Always one to interject a little humor into any situation, Bob helped to man the WCS booth
at WESTPEX in 2018 sporting a tophat.
Robert J. Chandler, Western Cover Society member #1030, lost his ten-year battle with prostate cancer on March 13, 2019. Bob was born July 31, 1942, at Ft. Douglas, Utah where his father served as an Army officer. Later, during WWII, Bob lived in Washington, DC while his father served at the Pentagon. Moving to Hawaii in 1960, Bob attended the University of Hawaii and then transferred to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, where he earned a B.A. degree. His Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Riverside was earned after 13 years of study. Upon graduation in 1978, he landed a job in the recently formed history department at Wells, Fargo Bank in San Francisco. There he served as a senior research historian until his retirement in 2010.
It was fortunate for Bob (and WCS) that his first boss was Basil C. Pearce, who mentored Bob in postal history. So too did Wells Fargo division manager Robert D. Livingston. Owing to Bob’s writing skills, he quickly became “editor” for Livingston’s numerous Wells, Fargo postal history articles, thus furthering Bob’s interest in this subject. Bob also became interested in the history of the banking side of Wells, Fargo and he familiarized himself with their historical records. Bob was frequently able to weave this aspect into his many express articles. Bob’s other interests included stage coaching, mining and western U.S.
history. He was also an acclaimed expert on California in the Civil War and on San Francisco.
Bob Chandler has been the most prolific contributor to Western Express, having authored 49 articles, coauthored three more, and written three book reviews. He still has six additional articles in the pipeline, so we’ll continue to hear from Bob over the next few years. Bob was the only WCS member to have served in all four WCS offices: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Besides the WCS, Bob was active in E. Clampus Vitus, The Book Club of California (Bob was editor for 19 years), The Westerners, and Toastmasters. In most of these societies, he held office and published additional articles. He was also on the Board of Directors of the San Ramon Museum. They will be getting many of Bob’s relevant artifacts. Bob has donated most of his 19th century document and manuscript collection to the California State Library in Sacramento.
Bob leaves Sue, his wife of 44 years, and children Kathleen, Becky and Robert. Bob will be sorely missed by all who knew him, not only for his sense of humor, liberally injected into his articles, but also from his wealth of knowledge and his willingness to serve as a mentor to others.