Bob was born in San Diego, California on December 8, 1957 and remained a native San Diegan until his passing on January 20, 2023. Bob had a happy childhood growing up in Serra Mesa with his parents, Faith and Ralph, brother Gary and sisters Ann and LaRae. Early in life, his mom nicknamed him “Bobby Don’t” because he wanted to learn and was curious about absolutely everything in his world. His neighborhood was family oriented so he and his siblings always had a lot of friends ready to play. Along with his friends, Bob enjoyed riding his bike to the San Diego Stadium on Friars as it was under construction to explore the development and its structures. Bob’s kind heart, love and integrity was the result of his sweet mom who instilled in him the value of faith, family and friendship.

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When Bob was 10 years old, his family moved to Encinitas which was considered “country” back then. A country boy at heart, Bob loved living in Encinitas and was featured in a local newspaper article for delivering the newspapers on his route by horseback. Bob and his horse, Bill, were best friends and he lovingly cared for him each and every day. Law enforcement was always a career goal and Bob volunteered as a Sheriff’s Explorer while attending San Dieguito High School. Before graduating, he worked at Thrifty’s as a general clerk and at Colony Kitchen as a prep cook. The cooking skills he developed at Colony Kitchen were always appreciated by his wife and children later in life. After high school, Bob attended Palomar College and worked as a Sheriff’s Cadet at the Encinitas Sheriff’s Station.

One month after his 21st birthday, Bob formally began his career in law enforcement as a Recruit in the 92nd San Diego Police Academy. During the four month academy, Bob forged many deep and lasting friendships that he cherished not only during his career, but long after retirement. Bob’s heart was pure and kind with his true desire, “to help the good guys and get the bad guys.” While he may have been intimidating at 6’ 6’’ he was actually a giant teddy bear with a huge heart.

In 1980, Bob was assigned a 16 year-old Police Explorer Scout to ride along with him for an evening shift. The Explorer’s name was Brian and little did either one of them know that one day, they would become brothers-in-law. By chance, Brian introduced Bob to his sister, Karen, and they were married in 1984. Their marriage was very happy and each considered themselves blessed as they both loved each other’s family and friends as their own.

After living in the San Carlos area of San Diego, Bob and Karen moved to Rancho Peñasquitos in 1986 and happily lived on a cul-de-sac surrounded by neighbors and friends who became their second family. They excitedly welcomed their daughter, Laura, in 1987 and their twin sons, Kevin and Kyle, in 1991. The tightknit family enjoyed many shared activities but especially their RV travels together, as well as many cruises with Karen’s parents, brother and sister-in-law. The untold number of adventures with beloved memories are forever held in their hearts.

Law enforcement was Bob’s calling and he genuinely enjoyed his 34 year career with the San Diego Police Department. He had various assignments including Field Training Officer, SWAT Officer, Academy Training Advisor, Vice Detective and Patrol Sergeant. He appreciated every role but none more than that of Sergeant. He relished working with Patrol Officers as a collective team and was fiercely protective and committed to each of them. Many cards and letters were received from recruits and officers thanking him for his leadership and support.

While he was happy with his chosen field, Bob’s kind heart was often saddened by what he saw as a Police Officer. He tried his best to leave these events at the station but behind his cheerful disposition many events troubled him. As a SWAT Officer he experienced grief on many occasions, however, 1984 was especially heartbreaking. In July, he was called to the scene of the San Ysidro McDonald’s tragedy where 23 innocent lives were lost due to the rampage of an evil man armed with a semi-automatic Uzi. He was on the entry team and saw firsthand the unimaginable horror that had occurred. The following month, and again on the entry team, he responded to a call in the College Grove area after a father shot his three children in their beds and then called their mother to tell her what he had done. One month later, after the tragic murders of Officer Kim Tonahill and Timothy Ruopp, Bob helped search for their killer in Grape Street Park.

Fortunately, he had many diverse hobbies and interests that included gardening, camping, fishing, caring for animals, fixing and building things around the house and helping friends and family with their projects and needs. He was skilled in so many areas and acquired his skills through his own determination and desire to create something useful or beautiful. With his talents he landscaped his front and back yards, built a Koi pond, a pergola and swing, a fire pit and a vegetable garden that yielded the best tomatoes ever grown. Because of his deep love for Barn Owls, Bob thoroughly researched how to build the perfect owl house. He painstakingly ensured every detail was included and installed a Nest Cam to watch them from his laptop. He felt like a proud dad each time the owl pairs moved in and raised their owlets.

