Robert Irwin Segbarth
March 9, 1933-July 20, 2018
Portola Valley, CA
Following a short illness, Robert (Bob) Segbarth passed away July 20, 2018 at his home in Portola Valley. Born to Irwin and Stella Segbarth on March 9, 1933 in Pasadena, Bob grew up in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. Active in varsity swimming, cheerleading and singing, he attended John Muir Junior College in Pasadena, finishing his education with a degree in Business and Economics at Occidental College in 1955. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. More importantly, there he met Nancy Halden, whom he would later marry. After graduation he attended the U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. After being promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade and serving in Alaska, he returned to California and resumed courtship of Nancy. They were married on November 30, 1957. Upon finishing his Naval tour in Alameda, Bob and Nancy moved to San Gabriel where he took a position with Security First National Bank. They lived in a home Bob remodeled on his parents’ property. After the births of their two daughters, Lisa and Nina, the Segbarths embarked on a year long tour of Europe with Bob’s father, enjoying the company of other relatives for parts along the way.
Returning to the States in 1966, the Segbarths relocated to Northern California where Bob resumed his banking career with Security Pacific Bank, and after short times in Santa Cruz and Menlo Park, they purchased a home in Ladera. Bob continued with the bank, first in San Francisco, then San Mateo and finally Palo Alto as it grew and merged, retiring as a Senior Trust Advisor from Bank of America in 1995. The Segbarths joined Ladera Community Church upon arrival in Menlo Park, and became immediately active in church life. In addition to holding many positions and singing in the choir, Bob helped begin a community garden next to the church, where in later years he would employ clients from the Palo Alto Urban Ministry and share the vegetables, honey and chicken eggs at the church coffee hour, using donations to help the Urban ministry as well as the church water bill. He organized two Urban Ministry gardens in Palo Alto as well. He received recognition for his ”Herb’n Ministry” community work from local papers, community groups and elected officials.
Two other church projects that Robert enjoyed centered around Christmas and Easter. Bob took on the job from the Coale family of placing a lit star at the top of a tall tree at Ladera Community Church to announce advent to all who drove by on Alpine Road. The star had fallen in a storm and he rebuilt it, adding energy efficient light bulbs and updating the apparatus that attached it to the tree. He also dedicated time each spring to mowing a path up the hill above the church to allow for an Easter sunrise service looking out towards Felt Lake. For many years he would also take up a small hand-piped organ for his daughter or wife to play to accompany Easter hymn singing.
In 2010 the Segbarths sold their Ladera home and moved to the Sequoias in Portola Valley. Bob continued caring for the garden and chickens at the church, but quickly grew to enjoy walking out the back gate at the Sequoias for a hike on Windy Hill. He participated in lawn bowling, joined the singing groups and continued to swim daily. Bob was interested for most of his life in the work of Edgar Cayce and later, Paramahansa Yogananda. A regular meditator and yoga practitioner, he impressed other Sequoias residents by once doing a headstand in the dining room. He was active in the San Francisco regional Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) and in their study groups. Surviving Robert are his wife of 60 years Nancy, their daughters Lisa Nelson of Ashland, Oregon and Nina (and John) Shepherd of Pacific Palisades, California, and 5 grandchildren. During Robert’s last days he received loving care in his apartment at the Sequoias from Mission Hospice for which the family is grateful.