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Alan Merle Robb

Longtime Claremonter, beloved father, aerospace industry veteran, Kiwanian

Alan Robb, loving husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather, died unexpectedly on April 17 in Pomona at the age of 74.

A 33-year resident of Claremont, Alan was born on July 18, 1945 in Winslow, Arizona to Josephine Helen Calhoun Robb and Clement Merle Robb.

He attended kindergarten through 12th grade in the Winslow Public Schools, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in spring 1968. He was an outstanding athlete in basketball and baseball and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. He joked that it was his inability to hit the curve ball that ended his short baseball career. 

He married his college sweetheart, Mary Sherron, in August of 1969. They raised their two children, Jeff and Doug, in Chino.

Mr. Robb worked in the aerospace field for 35 years, estimating and negotiating government contracts at the same location at the corner of Bonita and Garey avenues in Pomona. Over the years the company was known as Perkin-Elmer, Orbital Science Corporation and Hamilton Sunstrand.

He worked on the Viking program, the International Space Station and CAMS (Central Atmospheric Mass Spectrometer), to name just a few. After relocating to Claremont in 1987, his office was less than a three-minute drive from his home, prompting him to brag about his short daily commute! He retired in the spring of 2000.

He met Susan Mortorff in November 1992 and their love for each other was instantaneous. They were married the following May at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Claremont with their combined family of four children serving as their attendants. There was not a dry eye in the church during the service. 

During their nearly 27 years of marriage, the couple had a very close, loving relationship as they traveled the world together, cherished memorable times with family and friends, frolicked with cocker spaniels Murphy, Rile and Rosie, worshipped together, experienced the birth of six grandchildren, and the death of a son. 

“Alan was a warm, special person who will be remembered for his bright smile and loving personality, his friendliness to all, and his willingness to get to know anyone who was fortunate to meet him,” his family shared. “He touched many lives with his kindness, his sense of humor, and his love of life.”

Among his favorite memories were annual ski trips to Mammoth with the brothers and nephews, as well as the annual Robb Fourth of July party. Children and family often heard him state his strong belief that “family is all.” It was a premise he always followed.

He was blessed with several nicknames over his lifetime, including “uncle Al, the kiddies pal” by his young nieces and nephews and “skinny man” by high school friends and teammates. But most frequently he was called “Al-boy,” which was coined by his father and used among family throughout his life.

He joined the Claremont Kiwanis Club almost immediately upon retiring and so enjoyed the special camaraderie of this group. Over the years his volunteer work included organizing the club’s pancake breakfasts and concessions at the city’s  Monday night concerts in the park.

He also coordinated the Kiwanis Club’s Read Me program, a project that utilizes volunteers to read to small groups of preschool children from limited means families, special needs children and transitional kindergarten students in the Claremont schools, in which each child receives a copy of that week’s book to take home to start their own personal library. The children, teachers, aides and office assistants he met as he worked on Read Me touched his life deeply. Even after several years, children would recognize him downtown and give him big hugs. He cherished the interactions this project brought to him.

Mr. Robb came from a large family, with seven siblings who remain close to this day.

He was preceded in death by his son, Doug, and sister, Nancy Bealer.

He is survived by wife Susan, of Claremont; son Jeff Robb, daughter-in-law Shawnna, and grandchildren Luke and Olivia of Carlsbad; stepson Kirk Albert, daughter-in-law Grace and grandchildren Tyler and Kayden of La Crescenta; stepdaughter Wendy Albert DeMille and grandchildren Cecily and Addison of Las Vegas. He is also survived by his brother Gerry Robb and sister-in-law Karen Angona Robb of Spokane Valley, Washington; twin brother Duncan Robb and sister-in-law Carolyn of Chino Hills; brother Tim Robb and sister-in-law Celeste of Flagstaff, Arizona; sister Merlene Robb of Independence, Missouri; and sister Alice Reidenbach of Glendale, Arizona.

Robb family nieces and nephews include Bryan, Michael, Chet and Kellie Robb; Krista Lowman, Camille Andreas, Susan Rudnicki (deceased), Mark and Brad Hawthorne, Evan and James Leander, Johnna Montgomery, Cassie Noel, and Joanna and Colleen Reidenbach (both deceased).

“Family and friends miss him deeply; he always smiled at the world and made us feel a little brighter each day,” his family shared. “May the Lord keep him close in our hearts until we all can be together again.”

A celebration of life will be held at a later date due to COVID-19 virus.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Alan Robb’s name by mail to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, with “Alan Robb Memorial Fund” in the memo line, 1700 N. Towne Ave., Claremont CA 91711; The Claremont Kiwanis Club README Program at www.claremontkiwanis.org, or by mail to Claremont Kiwanis Foundation, PO Box 1774, Claremont, CA 91711; or to The Humane Society of the United States at www.humanesociety.org.

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