Bobbi (Roberta) Pearson
Bobbi (Roberta) Pearson passed away unexpectedly on August 2nd in Montrose, Colorado. She was 81 years young. She spent her final days in a state of pure elation in the splendor of the San Juan Mountains, surrounded by her beloved family and friends, who were gathered together for a music and nature-filled family celebration.
Born in Chicago to Mort and Sylvia Natker, she was the eldest, followed by Nadine and Andy. Her father owned a popular Chicago coffee and sandwich shop, where he worked long hours, seven days a week. Bobbi often helped out and inherited her father’s work ethic. She was also an honor student throughout her education in high school and at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. She was a leader too—president of her high school class and sorority.
Bobbi was always very popular. Her little brother Andy remembers all the boys she dated. At the University of Illinois she met her husband, Larry. When he called Bobbi to propose, Andy, who was 10 at the time, forgot to pass that message along. Eventually, she got the message, married Larry and proceeded to have three beautiful children, Scott, Todd and Jill, in quick succession.
Bobbi was an excellent pianist. Growing up, she played every evening with her mother, and later for the Chicago Symphony; she also played the guitar and clarinet and wrote songs, which she performed in high school, in college, and in their backyard in Glencoe, Illinois, where Todd would charge an entrance fee. Bobbi loved to dance as well; she danced like no one was watching, and no amount of her children’s embarrassment could stop her.
In 1972 the family left the extreme weather of Chicago and headed west to Montecito in Santa Barbara where the sun is almost always shining. With her creative skills, Bobbi made a new, warm and nature-filled home. There was a cornucopia of fruit trees and vegetables in the yard and their gardens were even featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. She quickly made life-long friends with like-minded, independent women, while still finding time to work as an editor and typist for UCSB graduate students.
Bobbi’s love for the outdoors spanned her lifetime. She grew up going on annual visits to the beach for summers in Union Pier, Michigan. She was a great swimmer her entire life. For the past 35 years, Bobbi would spend part of every year in Baja California, Mexico, surfing, body boarding, and riding her bike with her devoted partner Mike, whom she met in Santa Barbara in 1984. Together, they loved and cared for their own spot of Pacific Ocean beach eight hours’ drive off road from the nearest town. They built from local stones a beautiful beach house, surrounded by rock and flower gardens. Bobbi and Mike lived off the fish they caught, exploring the wild coast, and befriending local fishermen, seasonal birds, and adventuresome surfers, for whom “Punta Blanca” and “Bobbi and Mike” became surfer legend.
Bobbi moved to Columbia, California to live with Mike in 1985. Ten years later they created a small and still thriving business, Columbia Pinecones, collecting and selling specimen botanicals for florists worldwide. She lived there until her passing. Through their company, Bobbi found one way to share a small piece of her appreciation and passion for nature with the world.
Bobbi’s love was the glue that kept her family connected. She traveled widely to see the people she loved and sent cards to everyone for almost every occasion; she had regular, long conversations with an extraordinary range of people – even from Baja where her satellite phone dropped the call every five minutes. She was always the first to text or find a reason to reach out. Bobbi loved looking at photographs of her family and there was never a wrong time to pull-up an old black-and-white picture.
Bobbi’s love and care for her family and friends touched many others as well. She had such a deep interest in the lives of those she loved and also cared about their friends. That love, combined with her total lack of malice or guile gave her license to ask anyone just about anything, and to believe unquestioningly any response she was given.
Bobbi loved animals and spent countless hours observing the wildlife around her homes in California and Mexico. When a sad looking dog appeared chained up and apparently neglected on a neighbor’s porch, without hesitation, Bobbi marched into the neighbor’s land to do what was right. The ‘dog’ turned out to be a statue.
She was a political activist, especially during the anti-Vietnam War movement and volunteered to support the Chicago 7 during their conspiracy trial. She continued to be sensitive to injustices throughout her life.
Although Bobbi rarely attended synagogue, she felt a connection to her Judaism. She found her spirituality in nature, in the California mountains and the Punta Blanca beaches of Baja, where Bobbi found “tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
She lived an exceptionally happy, active and full life to the end. She loved and excelled at being a mother and grandmother; she was never as proud as when she was talking about her children and grandchildren. She was pure of heart, genuine, and a bright light that always shone with joy, curiosity, enthusiasm, and loving acceptance.
Bobbi is survived by her partner, Mike Ebert; her children, Scott, Todd, and Jill Pearson; her siblings Nadine Grobstein and Andy Natker; her daughters-in-law Diana Farrell, Adrienne, and Kirstin Pearson; her brother-in-law Mike Grobstein, and sister-in-law Roslyn Natker; her grandchildren Sam, Sonia, Grace, and Jasper Pearson; her nephews and nieces, Greg Grobstein, Shawn Kimber, Blake, David and Josh Natker, and their spouses, Lisa Grobstein, Kim Spurlock, Elana and Shannon Natker; and the Farrell and Ebert families; also by her former-husband, Laurence Pearson. And by her cat, Larry.
FUNERAL: 10 am Friday 12th August 2022 at Santa Barbara Cemetery, 901 Channel Drive, Montecito, California 93108
MEMORIAL: will take place directly following the funeral from approximately 12pm at the Rosewood Miramar Beach, 1759 South Jameson Lane, Montecito.
In lieu of flowers, you may make a tribute donation to the Humane Society of Tuolumne County