Robert LeRoy Rehorst
April 3, 1934 – April 15, 2014
Robert LeRoy Rehorst was born on April 3, 1934 in Vancouver, Washington. His parents were LeRoy and Bernadine Rehorst, and he had two older sisters, Geraldine (Gerry) and Gertrude Jean (Jean). Growing up in a rural farming area, the family had a large chicken population and Bob would help sell eggs to people who would stop by their house on Jaggy Road. They also had cows on their farm for family use. In his early days Bob was able to explore the outdoors as young boys do, climbing trees and playing ball. He enjoyed playing baseball with his friends and spent two years in the Boy Scouts. He loved to be outside in the beautiful Paciflc Northwest.
He attended Providence Academy as a child, and graduated in 1948. For high school he was a student at Central Catholic, and graduated in 1952. He worked at the local Dairy Queen from 1951-1953. Bob was always saving his money from a young age; starting with the money he earned delivering newspapers by bicycle as a boy, serving ice cream at Dairy Queen, and working in roofing in the summers off from college. He was very industrious and an extremely hard worker.
He attended the University of Portland starting in 1952. He loved college on the Bluff and started out in science courses with the hopes of becoming a doctor. He found that the science courses were difficult for him so after a year of struggling, he decided to change his focus to engineering. He joined the AFROTC program and the Engineer's Club, where he served as Vice-President. He graduated in June of 1957 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering.
After graduation in 1957, he went to work for Union Carbide Metals Co. as a production engineer. After a year working there, he was called to duty by the Air Force. The AF sent him to the University of Washington to study meteorology, and after a year of classes he was sent to the Incirlik Air Force Base in Adana Turkey. He served as a weather officer, and was granted an early release because of an overflow of officers at the time. He received a top secret clearance during his service. While overseas, he met his future wife, Abbie Winkle, who was dating a friend of his, Ed Pitts. She was working as a teacher at an Air Force Base in Germany. After an honorable discharge, he got to spend 2 months traveling throughout Europe and took many pictures. He had the rank of 1st Lieutenant while in the AF from 1958- 1960. While in Turkey, he used his saved money to order himself a 1960 steel grey Corvette convertible. He must have been quite the sight driving along the country roads back in Vancouver!
After the service, he went to work for Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone as an engineer programming toll telephone facilities. In 1961 he began working at Atomics International as a project engineer. He became competent in the nuclear energy field and worked on the SCTI and the first SNAP-8 reactors. He received an AEC "Q" clearance in this field. He was one of the first engineers licensed to work on atomic reactors. He was sent to Hallam Nuclear Power Facility in Nebraska, where he worked as a shift supervisor for several years. They maintained the safety of the nuclear reactors and worked on start-ups and shut downs of the systems. He got many job offers to work at different nuclear power facilities, including ones in Puerto Rico and Richland, Washington.
While working at AI he began dating Abbie, who had settled down as a teacher in Long Beach, CA. He was able to make the trip frorn the Valley to Long Beach in about 30 minutes in his Corvette. He continued to work at Atomics International through I968.
On July 17, 1965, Bob and Abbie got married at St. Bartholomew's Church in Long Beach, CA. Their reception was held at the Greenbrier Inn in Garden Grove, CA. They honeymooned in Carmel and San Francisco and then settled in to their home on Blythe St. in Canoga Park. At the time, Bob was working as a senior research engineer for AI.
During the time the couple lived on Blythe St, they had two sons who both died in infancy. In 1970 their daughter Margaret Anne was born. About 1967,Bob became interested in electronics and high fidelity equipment. He and a friend, Ron Toews, started making electrostatic speakers in 1968. Their company was called RTR lndustries, a combination of both their initials. The company was in business until 1981, when Ron moved to Spokane, WA. During the height of business in the 70's the company produced about 10,000, speakers a month. They ran the business out of a large building on Deering Ave. in Canoga Park.
From the success of RTR Bob was able to take the family, including his mother Bernadine, on a trip to New Zealand and Australia in 1977. This was the first time his mother had travelled outside of the country and he was so proud to be able to take her on this trip.
After RTR ended, Bob worked for RIMCO Resources making electronic bed controls manufactured in Hong Kong. He was one of the lead engineers who worked on modifying hospital automatic bed controls for home use. He did that until the mid 90s before retiring.
He and Abbie moved into their home on Strathern St. in 1972 where they both lived the rest of their lives. Abbie's parents, who lived most of the year in Clear Lake, IA, vacationed during the harsh Iowa winters at a duplex in Sun City West,AZ. On the visits to her parents, they enjoyed the desert environment and the amenities offered by the community and also decided to purchase property there. In the early 90's they built a lovely home on a golf course in Sun City West, AZ.
