Robert W. James (1922 - 2017)

8 entries
  • " It was a distinct honor to work with and learn from Bob..."
    - Charles F. Wynne
  • "I am honored I had the great pleasure of working for Bob at..."
    - Surinder Tumber
  • "I had the privilege to work with Bob at the Governor's..."
    - Paul Jacks
  • "Bob was a joy to work with. He was a kind gentleman with a..."
    - Erin McDermand
  • "My condolences to you and your family. I am so very sorry..."
    - Ylamarie Renshaw
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Service Information
Visitation
Thursday, May 25, 2017
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Calvary Catholic Cemetery
7101 Verner Avenue
Sacramento, CA
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Rosary
Thursday, May 25, 2017
7:00 PM
Calvary Catholic Cemetery
7101 Verner Avenue
Sacramento, CA
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Funeral service
Friday, May 26, 2017
10:00 AM
Calvary Catholic Cemetery
7101 Verner Avenue
Sacramento, CA
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Obituary

May 18, 2017 Bob James was born on July 5, 1922 in Alameda, California, the only child of Marion and Reg James. He was raised in Oakland. Bob's early years were framed by the sharp contrast between the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression, and the lessons he learned from both were omnipresent in his character. His deep-seeded values of selflessness and generosity were instilled by his parents, who always had a hot pot of soup on the stove to feed the hungry. Throughout his life, Bob shared his vast experiences and imparted his wisdom to many, including his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His profound and meaningful legacy will endure for generations. After graduating from Fremont High School in 1940, Bob enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, and lived at home to save money. His studies were postponed after two years at Cal, when Germany declared war on the United States and he joined the U.S. Army in support of Allied forces. Stationed with infantry units in North Africa and Italy, Bob served his nation with loyalty and honor in World War II, which set the stage for a lifetime of public service. Home safely from the war, Bob returned to his beloved Cal and completed his undergraduate work, earning a B.A. in Economics in 1946. He entered law school on the G.I. Bill at Cal's Boalt Hall, where he studied under and with some of the finest legal minds of his time. His experience at Boalt inspired his passion for a career in law, which he viewed as the most effective conduit to leverage his skillset in service of the common good. Bob graduated from Boalt in 1949, quickly became a superb lawyer, and was a dedicated public servant for 63 years. He went to work for the State of California immediately following law school, starting with the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Franchise Tax Board, and then moving on to specialize in water law. He joined the Reclamation Board staff, setting flood policy for California's Central Valley, and worked on flood-related water issues for more than a decade. In 1962, Bob joined the Department of Water Resources, where he spent five faithful decades. He truly loved his work, and retired reluctantly in 2012 at age 90. The list of Bob's accomplishments at DWR is long and distinguished. He supported 11 different DWR Directors. He worked closely with Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown and other high-ranking officials to develop the State Water Project, which he led as Deputy Director from 1975-1983 under (now Justice of the California Court of Appeal) Ron Robie. When asked why he chose Bob to lead the critical SWP, Justice Robie said "if there was one person in the department who had integrity and everything wonderful, it was Bob James... It turned out that he was absolutely wonderful. He was gentle and wonderful he ran the State Water Project for eight years and did a terrific job." Above all, Bob was devout in his Catholic faith and the quintessential family man. He married Barbara, the love of his life and wife of 55 years, in 1962. They built their family home that same year and never moved. Until the very end of his life, Bob and Barbara loved to entertain there together. Bob was particularly fond of his beautiful gardens, which he nurtured with meticulous care as his primary and most treasured hobby. The James home was the scene of countless good times over multiple decades from wedding receptions to holiday festivities to birthday celebrations to swim parties to casual Sunday night dinners, it was the central hub for their family and extended network of close friends. Bob cherished his large family and adored each and every one of them, including his many beloved beagles. His spirit endures in his wife Barbara; three children Bill Silver (Joan), Linda Haven (Ron), and Barbara Romo (Richard); seven grandchildren Mike Haven (Diana), Terri Malone (Chris), Joe Romo (Paula), David Silver, Angela Romo, Caroline Silver, and Katrina Romo; seven great-grandchildren Dani Malone, Matt Haven, Katie Malone, Jack Haven, Brody Romo, Olivia Romo, and Alex Romo; cousin Don James; many nieces and nephews; and his pup Sophie. Bob James was among the best of the Greatest Generation. His virtuous life was dedicated to others, and he forever will be loved, cherished and missed. Heaven has welcomed another angel. Services will begin on Thursday, May 25, with a Visitation from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Rosary at 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 26, at 10:00 a.m. All services will take place at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 7101 Verner Avenue, Sacramento. A reception will immediately follow at The Pavilion at Haggin Oaks, 3645 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the (www.heart.org) and/or the Sacramento SPCA (www.sspca.org).
Published in The Sacramento Bee from May 23 to May 24, 2017
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