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Celebration of Life
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Bob Fouts

1921 - 2019
Bob Fouts Obituary
Bob Fouts

Robert Oliver "Bob" Fouts passed away peacefully on July 7, 2019 at the age of 97 while residing under the thoughtful care of the staff at Heritage on the Marina in San Francisco. He was born on December 19, 1921 in Sacramento, California, and was the son of John ("Ollie") and Matilda ("Tillie") Fouts.

Upon graduating from Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, he accepted a journalism scholarship to St. Mary's College in 1939 where he lettered in baseball as a third baseman for the Gaels and also was instrumental in starting the student radio station. Bob saw his academic endeavors interrupted with America's entry into World War ll when he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps (later changed to the Department of the Air Force). After the war, he stayed in service as a reservist rising to the rank of Colonel, before retiring after 30 years in 1973.

Bob began his legendary announcing career at KROY in Sacramento, then moved to the Bay Area to join the staff at KYA. He then began a twenty year plus relationship with the San Francisco 49ers as their play-by-play announcer, alternately calling games on both radio and CBS television. During the 49er years, he earned the nickname "Red Dog" after his descriptive analysis of the all-out blitz against the quarterback.

Along with the Niners, he handled announcing duties for St. Mary's as well as the famous USF Dons 1951 'Undefeated, Untied and Uninvited' football team. His announcing skills were not limited to the gridiron, as he covered every imaginable sporting event over the course of his career. He called games for the USF Dons 1955 and 1956 NCAA basketball champions; numerous Olympic Games; major golf championships including the U.S. Open and British Open; and San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League baseball games. He worked as sports anchor for Bay Area radio stations KSFO, KCBS and KYA, and television stations KPIX and KGO.

When the Philadelphia Warriors franchise moved west, Bob called San Francisco Warrior games through the Wilt Chamberlain era. His penchant for hard work and the art of describing the action on the field, or the court, or in the studio was second to none, which led to his induction in 2008 into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame.

He interviewed hundreds of legends of the sporting world, including Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, 'Gorgeous Gussy' Moran, Chris Evert and 49er icons Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry, Bob St. Clair and John Brodie.

While having the honor of working with so many of these great athletes, Bob took the greatest pride in watching his son Dan (current CBS football analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback) get drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1973. In 1982, when the Chargers visited the 49ers for a late season meeting at Candlestick Park, Bob was the one being interviewed. A reporter asked him which team he was rooting for - the team that he had covered for so many years or the Chargers. He was quick to come up with an unequivocal but typically diplomatic response: "I'm rooting for the only native-born San Franciscan playing on the field!"

He was proud to serve as Public Affairs Director for the Office of Economic Opportunity and Health, Education and Welfare in San Francisco in the 70's and 80's.

Bob will always be remembered for his professionalism, tact and dedication to the industry that he helped to pioneer in so many ways. He was a mentor to countless broadcasters early in their careers, and has been consistently described by people from his professional life as well as his personal life as "a true gentleman" and "a good man."

Bob married Julie Ann Clark in 1968 and they settled in the Marina District. They enjoyed travel, spending time with family and friends and in the homes they built in Sea Ranch and Ireland. He was a devout parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul in San Francisco, where he could always be counted upon to help others in need. He became a ham radio operator, was an avid reader of history, took piano lessons in his 80's and remained a great sports fan until his last days.

He is survived by his loving wife Julie and his children Bob Fouts and his wife Barbara of Borrego Springs, CA; Patty Harkins and her husband Tim of Spokane, WA; Nancy Bilbao and her husband Frank of Spokane, WA; Dan Fouts and his wife Jeri of Sisters, OR; and John Fouts and his wife Suzy of Scappoose, OR. Bob had seventeen grandchildren and twenty-seven great grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be held on August 9, 2019, 1 PM at St. Vincent de Paul Church located at 2320 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94123.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to San Francisco SPCA or Heritage on the Marina Health Center in Memory of Bob Fouts.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 14, 2019
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