Robert Pollock Hartzell (86) passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones on November 21, 2020.
Born April 16, 1934 in San Rafael, California, Bob began his university studies at UC Berkley. He was one of the original "Twinkling Tubas" in the Cal Marching Band. Bob transferred to UC Davis graduating with a B.S. in Plant Sciences. He was a brother in the fraternity of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Following a stint in the U.S. Army, Bob worked as an agronomist for Tillie Lewis Foods in Stockton where he helped to introduce Roma tomatoes to the U.S. market as well as moving tomato harvesting from hand-picked to a mechanized harvest. Under Governor Ronald Reagan, he served as Deputy Director of the Department of Food and Agriculture for the state of California. Following that post, Bob worked with the Iran-California Farming Company to develop desert lands for growing crops for the European market, and in Indonesia developing palm oil production. Bringing his professional life back to U.S. soil, he was co-owner of the Murphy's Historic Hotel in the foothills of California where he led the restoration efforts for the historic property. For 18 years, Bob served as Executive Director of the California Association of Wine Grape Growers (CAWG) working tirelessly to promote the wines of California receiving recognition from the United States House of Representatives for his contributions to the wine industry.
One of Bob's personal passions was music, and he was an accomplished pianist and organist. In addition to these instruments, he also played the bass fiddle in the Stockton Symphony Orchestra. He was instrumental in the restoration and installation of the theater pipe organ in the Bob Hope Theater in Stockton as well as the theater pipe organ at Ironstone Vineyards. Bob fulfilled his dream of combining agriculture, wine, and pipe organ music when he purchased the 2/11 Robert Morton Theater Pipe Organ that was originally installed in San Francisco's Castro Theatre in 1987, followed by the vineyard property on which he built the complex which would house the organ. The culmination of this dream was co-founding Harmony Wynelands with his wife Linda. He loved to entertain family, friends, and visitors by playing requests on the pipe organ.
Just a few of Bob's significant professional and personal distinctions are The Award of Distinction from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science at UC Davis (1998), the Stockton Arts Commission Service Award (2013), the Fox Bob Hope Theatre Meritorious Service Award (2006), Lodi District Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Person of the Year (1997). His great love of his community led to serving on many boards and committees including The San Joaquin Historical Society, The International Order of the Knights of the Vine (Founding Member-Lodi Chapter), Rotary International, the Order of the Masonic Lodge.
He will be remembered by his wife, Linda; by his children, Dana Day, Julia Saenz, and Mark (Susan); by his stepchildren, Shaun MacKay, Melinda (Will) Browning; grandchildren, Aimee Bangoura, Alana Clark, Brynna Day, Nicole Saenz, Savannah Saenz, William Hartzell, Haylee Hartzell, Harrison Browning, and Hugh Browning; five great grandchldren; sister, Mary Sue (Lt. Col. Thomas J) Wham; and nephews, Robert H Wham and Thomas B Wham.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Meredith Pollock Hartzell; his father, Oliver R. Hartzell; his brother, John Oliver Hartzell; and his nephew John Eric Wham.
Memorial Services are private. Donations can be made to Butterflfy Auxilliary-Hospice of San Joaquin (3888 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95204), Friends of the Fox (242 E. Main Street Stockton, CA 95202) or the Lodi Rotary Club Foundation PO Box 821 Lodi, CA 9241).
Published in Lodi-News Sentinel from Dec. 2 to Dec. 8, 2020.