Robert W. Flather

Date of Birth

May 17, 1925

Date of Death

January 27, 2013

City of Death

Santa Barbara

05/17/1925 – 01/27/2013

Robert W. Flather, deceased January 27, 2013. He was born in Nashua New Hampshire on May 17th, 1925. After duty as a marine in the Pacific he returned to Princeton University graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering and then onto Stanford University for a degree in Business Administration. Bob worked for Hughes Aviation until Yellowstone National Park called him. His interest in back country management was legendary, going to extraordinary effort and sacrifice to protect Yellowstone. He performed many tasks and positions during his 40 year tenure with the park service including wilderness management, fire guard, establishing back country campsites, and working as a backcountry ranger until his 70th birthday. His role in mentoring Rangers in the gamut of skills required for backcountry patrol can not be exaggerated, and his ability to cover the country on foot was awesome. In 2000 Bob began a second career as a Cultural Resource Archives Researcher. His steel trap memory and accuracy with dates and locations made him invaluable to the staff as well as the many researchers he helped.

Unlike many of us, he chose to live a frugal, ascetic life, supported by his own resources, rather than participate in administrative activities. His preferences lay elsewhere, closer to the land, dedicated, focused and fiercely independent. Bob returned to Santa Barbara each winter to pursue his love for the beach, surfing, volleyball, and listening as well as researching his interest in Big Band Swing Music and early Jazz. His music collection is now at the UCSB Music Library. But, his real home was the Northeast quarter including the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone.

Bob will be sorely missed by his friends in the Yellowstone as well as Santa Barbara. He is survived by his brother Joseph Flather in Malvern, Pennsylvania and his nephew Curtis Flather in Fort Collins, Colorado.


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