Robert Willerton Priestley, Jr.
January 2, 1932 – January 12, 2023
Bob Priestley was born in Los Angeles and grew up in a golden age when he could ride his bicycle all over town, stopping often to eat delicious oranges in the many orange groves in the area. After his parents’ divorce, he attended eight different grammar schools, finally landing with great relief in Glendale. He graduated from Glendale High School in 1950, where he played football. He enjoyed watching and armchair-coaching college and pro games up until the last few weeks of his life. During his middle and high school years he rode the Red Line Bus an hour and a half each way for trumpet lessons, and playing trumpet, he marched in the Rose bowl Parade and played during halftime at the game. He graduated from USC in 1954.
Following college, he enlisted in the army and continued to play the trumpet in the company band at Fort Ord, which he liked to say kept him from latrine duty. He was accepted to the CIC and posted to Munich, where his job was to interview and gather intelligence from people wishing to come to the U.S. from behind the Iron Curtain. He used his time in Europe to visit many beautiful places, and wrote wonderfully descriptive letters about his adventures, which the family still has and treasures.
Upon returning home he went to work for IBM selling electric typewriters to corporate clients in the Los Angeles area. During this time, he met and married Antonia (Toni) Pallette. They had two sons, Bob and Bill. In 1966 they moved to Carmel where their daughter, Tricia, was born. Shortly after that, he began a lifelong career as a stockbroker, continuing for many happy and fulfilling years.
Several years after his first marriage ended, he was holding down the bass section in the choir at All Saints Church in Carmel, when he met Hannah Davidson, who joined the choir as an alto. In 1992 they were married, and they made beautiful music together for 30 wonderful and blessed years.
After retirement, Bob tended his roses and pursued his golf game, enjoying many happy and sometimes frustrating rounds with the Sr. Men’s Golf Group at PG Golf Course, and also with the Stillwater Club 9-Holers. Another joy was road trips to National Parks and travels in Europe with Hannah.
His life was one of service and gratitude. He was involved in the activities of his children, and was President of the Board of Central Coast VNA and Hospice, and the Carmel Foundation. He served in every possible way at All Saints, sang in the choir at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church until his health prevented it, and enjoyed setting up chairs, making coffee, and cleaning up at his Good Morning Carmel meetings.
He is remembered as gentle, self-effacing, kind hearted and helpful. He stood up for the underdog and he couldn’t abide bullies.
Bob is survived by his wife Hannah, and his large blended family, which includes his children Bob III, wife Catherine, Bill, wife Marta, and Tricia, and Hannah’s sons Sam, Josh, wife Trishia, and Matt, wife Lucinda Davidson. He also leaves his grandchildren Weston and Amelia Priestley, and ten step-grandchildren: Rachael, Alex, Mollie, Matthijs, Alisa, and Peter Davidson; Marisa and Nathaniel Nelson, and Joseph and Mark Sanchez.
Hannah wishes to thank Bob’s devoted caregiver Feo Angitoa, and his very kind medical team, Dr. Harry Jang, Dr. Michael Plainse, and Dr. Alejandro Centurion.
If anyone wishes to make a donation in Bob’s honor, the following are suggested: Central Coast VNA and Hospice, www.ccvna.com;The Carmel Foundation, PO Box 1050 Carmel CA 93921; Youth Orchestra Salinas (YOSAL), www.yosal.org; or any organization supporting music in the public schools.
A memorial service will be held at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Carmel Valley at 11:00 am on Saturday February 25, 2023.
As a friend wrote: “Better to go than to hang around in a worn-out body.” R.I.P. my beloved Bob.