Robert Ryan Baptista
Our family and our community lost a shining light on August 9, 2022, with the passing of Robert Ryan Baptista. Rob was born in San Francisco, Calif. on April 7, 1972, to Kathy and Robert Baptista.
The third of seven brothers, Rob grew up in Santa Barbara and attended Foothill Elementary, La Colina Junior High and graduated from San Marcos High School in 1990 where he was a standout athlete on the wrestling mat and the football field. Rob spent the better part of his 20s in Boulder, Colo., where he built Brother’s Boards and introduced a generation to the pleasure and peril of skateboarding. Known for his unparalleled athleticism in youth, he later took up more sedate pursuits such as yoga and golf.
Rob began his career in construction in 1996 and in 2004 founded RRB Construction in Santa Barbara as a General Contractor. He spent the last two decades building and renovating homes throughout Santa Barbara and fostered a highly respected following of clients and fellow contractors as well as developing and mentoring a strong family of employees.
To Rob’s family he was a father, a brother, a son, a friend and a mentor. He took on and relished in the role of the patriarch of the Baptista clan and all of their extended family. Rob honored his mother and often credited her for instilling in him his strength, love of family and respect for others. He was a loyal brother and a guiding light in his large family.
Rob was a dedicated father to his daughter, Arianna, and a father-figure to his eight nieces and nephews. He joyfully played Santa Claus at Christmas and traveled to London to celebrate Arianna’s graduation. He devoted time to support their academics, coach youth sports and enjoy activities while sharing in successes and milestones throughout their childhood and into adulthood. Rob fostered support and belonging throughout his family and celebrated their hopes and dreams as if they were his own. With his inherent generosity he was a champion for the wellbeing of his family, friends and employees alike.
Rob’s friends remember him as a massive presence full of light, love and authenticity. He was a unique soul who had a strong demeanor combined with empathy and kindness. Rob was the guy who, even after not seeing him for months (or years), would make you feel like you had just seen him yesterday. If Rob was your friend, Rob was your family – and he treated you and your children as his own. His friends of 50 years or of 2 years reveled in his adventurous spirit and respected his vulnerability. Times of friendship with Rob were full of his quick wit, contagious laugh and his million-dollar smile.
A consummate professional, Rob’s clients echo similar themes of not only his unrivaled professional skills, but also of his energy, enthusiasm, respect and integrity. Countless clients have come to consider Rob as not just their contractor but as part of their family. It is not uncommon to see Rob enjoying family dinner or a birthday celebration in a kitchen he built years before. Rob also built a crew that was like family – each and every one of them imbued with his culture of respect, integrity and professionalism.
Rob is survived by his mother, Kathy, and his brothers Shane, Adam, Josh, Brennen and Sam; his daughter Arianna and ex-wife Afshan; sisters-in-law: Stacy, Marianne and Mari; his nieces and nephews: Shawn, Jacob, Max, Jaden, Tehya, Soren, Settee and Rigel; numerous cousins and a large extended family. He is predeceased by his father, Bob, and his brother, Richard.
Rob’s light was genuine. He drew people together. His smile lit up a room and made you feel at ease. He was a great hugger and made you feel like he was hugging with all of his being. He was strong and brave while being vulnerable and empathetic. He had the carefree and adventurous spirit of a child and the honor and integrity of a man. He had a heart as big as his personality and a laugh as uplifting as his attitude. He was a champion for others’ hopes and dreams. Everything felt possible with Rob around. He was empathetic, vulnerable and honest. Rob put people at ease; strangers became friends in an instant.
Robert Ryan Baptista will be missed by many and forgotten by none. His passing changes all of our futures, and we are changed for having known and loved him. The light he brought into our lives will forever burn in our hearts.
In lieu of flowers, the Baptista Family has set up The Robert Ryan Baptista Memorial Scholarship at the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara to help local students with funds for college or trade school. Please click here to donate and write in “The Robert Ryan Baptista Memorial Scholarship” on the form. You can also donate directly to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara by check, with the scholarship noted in the memo. All donations are tax-deductible.
Additionally, please be like Rob and be the light, the love and champion that he was to all of your friends, family and those around you.