Robert Wilmott: 1948-2013

Robert Wilmott
Courtesy Photo

Santa Barbara has lost a wonderful man. Robert Wilmott passed away suddenly on January 10, 2013, in Arkansas, where he had flown to make final arrangements for his sister Diana Brown, who had died unexpectedly one week before.

Robert was a great character with a wonderful smile and big, loving heart. He worked as a graphic artist beginning in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, and then with Sunburst communities in the early ’70s, where he made lifelong friends. Robert’s graphic design career continued throughout his life in Santa Barbara.

He volunteered at the Santa Barbara Bowl for 29 years, first as an usher and then as assistant house supervisor. He took his position very seriously and always enjoyed the shows.

He began volunteering with the Organic Soup Kitchen in 2009 and was a tremendous help with their many holiday events.

Robert had a huge love of birds, and many people think of him with a bird on his shoulder. He had three birds at the time of his death: Pablo, Lola, and Osgood. They are now in the care of his close friends Sao and Lynn Win.

I was very fortunate to meet Robert in 1983, and we became fast friends. He quickly became part of the family along with my grandparents, mother, aunts, and uncles. He was included in all our family gatherings. My two daughters adored their uncle.

My husband, Gary, says, “He was more than a dear friend; he was a member of our family, and he enriched our lives in countless ways, from his vast computer knowledge to his love of life in general. He was always a joy to be with, and always willing to lend a helping hand. Although it should have been much longer, we are all fortunate to have had Robert in our lives. It’s sad that we will never see his smiling face, or hear his cheery voice and laugh again, but he’ll always be with us in our hearts.”

Daryl Todd adds, “Robert generously volunteered whatever he could to his friends. He had a lot of stuff because he loved bargaining and yard sales, and was always thinking of people who could use this or that. He gave me my first computer, along with a lot of support equipment as time passed. When the bank foreclosed on the place I was living in, Robert let me shower at his place, which kept me from the real disaster: When people can’t keep themselves clean, that’s when they truly become outcast. I always hoped I could repay him in some adequate measure, somehow, someday. Now all I can do is relate how it was, and say what I feel.”

The true tribute is how many people deeply cared for Robert. He will be sorely missed; his passing has left many people broken-hearted.

Please make donations to

A memorial celebration of Robert’s life will be held at the Leadbetter Beach picnic area (look for the silver balloons) on Saturday, February 2, 1-4 p.m. Bring a potluck dish to share.


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