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Merkley-Mitchell Mortuary

3655 5th Ave, San Diego, CA

OBITUARY

Robert Milton Coon

January 12, 1935December 26, 2019

Robert Milton Coon passed away on December 26, 2019, at the age of 84, in San Diego, California. Bob was born on January 12, 1935 in Needham, Massachusetts to Edna Gertrude (Ferguson) and Gerald A Coon. He had an idyllic childhood growing up in Needham. He spent summers in Rocky Nook living in a cottage built by his father and “messing about in boats” with his brother David and sisters Alice and Nancy. He graduated from Needham High School – where he developed a great love for mathematics – and went to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1957. One snowy winter in January of his final year at UMass, a recruiter showed him pictures of San Diego; Bob took one look at the Pacific Ocean and the sunny beaches and he was hooked. He packed all of his belongings in his car, drove across the country on Route 66 and never looked back. He loved the warm San Diego weather, the sunshine and the beaches, playing golf, sailing, kayaking, and most of all fishing and camping in Baja California along the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez.

Bob received his Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1963 from San Diego State University and worked at Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical and Convair as an aeronautical engineer for over 40 years. Bob married Norma Jean Rempe at the University of San Diego Immaculata Chapel in 1963. He was married to Norma for almost 50 years and they had five children: Michael, Ralphie, Gerry, Brian and Robin. Bob and Norma enjoyed frequent road trips across the country in their little trailer, visiting New England and Nova Scotia almost every year. They were avid world travelers visiting Europe, Cuba, Costa Rica, going on cruises to Russia, Alaska, Mexico and the Galapagos, visiting their son Gerry in Australia and their daughter Robin in India, and going to sacred sites in Bali and the Holy Land. Bob and Norma shared a rich, spiritual life together, and Bob was an active member of AA for 41 years, helping others to achieve and sustain sobriety. Bob also enjoyed building boats and kayaks, and was a long-time member of the Mission Bay Yacht Club. He had a great passion for classical music and going to the opera.

Bob will be held lovingly in the hearts of his daughters Robin and Ralphie, son Gerry and his wife Erin, grandchildren Ella and Karch, and his sisters Alice Stiles and Nancy Briggett. He was preceded in death by his wife Norma and sons Michael and Brian. A memorial service will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Mission Hills on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 11 AM. There will be a Rosary at 10:30 AM. St. Vincent de Paul Church 4080 Hawk Street San Diego, CA 92103 Charitable donations may be made to Heartland House, San Diego. https://www.heartlandhouse.org

Services

  • Funeral Mass Saturday, January 11, 2020

Memories

Robert Milton Coon

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Ralphie Coon

January 15, 2020

Bob’s eulogy, p.3
The Pacific Ocean was paradise for him, he loved the warm San Diego weather, the sunshine and the beaches, playing golf, sailing, kayaking, and swimming. He went camping in Baja California a few times every year. He would load up his truck with a couple of kayaks on top, his fishing poles, a sailboard, his snorkeling gear, camping tents, sleeping bags, and his kites. He had lots of toys.

Most of all he loved to fish. He always had such excitement whenever he hooked a fish. Most of you probably do not think of Bob as an elegant man, but when he cast a fishing line out from his kayak, he was an elegant man. Watching him fish from a kayak was as graceful and beautiful as any ballet.

You may not know this, but Bob loved birds, we traveled to Nova Scotia to kayak with the Bald Eagles and the Puffins and we spent moonlit nights on the lakes with Loons. We went to Bali to see the Crowned Cranes and Birds of Paradise, and to the Galapagos to see the Albatross and Blue Footed Boobies and to swim with the penguins on the equator. On the morning that he diedpeacefully in his own bed, I was holding his hand, and listening to the call of the mourning dove outside his window. He loved Mission Hills so much, and the hoot owl that would fly over the canyon, and the song of the Mockingbird singing endlessly on warm summer nights. He never kept written lists of the places he visited, or the fish he caught, or the birds he saw, but whenever he saw a new bird, he would look over at Mom and make a little check in the air - another beautiful experience to add to his rich and happy life.

We will miss his humor and his sense of adventure, but most of all we will miss his wisdom and his courage. I am sure that for Dad heaven is an ocean with warm sunshine, a balmy breeze, and 80 degree water, filled with a variety of fish. And I am equally certain that right next door to Bob’s heavenly ocean is a Fred Hall Fishing Expo filled with an eternity of toys.

Ralphie Coon

January 15, 2020

Bob’s eulogy, p.3
The Pacific Ocean was paradise for him, he loved the warm San Diego weather, the sunshine and the beaches, playing golf, sailing, kayaking, and swimming. He went camping in Baja California a few times every year. He would load up his truck with a couple of kayaks on top, his fishing poles, his snorkeling gear, camping tents, sleeping bags, and his kites. He had lots of toys.

Most of all he loved to fish. He always had such excitement whenever he hooked a fish. Most of you probably do not think of Bob as an elegant man, but when he cast a fishing line out from his kayak, he was an elegant man. Watching him fish from a kayak was as graceful and beautiful as any ballet.