Bob's hobbies included photography, traveling and camping on the beach in the family motor home over long weekends. He was a typical farm boy, able to fix just about anything in the house. Over the years, he installed his own air conditioning, built a patio cover over the entire backyard, built planters, installed sprinkler systems, and kept his cars running. He had every tool available and the knowledge to use them.
Their plans to retire there and enjoy the Sun City West lifestyle were altered when Abbie had a stroke in the mid 90's. During the next l0 years Abbie's health difficulties only enabled them to visit their AZ home but they never were able to move there full time. Margaret and her children came to live with her parents in 2003. Her two daughters, Emmi (1990) and Kassie (1991), brought along much joy to their grandparents.
Unfortunately Abbie died in July 2004, and Bob was devastated by the loss of his wife. Having family here made it easier to bear. Justin (2004) and Jamie (2006) were very special to their Grandpa and they were fortunate to be able to live with him their entire lives.
Bob passed away on April 15, 2014, after a long battle with various illnesses. He was like a cat with 9 lives his family liked to say! His tough German fortitude made it hard to tell when he was really feeling bad. His family is grateful for the 80 years he got to spend on this earth. We only wish he could have had many more because we were not ready to have him leave us. The examples Bob gave of hard work, effort, discipline, humor, putting family first, and living as a good Catholic will remain with the grandchildren the rest of their lives. He was a kind and loyal friend to many and a role model as well. While our hearts are broken at having to say goodbye, we can be comforted in knowing that he is not in pain anymore and is reunited with his beloved wife Abbie in heaven. one day, we will be joyfully reunited with him as well. Rest in Peace. Gates, Kingsley & Gates Praiswater Mortuary, Canoga Park, CA.
- Visitation Tuesday, April 22, 2014
- Vigil Tuesday, April 22, 2014
- Funeral Service Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Robert LeRoy Rehorst
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Bonese & Glenn Turner
April 25, 2014
We enjoyed a long & wonderful friendship with Bob since 1961. I had many enjoyable discussions with Bob about investments, politics & cars. Bonese & I shared many tasty meals with Bob & Abbie, especially the Easter Brunches with Abbie's orange croissants & Bob's French 75's! We will greatly miss them, but will have many happy memories of our time with them.
April 23, 2014
He was a special person indeed! Kind, funny always with a twinkle in his eye.
Bless you all during this time and find comfort in knowing that he was a blessing to all who knew him.
April 23, 2014
One of the last icons of our industry. As a dealer during the heyday, to a rep at the end, and now a service center dedicated to preserving your legacy, I won`t make it thru a day looking at your 25 inch woofers without remembering your motto of, "don`t tell me what I can`t build "! A great friend and a mentor.
April 22, 2014
Bob was an inspiration to me in the audio business and his company was vital to our success. He always had time to talk and teach, and the world was a better place because of him. He will be missed.
April 22, 2014
Blessings to you and your family. Our hearts and prayers are with you.
April 20, 2014
I wanted to first thank all my friends for all the times you prayed for my grandpa when he ended up in the hospital. As my mom said, he was certainly a “cat with nine lives”. Well grandpa, I do have to say you put up one hell of a fight. Even in your final moments, you made sure you said what you had to say and did what you had to do. You always put family first. I will never forget the strength and unbelievable determination you had, even up until your final moments and your last breath. It was honestly a miracle, and shows that you can accomplish anything with prayers and determination. As unbelievably heart wrenching as it was for us, it gives us comfort to know that you passed with us holding your hand and by your side comforting you until the last second.
Grandpa, you were my father figure and role model my entire life. Kassie and I were so blessed to have you. I promise to continue growing from the lessons I have learned from you. From how to be a good Catholic and have a strong work ethic, to how to do my own car maintenance and taxes you taught me so much from so many different aspects of life. You had the best sense of humor, wit, and intelligence like no other human on this planet. Living with you for 8 years was incredible. I always wanted to learn everything I could from you, because I knew time was limited and precious.
You always said how you couldn't wait to see me graduate college and were so thrilled when I showed you that I made the Dean's list last semester. I promise you that I will not let my studies suffer, and that I will finish college strong. Although you won't get to see me cheer on television like you were excited to, you will get to see me from heaven.
I wish I could have taken you on that trip to the Alaskan Inside Passage like you wanted, and remember how badly you wanted to see Mt. Denali. I regret that you were never healthy enough to go. However, I promise you that I will one day climb Mt. Denali in your honor. I promise I will be careful just like you told me to be in your final moments. You taught me to always put family first, and I will make sure I sacrifice anything they need me to. I will continue to push myself to be the best I can be. You were the best man I have ever known. Any man in my life is going to have to live up to you, and you set the bar sky high. You are my hero forever and always. I love you, grandpa.
Love, Emmi Rosales