Bob Klausner, a civic leader, political advocate, and philanthropist departed this world on Sunday, March 27, after years of failing health, surrounded by his family. He left behind the love of his life, wife Betty Klausner, children Mimi (Kim), Drew and Kathy, their partners, Susan Stryker, Susan Klausner and Beni Strebel, brother Bill and family, Kampan, Boon Song and Khem, major domo and close friend Virginia Ribeiro, brother-in-law Clay Tedeschi, his Miller cousins, grandchildren Guston Sondin-Kung, Olive Sondin-Klausner, Noah Chasnoff, Max Strebel, Emma Strebel and Oscar Klausner, great grandchild Theodore, cousin Leslie Steinmetz and a large group of devoted friends.
Bob was born October 4, 1926 and raised by parents, David and Mickey (Miller) Klausner in Jersey City, New Jersey. He graduated from Yale University through the Navy’s V-12 program and served in the Navy from 1950 to 1952. He moved to Manhattan when he married Betty in 1950. Bob raised his family while working in sales for H. Warshow and Sons, a textile company manufacturing fabrics for girdles, bras and swimsuits.
Bob, Betty and Kathy moved to Santa Barbara in 1973. After spending the first half of his adult life in business, Bob was determined to spend the second half of his life leaving the world a better place than he found it. He became deeply involved in community environmental issues such as offshore oil production, recycling, conservation, and land use. He mentored many political reformers, and worked to keep local and regional governments accountable to their citizens. He purchased the Balboa Building on State Street, and managed the property between his political work, long walks in the Santa Ynez Mountains, playing tennis and travelling the world with Betty.
At Betty’s insistence, Bob moved with her in 1993 from his beloved Santa Barbara to San Francisco, where all their children and grandchildren were then living. He continued applying his business sense, analytical skills and philanthropic vision to a variety of projects including community mediation, investigative journalism, grand jury investigations, supporting progressive Democratic political candidates, and campaign finance reform.
Bob’s world began to crumble when Betty started showing signs of Alzheimer’s in 2006, and he could no longer recognize the woman with whom he had spent 60 glorious years. Eventually his own dementia made it difficult to undertake new public projects, and he gradually withdrew into increasingly intimate circles of friends and family.
Bob Klausner lived his life according to the values instilled in him by his parents, and a cherished family helper, Isabelle Glover: responsibility to one’s family, the importance of education, service to the community, civility, generosity, and an abiding faith in justice. A witty, warm, and wise old-school gentleman until the end, he will be missed by many. A memorial service is being planned in San Francisco.
Please no flowers; if you desire, make a donation to an environmental or government accountability organization.