Dr. Robert George Comegys

December 17, 1913December 17, 2013

Robert George Comegys passed away peacefully Tuesday, December 17, 2013, on his 100th birthday. He was born December 17, 1913 to Claude and Marie Arters Comegys at home on their wheat ranch in Eastern Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington where he met his future wife "that cute little brown eyed beauty" Valerie Jane Davis. They were married on December 26, 1941, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They would have celebrated 72 years of marriage this year. Robert served in the United States Navy as an Officer in Naval Intelligence during World War II and taught for several years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He then moved the family to Palo Alto, California to complete his PhD at Stanford University.

In 1955 the Comegys family moved to Fresno where they remain. He was proud to be a professor of United States History at Fresno State for twenty five years where he was active in many organizations including AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and served on the Academic Senate. He was voted Distinguished Professor by the students in 1968. He was active in the College Community Congregational Church from its first year. He loved history and teaching the history of this country and its values to his students. Professor Comegys was a man of character who lived through the Great Depression and the Second World War. He exemplified those qualities of self-discipline, reliability, dedication, responsibility, and above all honesty. His three children and six grandchildren respected him as an example they wanted to attain. The family wishes to thank Somerford Place for caring for Bob and Val and to Ada Reyes of Golden Home Care for her care and loving concern.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Margaret Downing. He is survived by his wife, of 72 years, Valerie of Fresno; his sister, Jean Goldsworthy of Spokane, Wa.; a daughter, Ann Ballow and her husband Robert of Anacortes, Wa.; sons, John of Dixon, Ca. and James and his wife Pam of Fresno; six grandchildren, Sean, Matthew, and Rebecca Comegys of Fresno, Robert Ballow and his wife Lana of Los Gatos, Ca., Kate Frazier and her husband Chad of Winters, Ca. and Ryan Ballow and his wife Noelia currently of Amman, Jordan; and his six great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held at College Community Congregational Church, 5550 N. Fresno Street on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. with a Reception to follow. Remembrances can be made to College Community Congregational Church or to the charity of your choice.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dr. Robert George Comegys

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R. Mower

December 26, 2013

I am in Fresno visiting family and just learned of Dr. Comegys' passing. He was my advisor in the early 70s at CSUF and one of the reasons that I am today a high school history teacher. He was a very fine man and a superior teacher.

Diana Cavers

December 23, 2013

Bob was a very special man to all who knew him, and his passing will be felt deeply by many people. On behalf of Lillian Thayer and her family, our deepest sympathy to Val, to Jim & Pam's family who especially loved Bob, and to all the Comegys family for their loss. How fortunate we all were to have met and shared some wonderful moments with Bob.

Shelley Gunther

December 21, 2013

My deepest sympathy to Pam, Jim, Val & the entire Comegys family. I was a guest of Bob and Val's many times and they always made me feel. like part of the family. I know he will be missed.

Bill Walker

December 20, 2013

Dr. Comegys was the best history teacher I ever had. I remember taking a class, Representative Americans, from him in the mid 60's. There was no text book. He would walk in the door and begin telling us about a famous colonial American, and our job was to take notes. I would begin note taking in earnest, but would soon be captivated by his tale. Towards the end of the class I would glance at my notes--and there would only be a sentence or two written in my notebook. I had been mesmerized by Dr. Comegy's "lecture". But I remembered in detail everything he said. He will always have a special place in my heart. My condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.

Nancy Bennett

December 20, 2013

I knew Val through the Alpha Phi Alumni Group. I am very sorry for her loss and will keep her in my thoughts and prayers. Nancy Bennett

December 20, 2013

As an animal science major at Fresno State from '66 to '71, I had the opportunity to select a few classes in 'general ed'. The best choice I ever made in that regard was a 3 unit U.S. History class. Professor Comegys brought history alive and made it relevant to the world we were growing up with. I will never forget, and will always appreciate, the day he took the time, after class, to answer some questions I had about the role of Tennessee in the Civil War.
Don McKinney

Lilly Garcia

December 19, 2013

I first met Dr.Comegys in 1956/57 as a student in Fresno State. A friend and I
sat together in his history class. We never told him we made A grades because
my friend took down his lectures in shorthand. I returned to FSU in 1978 to tell
him I was teaching in Okinawa for DoDDS. I gave him a glass float as a souvenir
& told him it was not the same Okinawa he knew. Farewell dear teacher and

Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Chapel

December 19, 2013

Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.