You may not know this, but Bob loved birds, we traveled to Nova Scotia to kayak with the Bald Eagles and the Puffins and we spent moonlit nights on the lakes with Loons. We went to Bali to see the Crowned Cranes and Birds of Paradise, and to the Galapagos to see the Albatross and Blue Footed Boobies and to swim with the penguins on the equator. On the morning that he diedpeacefully in his own bed, I was holding his hand, and listening to the call of the mourning dove outside his window. He loved Mission Hills so much, and the hoot owl that would fly over the canyon, and the song of the Mockingbird singing endlessly on warm summer nights. He never kept written lists of the places he visited, or the fish he caught, or the birds he saw, but whenever he saw a new bird, he would look over at Mom and make a little check in the air - another beautiful experience to add to his rich and happy life.

I am sure that for Dad heaven is an ocean with warm sunshine, a balmy breeze, and 80 degree water, filled with a variety of fish. And I am equally certain that right next door to Bob’s heavenly ocean is a Fred Hall Fishing Expo filled with an eternity of toys.

Ralphie Coon

January 15, 2020

Bob’s Eulogy, p.2
He loved living in San Diego! Every Christmas he would call his brother David in New Hampshire, his sister Alice in Cooperstown New York, and his sister Nancy in Connecticut and with GLEE in his voice he’d ask: “So - How’s the weather back there?” … and they would tell him about the SNOW on the ground and how COLD it was. And when he got off the phone he would clap his hands together and shout! “What a place to live! What a life!”, and then he would go play a round of golf, or go kayaking, or swimming - in December, in the sun, in shorts. He loved that.

Bob received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from San Diego State University, and he worked as an aeronautical engineer at Teledyne Ryan and Convair for many years, and he loved his job. It was great fun, and he liked solving puzzles. He designed many airplanes and drones that he was proud of, and there was nothing to compare to the thrill of operating a Mach 4 test flight of a new unmanned drone out over the Pacific Ocean near Ventura.

He met Norma Jean when he was living in Mission Beach, and they were married for almost 50 years. Norma had an enormous capacity for love; and she loved Bob fiercely and with her whole heart. He always said that she was a good sport when they went on trips together: he provided her with fun adventures, and she helped him grow spiritually. For their retirement, they had many adventures together - traveling across the country in their little trailer on annual trips to New England and Nova Scotia, traveling all over the world to Australia, Europe , Israel, India, Bali, and Costa Rica. Going on cruises to Russia, Alaska, Mexico and the Galapagos Islands. Bob enjoyed traveling and wherever there was warm water, he would go.

Ralphie Coon

January 15, 2020

Bob’s Eulogy, p1.
Bob loved to have fun! He had an idyllic childhood in Needham Massachusetts, where he grew up in the house that his grandfather built. He spent glorious summers in a place called Rocky Nook, in a cottage that he built with his father and brother David. Rocky Nook was close to heaven on earth for a boy like Bob. He would spend every waking moment outside on the water, sun-burnt & mud-splattered, fishing, sailing, and swimming. And he would carry those warm summer days in his heart his whole life.

Bob had an innate thriftiness, being born right after the great depression, but he led a rich life. He had a great passion for classical music, and each year he had season tickets to the Opera. He also liked pops concerts and brass band marches like John Phillips Sousa and the Stars & Stripes Forever. He was an all American boy who loved the 4th of Julyand fireworks. Bob's father once told him “Work hard and be a good boy, and everything will turn out fine.” And dad would say “that was pretty much true” but he always added with a big grin: “I wasn’t always such a good boy!”

He had some pretty wild years during the 50s when he went to UMass Amherst and joined a fraternity. Bob had lots of fun in college. One time at a football game his fraternity Brother Earl hired an airplane to drop flyers over the stadium that read “Coonie needs a date”. There were girls calling the fraternity from all over the state of Massachusetts, including one 10 year old boy who called to ask if Bob would marry his sister? He and his fraternity buddies were lifelong friends, and I am sure that we probably didn’t even hear the best stories. During his final year at UMass, one snowy winter in January, a recruiter showed him pictures of San Diego. Dad took one look at the Pacific Ocean and the sunny beaches, and he was hooked. He packed everything he owned into his car, drove across the country on route 66, and never looked back...

Meg Moore

January 8, 2020

Our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones. I will remember Robert from the theater and opera, and know that he is listening to the greatest music now.

Allison Lewallen

January 5, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss. I so appreciated your dad's knowledge and sense of humor the times I met him, and really enjoyed his company when he joined us for Christmas Day dinner in 2015 and 2016. Allison Lewallen (& Craig).

Danette Hoffert

January 4, 2020

I briefly met Robin's dad but had an immediate and profound connection unlike any before. He was a noble man with a huge heart. We shared stories of being a widow and widower and our profound love of our lost loves. He was a special man and Robin is lucky to have had a dad like him.

John Coon

January 2, 2020

Uncle Rob was one of the happiest souls you will ever meet. He just loved life. When he greeted you, it was always with a big hug and a smile. What a great guy!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY