began a civil service career as electrical engineer for the Naval Missile Test Center at Point Mugu California. His job was to test and evaluate missiles for use with naval combat aircraft. Three years later in 1956 their son, Thomas, was born. In 1958, he moved his family to Boston to continue his education at M.I.T. In 1960, the young family moved to Ojai and a year later they welcomed their daughter, Julienne. In 1964, they moved to Ventura.
In 1975, he retired from Point Mugu after serving a distinguished 22 years for the Navy. Prior to retiring, he went to night school at Ventura College and U.C.L.A
. to study drawing and painting. He then began his second career as an artist and art teacher.
As a prolific artist he exhibited his work at galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. He taught painting and drawing in Thousand Oaks. In addition to his art, he filled his retirement with gardening, swimming, and cycling- participating in multiple century rides. In 2005, Robert stopped teaching art to care for his wife, Marie. In 2010, after fifty-eight years of marriage Marie passed away. As Robert began to recreate his life without Marie and make new friends he was diagnosed and succumbed to recurring throat cancer. Robert is survived by his three children, and their respective families, which includes seven grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held 1 p.m., Sunday, March 24, 2013, at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, 450 East Harbor Blvd. Ventura, Calif. 93001.