Bob was happy to retire in 2012 and enjoyed keeping busy at home, traveling to Oregon annually for a fishing and crabbing expedition and expanding his cooking and BBQ skills. In August and October of 2018, prior to Bob's diagnosis, he saw Laura and Kyle marry their respective spouses and loved them as his own. Six years into retirement, in December of 2018, Bob was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Cancer. His entire family, group of friends, and former colleagues rallied around him and offered their support and love. He received outstanding medical care at UCSD Moores Cancer Center and we will all be indebted for their kind and expert care while he valiantly battled cancer for four years. In 2021, Bob saw Kevin become engaged to the love of his life, who just happened to be the daughter of Karen’s dear friend. Bob was beyond thrilled when Laura and Daniel made him a beloved “Papa” in 2019 with the birth of Nixon, followed by the birth of Weston in 2022. Luckily, they live 10 minutes from Bob so he was ever present in their lives and experienced many happy times together.

Sadly, we lost Bob on January 20, 2023 when he passed peacefully at home surrounded by his mom, wife, daughter and sons. Knowing he is in paradise offers comfort to his family and friends, however, life will never be the same for anyone he touched throughout his 65 years on earth.

Life Story Info

Post Date

Jan 25, 2023

Contribute

Personal Info

Born

San Diego, California, United States

Died

San Diego, California, United States

Cause of Death

Cancer

Age

65

Gender

Male

Religion and Beliefs

Christian

Occupation

San Diego Police Sergeant

Worked For

  • San Diego Police Department
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Guestbook

Who new that buying the house across the street would change our lives forever!! The Gilbert family took us on as their own and made us feel so welcomed within the street. Bob always had a new project going on around the house and was so willing to teach Conner and soon after Cole the ways of gardening and such. We miss our long walks within the canyon, feeding the Koi with you and the boys always finding a treat at your house. This block will never be the same without you, our sweet friend, but know that your generosity and love for helping build a wonderful community and shaping young lives will not stop. We see you everywhere we go and at night when all is quiet those wonderful owls let us know that you live on in all of us. We love you all and know his legacy lives on. Rest easy our dear friend and know we will forever use the terms, “Bob-Acado” and “ Wiggley Squiggley” with sheer love!!

Love,

The Crazies Across the Street

AKA: The Gardner’s

Gardner Family , San Diego, CA, US Feb 03, 2023

Who new that buying the house across the street would change our lives forever!! The Gilbert family took us on as their own and made us feel so welcomed within the street. Bob always had a new project going on around the house and was so willing to teach Conner and soon after Cole the ways of gardening and such. We miss our long walks within the canyon, feeding the Koi with you and the boys always finding a treat at your house. This block will never be the same without you, our sweet friend, but know that your generosity and love for helping build a wonderful community and shaping young lives will not stop. We see you everywhere we go and at night when all is quiet those wonderful owls let us know that you live on in all of us. We love you all and know his legacy lives on. Rest easy our dear friend and know we will forever use the terms, “Bob-Acado” and “ Wiggley Squiggley” with sheer love!!

Love,

The Crazies Across the Street

AKA: The Gardner’s

Gardner Family , San Diego, CA, US Feb 03, 2023

Who new that buying the house across the street would change our lives forever!! The Gilbert family took us on as their own and made us feel so welcomed within the street. Bob always had a new project going on around the house and was so willing to teach Conner and soon after Cole the ways of gardening and such. We miss our long walks within the canyon, feeding the Koi with you and the boys always finding a treat at your house. This block will never be the same without you, our sweet friend, but know that your generosity and love for helping build a wonderful community and shaping young lives will not stop. We see you everywhere we go and at night when all is quiet those wonderful owls let us know that you live on in all of us. We love you all and know his legacy lives on. Rest easy our dear friend and know we will forever use the terms, “Bob-Acado” and “ Wiggley Squiggley” with sheer love!!

Love,

The Crazies Across the Street

AKA: The Gardner’s

Gardner Family , San Diego, CA, US Feb 03, 2023

The description of Bob being a gentle giant couldn't be more true. Rest now brother.

Joe Howie , Alpine , CA, US Jan 29, 2023

I had the pleasure of growing up with Bob in Encinitas. We were Sheriff's Explorers together, roomed together in Village Park and later attended the 92nd SD Police Academy together. Bob was truly a gentle giant and our paths crossed periodically throughout our law enforcement careers. We worked the Northern Division Beach Enforcement Team together and I was always happy to see him on scene at many of our beach disturbance calls. Later in our careers, I remember meeting him out in the field while working Motors. Bob was always caring - you be safe on that motorcycle!

