ROBERT (Bob) HILDING MAYER left his temporary residence on earth in Murrieta, CA, and began life in his forever home (heaven) on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at the age of 89. He had won his victory over Parkinson’s Disease after a nearly ten year battle. From his heavenly Father he received a “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23, AMP)
Bob was born in Cicero, Illinois on January 17, 1931, to Hilding Emanuel Mayer and Elizabeth Jenny Kakac Mayer. His sister, Mary, joined the family a year later. When Hilding lost his Western Electric job during the depression, he moved his family to land he owned on Lake Mary, near Alexandria, MN, planning to develop it into the Shady Rest Resort-Farm.
Unfortunately, Hilding died in an accident shortly after arriving. Bob was only three years old at the time. Elizabeth, a registered nurse, remarried seven years later. Bob did his part to keep Shady Rest running smoothly. One of his jobs during the tourist season was to go out in his little sailboat to catch fish every day for the guests. He also kept them supplied with bait. During the school year, Bob would arrive early every day at the one-room District 74 schoolhouse, so he could start the fire before the teacher and other students arrived. When the lake froze over, he took short cuts over the ice.
Bob won a Naval ROTC scholarship to college, and followed his friend to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. When he married his first wife, he lost that NROTC scholarship, but he continued to attend university while working as a city surveyor, raising a growing family and serving a stint in the US Army and the Army Reserves, having been drafted during the Korean War. When he finally received his BS in Electrical Engineering, he moved the family to the Minneapolis area where he took a job with Honeywell.
After 13 years of marriage, Bob divorced his first wife and married his second wife who had five children from a previous marriage. Honeywell transferred him to their Seattle, WA, office to continue his work in undersea acoustics. On their way west, the family stopped in Sheridan, MT, where his new wife’s brother was a Baptist pastor. That brother could tell that Bob was burdened with guilt over ending his first marriage, and shared the hope of the gospel with him. Bob readily acknowledged that he was a sinner in need of a Savior. He became a new man in Christ when he trusted that Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for his sins.
The family eventually settled in Snohomish, WA, where they raised their (by then) seven children plus two daughters from Minnesota who joined them to attend school. Bob developed his handyman skills, and completely remodeled their home to accommodate his family. The family was active in a small Baptist church where Bob directed the choir. The pastor would drive down to Honeywell every week to disciple Bob over the lunch hour.
When the three youngest children were in high school, the family moved to Monarch Beach, CA, where Bob worked for McDonnell Douglas for a brief time, and then Hughes Aircraft, still working in undersea acoustics. While there, he joined a Baptist church where he sang in the choir and helped with building projects. He joined the Hughes Aircraft Flying club, learned to fly and purchased his first two airplanes.
Besides flying and fixing things, Bob also loved reading and learning new things, especially when it related to science and God’s creation. He grew up appreciating classical music. The Brandenburg Concertos helped him study for exams in college. He loved attending classical music concerts, and playing the piano to relax－but never in front of an audience. His only request regarding his “funeral” was that Antonin Dvorak’s symphony number 9 in e minor, opus 95, from The New World Symphony be played, especially “Going Home.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEpe5Sm0mfU from 12:10 to 25:47)
Bob resisted divorcing his second wife as long as he could, but eventually was forced to give in after 28 years of marriage. When Hughes Aircraft later gave him a golden handshake with an early retirement, he purchased an RV and hit the road to visit his kids who were then scattered from Minnesota to Washington to Oregon and California. While camping with a daughter and son-in-law and family, they invited him to park his RV on their property in Washington. He got involved in their Presbyterian church, sang in the choir, worked on building projects and signed up to go to Huaraz, Peru, on a work crew.
In Peru, that work crew wasn’t able to finish the construction job before their departure, so the Wycliffe center manager asked Bob if he could return. Bob fell to his knees in the playing field he was preparing, telling God how he needed to finish earning his commercial pilot’s license back in the US. But Bob eventually yielded to God’s plan. He returned to Peru a week later, and stayed a few months.
Before Bob’s third trip to Peru, quite a few emails flew from his computer to Peru and vice versa. When he arrived on his third trip to Peru, he had a ring in his pocket! He married Janice Walker later that year in the U.S. When she said “I do,” she went from being a single lady to a wife, a step-mother of 11 adult children, and a grandmother of 21 grandchildren!
After a semester in Dallas, TX, Bob and Jan returned to Peru where Bob volunteered in a myriad of ways in support of Bible translation for the next five years.
After returning to the US in 2003, Bob continued serving Bibleless peoples as a volunteer at the Wycliffe office in Temecula, CA, until it closed. Bob and Jan got involved in a Calvary Chapel just down the road from them. Even after Bob’s second retirement, and having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he served on the board of their home owners’ association for four years. He also participated in clinical studies related to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
Bob is survived by his wife of 22 years, Janice Walker Mayer, and by ten adult children, 27 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandson:
1. Reva (and Ken) Lux, Salem OR: three grandchildren and eight great grandsons.
2. Becky (and Scott) Washburn, Shoreline, WA: two grandchildren and two great granddaughters.
3. Reed (and Rosa) Mayer, Capistrano Beach, CA: four grandchildren and one great grandson.
4. Marianne Fogel, Pease, MN: one granddaughter.
5. Diane (and Joel) Wright, Maple Valley, WA: three grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
6. Jane (and Larry) Moe, Elk River, MN: two granddaughters and one great granddaughter.
7. Rod (and Mariah) Mayer, San Clemente, CA: three grandchildren.
8. Kathy (and Neil) Tangen, Glenwood, MN: two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
9. Windy (and Mario) Citro, Capistrano Beach, CA: three granddaughters and two great granddaughters.
10. Robert Jon (and Michelle) Mayer, San Clemente, CA: two grandchildren.
Bob was predeceased by his father and mother; his sister, Mary Christianson and two of her sons; his daughter-in-law, Janet Mayer; and his daughter, Elaine Osoteo who gave him two grandsons, two great granddaughters and one great great grandson.
“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:15-16, NLT)
Due to Riverside County, CA, restrictions at this time, the viewing (memorial) service at the Murrieta Valley Funeral Home and the committal service at Riverside National Cemetery to honor Bob and how he lived out God’s plan for 89 years, 5 months and 13 days, are limited in size. Those who care to, will be able to view the memorial service online once it is posted.