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Robert Ruark was born in Louisville, Ken., on July 17, 1936. He passed away suddenly of a heart attack on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. 

In 1954, after graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy. Robert and Betty married on Dec. 22, 1955. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a Fine Arts degree. He did graduate work in the arts and earned a teacher’s credential. 

Robert and Betty moved to California in 1968 with their four children: Maurice, Gordon, Rebecca and Jennifer. Robert taught at Encinal High School from 1968 until 2000. He taught ceramics, jewelry and lapidary to high school students and adults.  

His greatest love in the arts was plein air painting. He painted for more than 60 years. He loved to listen to classical music as he painted in his art studio that he designed and built. He spent many happy hours there. He and his family enjoyed living in Alameda. He was the “Love of Betty’s Life!” Robert was kind, generous and loving to all.  

His life was honored and celebrated Sept. 14 to 16, with an exhibition of 43 of his plein air paintings at the San Francisco County Fair building in Golden Gate Park. The paintings included a seven-canvas, 28-foot-long piece that depicts a 360-degree view of Asilomar State Park and a 12-foot painting of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

He loved to travel to New York and Paris to visit museums. He and Betty visited Yosemite several times a year. Many of his paintings are from the Yosemite area.
He is survived by his loving wife, Betty and children: Maurice (Rhonda), Gordon, Rebecca (David) and Jennifer; granddaughters Dawn and Laura and great-granddaughter Aubrey; sister-in-law, Moselle and sister, Chlo Kris. He was the brother of the late Bruce and Rodger. He was the uncle of Ruth (Tom), and daughters, Ollie and Abby; Janet (Mohamed); Dan (Cristina) and children, Cassandra and Lucas.

He had many honors throughout his career including Teacher of the Year from the Alameda Unified School District and serving as president of the California Arts Education Association.

He loved and lived well! He was a person who was loved dearly by his wife, daughters, sons and friends. He will always be with us!

According to his wishes no further services will be held. His exhibition held last month was the honor and recognition he would have wanted.


We have lost a truly good man; a kind, funny, determined husband, father, brother and friend. Jerry Robbins passed away at home, surrounded by love, one day after his 66th birthday and after three years of living life to the fullest following  a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. 

Jerry was born in Chelsea, Mass., to Margaret and Jacob Robbins, M.D., the third of three children. His family soon moved to a new “suburb” in Levittown, Long Island. Jerry fondly remembered spending his early years in this haven of street games, summer swimming and winter snowmen. 

In 1960 the family traveled cross-country to start afresh in Castro Valley where some family members still reside. Not only did the Castro Valley public-school system serve Jerry as a springboard to higher education, it also helped him forge lifelong friendships, including with “the men.” This group of male pals formed the backbone of an extended network of friends who enjoyed making Super 8 movies, playing sports and creating the talent show band Jerry led as James Brown for the Class of 1970 Senior Show. “The men” thrive to this day. 

Jerry graduated in 1974 from UC Davis with a degree in history. In 1978, he completed a Master of Urban Planning degree at University of Washington. 

Jerry had a proud and accomplished career in urban and transportation planning that spanned almost four decades. After working for both the Alan. M. Voorhees and Wilbur Smith and Associates consulting firms, Jerry moved on and up at the City of San Francisco. In his work there, Jerry was instrumental in projects ranging from “Don’t Block the Box,” to facilitating parking at Union Square during the busy holiday shopping season. One long-time tradition was heading into San Francisco the day after Thanksgiving, to oversee a smooth parking operation for merchants and their customers. He worked successfully with BART, Muni, Caltrain and other agencies.

He served as liaison to the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. Before his retirement, Jerry served as interim director of the Sustainable Streets Division of the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Just as striking as his professional accomplishments were his relationships with neighborhood groups, merchant associations and his co-workers. Praise and fond remembrances have flowed to Jerry’s family, highlighting his innate ability to resolve issues, share strategic insights and improve the San Francisco transportation ecosystem. He did this all with a great sense of humor and collaboration, facilitating communication among colleagues and acting as a mentor to those who worked for him.

Life was not “all work and no play” for Jerry. He met Noelle Rubaloff in 1987, when she was working as marketing director for RIDES for Bay Area Commuters.He joined her, and her staff, for a 4 a.m. flyer handout on the Bay Bridge. They married in March of 1989, and welcomed daughter Emily in November 1989, followed by daughter Jessica in May 1992. 

Jerry shared many vacations and road trips with his family. Annual pilgrimages to family camp in the Feather River area were much-anticipated events. Many good friendships were formed there. Trips to Oregon, Arizona, New York, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Hawaii, Washington D.C., Vancouver, B.C., and more kept the family on the go. One family trip to visit Emily in grad school in London and a side trip to Paris was a very special family experience. Jerry and Noelle enjoyed several cruises, including a Blues Cruise. 

Jerry loved playing board and card games and “Words with Friends.” Hiking was a beloved family activity. Trips to the coast and Halloween were all family favorites. Jerry loved music of all types from blues, to rock ‘n’ roll, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles and Motown. He loved comedy and spent his last months enjoying Jerry Seinfeld, who he saw perform live several times, on Comedians in Cars, Getting Coffee. He was an avid reader of non-fiction, watcher of documentaries and supporter of Democratic causes. President Barack Obama was truly special as far as Jerry was concerned. Jerry joyfully cheered on the San Francisco Giants and the Warriors, attending victory parades for both.

Although life was not without struggles including the deaths of his mother and father, and of Noelle’s mother, he treasured time spent with family and friends. He loved his golf outings with “the men,” time spent with his sister Winne and brother Michael, and many cousins from near and far. Jerry was proud of watching his daughters, Emily and Jessica (both UC Berkeley grads), grow into compassionate, successful and wise young women.

Jerry was predeceased by his parents, Margaret and John Robbins. He is lovingly survived by his wife of almost 30 years, Noelle Robbins (aka Kathy Rubaloff); daughter Emily (Matt); daughter Jessica (Steven); sister Winnie Thompson (Gerry); and brother Michael (Vera). Winnie and Michael provided much appreciated support and care during Jerry’s final years.

Special thanks to Dr. Natalie Marshall of Epic Care. Jerry was her superstar patient, far exceeding expectations for pancreatic cancer patients. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Season of Sharing in Jerry’s name.  

A celebration of life will be held on Jan. 5, 2019, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Alameda Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Ave. The Elks are a wonderful community that Jerry, Noelle, Emily and Jessica have called home for 25 years. 


James “Jim” Moreno passed away on Sept. 7 surrounded by his loving family.
Jim leaves behind his two children, Michael and Lisa; grandsons: Arlo, Dashiel and Skyler; siblings: Becky, Henry, Jesse and Trish; beloved cousin Toni; ex-wife Pati and 15 nieces and nephews, and 16 great-nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jess and Esther, and sister Gina.

Jim graduated from Encinal High School in Alameda, then joined the Air Force and stayed on for four years. He loved the work he did as a teamster, and made countless friends on the many sets he was on. 

He enjoyed traveling, whether through work or with family and friends, and he was always up for a new adventure, even if it was just a hike in the hills.

Jim was especially proud of being a grandpa. He adored his three grandsons and often spoke of his desire to move north to be closer to them. He took them on adventures to the places he loved and started compiling a list of locations to take them once he finally relocated to the Bay Area.

A celebration of Jim’s life has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 6, at noon at Phoenix Alameda, located at 2513 Lincoln Ave. 

In lieu of flowers, the Moreno family has set up a memorial fund in Jim’s name on the crowdfunding site Funds raised will  assist in furthering his grandchildren’s education and covering their day-to-day living expenses.