Robert “Bob” Anton Isaacson

Date of Birth

June 29, 1948

Date of Death

September 25, 2012

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Robert Anton Isaacson – Bob or Bobby to his friends – died peacefully last Tuesday, September 25th, with his wife Sally and daughter Katie by his side. Bob had struggled valiantly with prostate cancer for over seven years.

Bob was born in Santa Barbara on June 29th 1948 and lived most of his life on his beloved El Chorro Ranch near Lompoc. He attended Vista Del Mar School in Gaviota and The Thacher School in Ojai. He received his BA in English at Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna) and his M.A. and teaching credential at UCSB. Bob taught English for 32 years at Allan Hancock College in both Santa Maria and Lompoc and during that time he authored two textbooks and published Unconsecrated Ground, a collection of his own poems. He and his wife Sally enthusiastically ran a beef cattle herd together for 35 years. Bob loved his horses, cattle, dogs, and cats.

Bob served on the Vista Del Mar School Board and as a board member for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. More recently he was a board member of the Vista Del Mar School Foundation. He was a member of the Society of Los Alamos and served as poet laureate for this group for 10 years.

Bob was a dedicated steward of the land upon which he was privileged to live. He worked hard to have his family’s ranch placed under a conservation easement with the California Rangeland Trust that will forever protect this beautiful place, its agricultural purpose, its native plants and wildlife, and will save it from development. One of Bob’s proudest moments was when he was named 2011 Conservationist of the Year by the California Rangeland Trust.

Bob had a great interest in the history of the west and he authored and co-authored a number of books and articles that have brought into print previously untold chapters of western history. These include Cattle Upon A Thousand Hills: Ranch Life in Santa Barbara County in the Twentieth Century As Recorded in Family Albums and The Muleshoe Cattle Company: An Anthology of Memories of Life on an Arizona Cow Ranch, 1906-1928. He also helped friends to publish volumes of important local history including the West of Highway 101: The Story of Clark Emmons and Our Seasons: Poems of the Land and Its People by Clark Emmons. Also, most recently, he edited, searched for pictures, and organized the publication, through his Muleshoe Press, of an historic manuscript: Reminiscences of Early California by Dario Oreña for Dibblee Hoyt and Oreña’s other living descendants.

Bob is survived by his wife Sally, his daughter Katie and son-in-law Will Haymes, his mother Esther, his brothers Dem and Bill, and his niece and nephews.

Bob’s family thanks Dr. Kass and Lydia, Dr. Schlosser and Tracy, and Dr. Curhan for their wonderful care and encouragement over many years.

For those who want to remember Bob, his family requests that you either make a blood donation at a center of your choice, or make a donation to the Bob Isaacson Scholarship Fund at Allan Hancock College.


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