Obituary – Robert ‘Bob’ Neilson

Bob Neilson

Robert A. Neilson (Bob) passed away September 11, 2020, at age 84, following surgery of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Born and raised in Upland, CA, Bob had two older sisters. He met his wife, Ann, in 1957, while serving as Chairman of the UCLA Rally Committee, a student group which generated and produced card stunts for half-time entertainment at UCLA football games in the Coliseum. Following graduation, Bob worked at local aerospace companies; then in 1962 Bob began work at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the family moved to La Cañada Flintridge. He worked on various projects, including Mariner, Voyager, SeaSat. He retired early and turned his attention full-time to citrus, as an owner-grower of an orange grove in Porterville. He served on various boards at Sunkist Growers, Magnolia Citrus Association, Fruit Growers Supply Co., and Tulare County Fruit Exchange.
Bob was active in the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assoc. since its beginning in 1978. Over the decades, he served as president, as a board member and as a float driver. His greatest enjoyment was building, sculpting, and welding the large figures that appeared on many of the LCF rose floats. Some of his favorite floats were “Lovely Hula Hams”, “Cactus Practice”, and “Scissored Wizard”, the theme submitted by his granddaughter Emily Neilson. Bob was a Board Member of La Cañada Valley Water Co. Bob was a friend of Bill W. for many years. He had a superb knowledge and appreciation of classical music and was a many-year Hollywood Bowl subscriber. He looked forward every spring to trout-fishing at June Lake.
Bob and Ann raised 4 children — Beth, Karen, Nancy, and Jim. They enjoyed annual summer camping adventures when the children were young; sleeping in the extra-large tent dubbed the “Canvas Hilton”. An all-family vacation to the 50th state, Hawaii, celebrated the Neilson’s 50th wedding anniversary 14 years ago. Bob is survived by his wife, Ann; son Jim; daughters Beth, Karen (wife Nicole Mathew), Nancy (partner Pam Griffith); and granddaughters Emily Neilson (partner Jay Richmond) and Gillian O’Neal.
We will celebrate Bob’s life and his adventures at a time when it is safe to be together.

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