Don rang me recently to pass on the sad news that his dad Bob had passed away at his home in Santa Barbara, with family by his side.
Bob was a really nice bloke who I had the pleasure of knowing over a period of many years.
Don’s dad had a long association with Australia, starting in World War 2 as a young man in the US Navy, helping defend Australia along with our various dads, uncles etc from the threat of Japanese invasion in the Coral Sea. I once bought him a beer to thank him for his part, which he said was fair enough, but I think when you were personally involved it’s really not.
The family lived in Australia when Don was young and later visited Don and his family here on a regular basis over the years.
A now retired Professor of Geology at University of California Santa Barbara, Bob was a very bright man and a modest down to earth one who related easily to all kinds of people. He had a good sense of humour and enjoyed a laugh.
Kind and generous, he and wife Ginny would think nothing of housing many a stray visitor from around the world, including those from Oz. He once gave me detailed directions over the phone, without consulting a map or computer, on how to get to their home on California back roads from Nevada avoiding traffic – a distance of around 700 km – from memory! from his many field trips. We arrived without a hitch.
Bob was impressive and interesting. He used to say over a glass of Aussie red that he’d been fortunate in knowing interesting people throughout his life. If that was the case, it was because he was an interesting man. Among his many accomplishments he and his brother for instance were instrumental in the establishment of a series of nature reserves in California.
Condolences to Don, mum Ginny, and the whole Norris family here and in the US.