Bob was an incredibly good man with an awesome family and a great career. I know he touched many lives along the way and I'm honored to have grown up with him in my life. May he rest in eternal peace. SOF Warrior

John Leas , Magnolia, TX, US Jan 27, 2023

Kids on his shoulders , dogs at his feet,

Bob Gilbert, the dad of the street.

Helping hands carried everything,

Friends to animals

And the birds that sing.

I will never forget the time Bob rescued me from a snake in my kitchen right after some dental surgery. Nothin got in his way of helping others.

Debie , San diego, CA, US Jan 26, 2023

From the day I was born, I knew Bob & Karen. My mom went to elementary school with Karen and for as long as I can remember the “Gilbert Family” were our extended family. I have so many early memories with Laura, Kevin & Kyle playing in their cul-de-sac or pictures of us in diapers or birthday parties. I will always remember going to their house and Bob was working in the garage on his latest creation, always building something. I remember the play house he made in the backyard, and the play closet under the stairs! I remember how he loved animals and had some sort of cool reptile in the garage or have his turtles roaming around the backyard, and can’t forget their Golden! We spent countless hours at the baseball fields with our families and we even took a family road trip together up the state of California in his motor home! We stopped at all the California baseball stadiums to catch a game.

Forever engrained in my memory is that Bob was the first one to introduce me to a Jumbo Jack with “Secret sauce”. He raved about how good they were! He bought me one, and I will never forget it!

Most of all, I just want to say how grateful I am to have had the pleasure of knowing him while growing up. Being the big, strong policeman he was… he was also so loving, caring and gave the best hugs! He loved his family more than anything, and was so proud of Laura, Kevin and Kyle. ❤️ I will forever remember him and the legacy he left behind.

Brittney Munoz (now Pursell)

Brittney (Munoz) Pursell , Escondido, CA, US Jan 26, 2023

Bob was a good hearted man. He was my neighbor. He always made me feel welcome to come over to his house and play with his three kids. I remember whenever I came over he put on The Beach Boys “Wendy” song and sang it to me. He was a protector of the whole block. I remember at the neighborhood block party, my babydoll fell into the sewer drain. I was only four years old and I remember crying thinking my most prized possession was gone forever. Bob would not let that happen. Within minutes he had pulled the man hole cover off, all by himself, and sent a neighborhood kid to climb down and get my doll. To me that meant the world, to Bob he was just doing his good neighborhood duties. His smile was contagious and he brought a loving and fun presence to the whole block. I know he is resting easy now and looking down on all of you 💛 sending loves and hugs to your family during this difficult time.

Wendy , Phoenix, AZ, US Jan 26, 2023

Wendy, I had a laugh when you mentioned the sewer. We had a storm drain right in front of our house. My brothers Bobby and Gary were always climbing down that drain to retrieve baseballs, toys or whatever the last storm flushed down our drain. When they got to big, they would make me go down, scary at first, but I was a tomboy, so it was okay. Maybe that’s why I am claustrophobic now, ha ha 🤣

LaRae Gilbert Johnston , Bullhead City , AZ, US Feb 01, 2023

Wendy, I had a laugh when you mentioned the sewer. We had a storm drain right in front of our house. My brothers Bobby and Gary were always climbing down that drain to retrieve baseballs, toys or whatever the last storm flushed down our drain. When they got to big, they would make me go down, scary at first, but I was a tomboy, so it was okay. Maybe that’s why I am claustrophobic now, ha ha 🤣

LaRae Gilbert Johnston , Bullhead City , AZ, US Feb 01, 2023

Timeline


  • 1950
  • Dec 1957

    Bob was Born

  • 1980
  • Aug 1984

    Married Karen

  • Dec 1986

    Moved into Family Home

  • Dec 1987

    Birth of Daughter - Laura

  • 1990
  • Sep 1991

    Birth of Twin Sons - Kyle & Kevin

  • 2010
  • Sep 2019

    Became a grandpa and met his 1st grandson, Nixon Robert Iverson

  • Sep 2019

    Became a grandpa and met his 1st grandson, Nixon Robert Iverson

  • 2020
  • Jul 2022

    Met his 2nd grandson, Weston Shaun Iverson