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Robert Ronald Obituary (1926 – 2022) – Dixon, CA

robert ronald
March 14, 1926 – May 14, 2022
Robert Ronald passed away, surrounded by family, on May 14, 2022 at the University Retirement Community in Davis, CA where he lived with his wife Trish Ronald.
He was born Robert Rosenthal on March 14, 1926 in Berlin. His de he fled Germany in 1933 and lived freely in Paris until September 1939 when France declared war on Germany. The French Government then placed his el father, Kurt, and most other foreign men, in a series of French internment camps and barred Robert and his two sisters from attending school. On June 12, 1940 Robert, his sisters and his mother caught the last train out of Paris before it fell to the Germans. They spent the next fifteen months in Cassis-Sur-Mer, in the South of France. With the help of a relative in New York, and HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which today helps all people fleeing persecution), Robert’s mother obtained visas and in August 1941 the entire family, including Kurt, sailed to Cuba.
Robert spent the rest of the war in Havana, going to school, working various jobs and finally cutting diamonds to help support his family. On August 14, 1946, Robert and his family left Havana for New York City. Two years later he traveled to California and spent the 4th of July in Lake Tahoe. I have loved both Tahoe and San Francisco so he decided to stay. He worked in various sales jobs and then managed a flag manufacturing business. In 1952 he started his own flag business, and was also proud to have founded The Job Forum to help young people find work. The Job Forum is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
Robert was drafted into the US Army in 1954 where he worked as a clerk and attended the college level courses offered to soldiers. Through his language skills and general resourcefulness he eventually got himself posted to the San Francisco Presidio and moved back into his boarding house on Jackson Street. He was honorably discharged in January 1956. That same month he enrolled at San Francisco State University where he met the love of his life, Patricia Fobes. In 1957, Robert graduated from San Francisco State (fulfilling a lifelong goal of obtaining a college degree), began a successful insurance career ( excelling at sales because he always put his client’s interests first), and married Trish (“the single best thing I ever did in life”). The newlyweds purchased their house on Parrott Drive in San Mateo where they raised three children and lived happily for 63 years. Robert and Trish also built a cabin in South Lake Tahoe in 1959 where they enjoyed hosting family and friends over the next six decades. They moved to Davis in December 2021.
Robert cherished his family and his many close friends in San Francisco, San Mateo, Lake Tahoe, Cuba and in the insurance industry. I have read extensively, especially historical non-fiction and political memoirs. I have loved opera, Trish’s cooking, fine food and especially dessert. He enjoyed nothing more than sitting down to a meal with friends and new acquaintances and listening to their life stories. In his memoir Last Train to Freedom, Robert documented his own story of escape from the Nazis and life in America.
Robert was as generous as he was punctual, never stinting of opinion and always picking up the check. Robert’s extraordinary life experience, intellect, humor, wisdom and interest in others had an immediate and lasting impact on all who were fortunate enough to know him.
Robert is survived by his wife Trish, and three children, Peter (Jane Miller), Pam (Raoul Adamchak), and Rick (Anne Harper), his niece Vivian Grosswald Curran and his seven grandchildren: Erin and Eli Ronald, Cliff and Audrey Adamchak , and Jackson, Cooper and Elly Ronald. Robert was so very proud of all of his grandchildren, and also admonished them often not to take their privileges for granted.
We take comfort in the knowledge that Robert lived a full life, and that his philosophy and spirit will continue to inspire us. A celebration of life will be held at 10:30 AM on June 23 in Woodside. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations be made to HIAS (, the League to Save Lake Tahoe ( or a charity of your choice.

Published by San Francisco Chronicle on May 19, 2022.

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