August 28, 1930 - April 6, 2018 Fellow beach bums called him HiHo Silver for his spirit and wit and for the drive to be up and away. Bob lived free and funny. He was a competitive longboard and tandem surfer in the mid-1950s, and lit up the surfing world by becoming the first to ride the waves at night, with flares. A La Jolla native from a Jewish family, he co-founded the San Onofre Surfing Club, and won a team championship in Peru under its banner. He stayed a surfer at heart for the rest of his life. After an exciting tour in Marine Corps Counterintelligence, to which he remained devoted, he earned degrees in engineering at UCLA and in business at USC, creating a lifelong inability to pick a favorite in the famous sports rivalry. He spent a few successful years in the airspace industry, then built a boat with some buddies and veered off the beaten path, eager to see the world. Sailed around the world twice and got shipwrecked twice. Was first to cross the Atlantic on a catamaran. Hopped around the world for years by plane, train, bus, boat, donkey, horse, camel, elephant, and especially on foot with his thumb out. Mined for gold in the jungles of Ecuador (found some). Mined for gold in New Zealand (found none). Befriended the cannibal Bataks of Sumatra (no nibbling). Lived in the Afghan caves above the Bamiyan Buddhas. Was the second Westerner to sneak into the isolated Kingdom of Bhutan and the first to thumb a flight to Kathmandu with the then Prime Minister of Nepal. Dug out of a snow storm alone in the Karakorums. Met the Dalai Lama and complained he learned nothing. Back in Los Angeles, he joined both The Explorers' Club and the Adventurers' Club, where he built a reputation as a great storyteller, lecturing and showing film and slides from his travels. The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles, which he served as both vice president and president, became a lifelong passion. Adventure, he said, made life worthwhile. In the mid-1960s he bought a 1953 Mercedes Cabriolet 220A because his surfboard fit in the car. He liked it and bought a dozen other Mercedes of the early 1950s. A decade later, he was a world-recognized collector, award-winning restorer and Concours d'Elegance judge. He created a "Classic Car Restoration for Fun and Profit" class at UCLA Extension: a sell-out. A clown at heart, Bob cracked everybody up, every day. People around him were always smiling. His default setting was sunny side up. Favoring his compass over his watch, he could be a day early or a week late: made no difference. He lived on Bob time, and turned every one of his days into an adventure. HiHo Silver, away! He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Eva Peel, and by the family of his brother, Kenneth. If you want to hear his adventure stories, search YouTube for "Bob Silver Linings" and scroll down.
Published by Los Angeles Times from Aug. 30 to Sep. 2, 2018.