Robert Thomas Flowers
Bob Flowers was born in 1942 in Long Beach, California. He was the first born of two expatriates from Ohio’s farm country, seeking relief from the cold winters and hot humid summers in Ohio by moving to golden California.
After Bob gained a sister and a brother, the family relocated to the beautiful forests of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to such small towns as Johnsondale, Bass Lake and Oakhurst, all having to do with the logging industry. Here Bob began his education in a 1-room schoolhouse. Also here, Bob acquired his love of the great ou doors; exploring through the woods, climbing trees and rock outcroppings, catching snapping turtles in the creeks, fishing in the ponds and lakes.
After a few years of what for Bob must have been an idyllic lifestyle, his parents decided that the kids should have better educational opportunities than those available locally and moved to San Bernardino and later to Rialto, California, where Bob grew up and two additional sisters arrived.
Like a lot of other Southern California boys of driving age, he enjoyed working on and drag racing cars. His first, a 1940 Ford coupe, he kept and more recently rebuilt. It will remain in the family, hopefully, long past it’s century mark, by Bob’s son Michael (Mick).
After graduation from San Bernardino High School in 1959, Bob commuted to what is now known as California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, working nearly full-time but still graduating in four years with a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering. He spent the next decade working for a civil engineering firm and later, a soil (now geotechnical) engineering firm, serving San Bernardino County.
Bob had always had a love for the Central Coast area of California. So, in 1972 he relocated to Santa Barbara having gained employment with the firm of Schmandt and Lenvik. At the time, in addition to much local work, the firm was responsible for the architecture and engineering for all restaurant sites nationwide for the exploding Sambo’s Restaurant chain.
He later went to work for Les Grant at U.S. Grant & Son, a firm that already employed Bob’s younger brother Steve, also a civil engineer. In 1978 Bob and Steve established Flowers & Associates, Inc., a consulting civil engineering firm.
Bob was capable of addressing any engineering challenge and did so throughout his career, both in the public works arena and, more often, in the planning and design of private infrastructure and land development. Of note is Bob’s design of the Mission Canyon Sewerage Project which extended public sewers into the rugged Mission Canyon area, allowing abandonment of septic tanks and mitigating the perennial groundwater and creek contamination issues.
It was in Santa Barbara that Bob began and continued training in martial arts, earning his black belt in Koei Kan Karate. Throughout his life, Bob maintained his connection with the great outdoors. He was frequently hiking the local trails and into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When time permitted, Bob went on extended and much more rigorous and challenging trekking and mountaineering forays to many parts of the world including Europe, Asia and South America. Bob was most proud of his trek through the Annapurna Circuit in central Nepal, of climbing Mount Aconcaqua in Argentina, and his climbs on the Alps in Europe.
Bob’s involvement in engineering, development and community issues went beyond just his business interests. He was always willing to participate on public/private sector committees or otherwise provide his insight on matters affecting local planning and development or redevelopment, when solicited by government agencies. He was a board member with the California Council of Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors for many years. He sat on the Elings Park Board of Directors, providing input to the planning for development of this valuable community resource.
It was at Flowers & Associates’ 40th anniversary celebration in 2018 that Bob announced his decision to retire. Sadly, he was unable to enjoy a lengthy retirement, being stricken by a stroke in December 2019. He battled to recover from the effects of this stroke for over a year, but finally succumbed to them this last week at his home in Orcutt, California.
Bob is survived by his wife of 33 years, Cindy; his sons Thomas (Heidi) and Michael (Mick) and daughter Stephanie Nelson (Tim); his sisters Jean Anderson (Ken), Mary Pebworth (Mike) and Carol Lorenz (Alan); his brother Steve (Ellen); his nephews Mark Anderson (Alicia), Robert Gamage, Steve Gamage (Monique), Brian Gamage (Rose), Joel Allen (Kim), Craig Flowers, Jason Flowers (Kaylin); his nieces Denise Housatchenko (Walt), Erin Flowers, Kristin Flowers, Kerry Lorenz and Kelly Lorenz; and his grandchildren Marcus Flowers and Mae Flowers.
Bob was a good, fun loving, gregarious man. He made innumerable friends and colleagues throughout his life, and not just in Santa Barbara. He will be greatly missed!
After the COVID19 Virus risks have been resolved, the family plans to hold a celebration of Bob’s life at Elings Park.