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Robert Wesley DeBolt

1931 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Robert Wesley DeBolt Obituary
DeBolt, Robert (Bob) Wesley

Robert (Bob) Wesley DeBolt,

Nationally recognized as 'Father of the Year' and an acclaimed public speaker featured in the Academy Award winning documentary "Who Are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get 19 Kids", passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2016.

Bob was born in Amarillo, Texas on August 19, 1931 to Mary Elizabeth and Russell Edwin DeBolt of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1955 with a degree in Civil Engineering and a lifelong pride in Sigma Chi Fraternity, which honored him as a "Significant Sig". While Bob proudly served in the U.S. Air Force, from which he retired as a lieutenant, he married Audre' Kellogg and they had one daughter.

As a professional Civil Engineer and single father, Bob moved to Oakland, CA in 1967, where he met the love of his life, Dorothy Atwood, on a blind date in 1970. Six months later they married and Bob's daughter, Dorothy's 9 biological and adopted children made a new family of ten. Over the next few years, the couple adopted 10 more children and founded AASK (Adopt a Special Kid) in 1973, the first adoption agency in the country to focus on placing special needs children; children like those in their family with physical handicaps, children from abusive homes & war-injured children from Vietnam.

AASK placed over 3,500 children into loving homes and in 2015 became a part of the Lilliput Children's Services (Lilliput.org, 916-678-7254), which continues the mission of placing special kids.

Using their talent for public speaking, Bob and Dorothy advocated for change in adoption to include sibling groups, multi-racial adoptions and single parent adoptions. Bob was appointed by President Carter to the President's Committee on Youth and Families and served as a board member of the National Council on Adoption in Washington, D.C. and the North American Council on Adoptable Children. In addition, Bob was honored by 4 U.S. Presidents and Congress and given numerous honorary degrees and awards.

Bob and Dorothy moved to El Cajon, California in 1987 and found new adventures hiking, fly fishing and traveling around the world.

Bob loved green chiles, was always able to find the humor in any situation and the good in everyone. His ability to unconditionally love each of his children was one of his many strengths.

He is survived by 18 of his 20 children; 27 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Having him as our father was a gift without measure. We will carry his love and laughter in our hearts forever.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Feb. 28, 2016
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