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Robert Ghirardelli


1930 - 2018
Robert Ghirardelli Obituary
Robert GeorgeGhirardelli

November 12, 1930 - October 15, 2018

Robert George Ghirardelli passed from this life on Monday, October 15, surrounded by his loving wife of 60 years and two of their sons and his brother.

Dr. Ghirardelli was born and raised in San Francisco and graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1948. He graduated from the University of San Francisco, summa cum laude in 1952. He received a Ph.D. in Chemistry with a minor in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1956.

Dr. Ghirardelli was serving a post-doctoral fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta when he met and married the former Mary Virginia Holder. After living in Istanbul, Turkey for two years where he taught Chemistry at Robert College, Dr. and Mrs. Ghirardelli (and their eldest son) moved to Durham, North Carolina and he began his career at the U.S. Army Research Office where he worked for 32 years, retiring as Director of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Division in 1994. He additionally held an Adjunct Professorship of Chemistry at Duke University. He was a Member of the American Chemical Society and was awarded the Marcus Hobbs Service Award in 1998.

While in Durham, Dr. Ghirardelli served 12 years as a member of the Durham City School Board, four as Chairman, and was active in numerous civic-minded groups and organizations. He was an active parishioner at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Dr. Ghirardelli retired to two seasonal homes in Hilton Head Island, SC where he was an active member of the Democratic Party, and Calaveras County, CA where he tended Ghirardelli Vineyards, now in its fifth generation of family management.

Dr. Ghirardelli is survived by his wife Ginny, brother Alan, children Mark, Linda, Alice, Thomas, and David, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Dr. Ghirardelli's was a life of purpose, well-lived.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests considering a donation to Food For The Poor, 6401 Lyons Rd., Coconut Creek, FL, (800) 487-1158.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 21, 2018
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