Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Bob was born on July 12,1921, in San Mateo, CA., the oldest son of Aloysius Ignatius Valentine and Elena Ortiz, and was a fourth-generation Californian. He was raised in the Excelsior District in San Francisco with two younger siblings, Richard and Elena. As a young boy Robert spent his summers either at the Russian River or in the coastal Santa Lucia mountains where his maternal grandfather (Felix Ortiz) was a Basque rancher and farmer.
He graduated in 1939 from St. Ignatius High School, and then attended Santa Clara University receiving a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering. During his senior year, Bob and his ROTC classmates were conscripted and sent to Fayetteville, NC, for basic training, followed by Officer’s Training at Fort Sill, OK. He was then shipped out to Europe for the post war occupation period where he was stationed in Gorizia, Italy, with the 88th Blue Devil Artillery Division.
Following his return home, Bob received a masters degree in Civil Engineering and Business from Stanford University in 1949.
After graduation from Stanford, Bob was employed as an engineer with the bridge-building firm of Judson-Pacific-Murphy which built the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, among several others. In 1955, Bob was part of the engineering team that installed the lateral stabilizing system for the Golden Gate Bridge.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Bob pursued the bachelor life in San Francisco, with particular interest in his service as "Dean of Women" for the Tuesday Downtown Operators and Observers (TDOs) whose primary focus was inviting young single women to lunch with them on Tuesdays at the Canterbury Hotel. …perhaps the precursor to the match.coms of today. Bob also was one of the handful of skiers who discovered the Squaw Valley mountain area (and its apres-ski life) early on in the 1950s. He built a ski cabin there in time for the 1960 Olympics where he worked as a timekeeper.
Bob started his own engineering and construction firm, Valentine Corporation, in 1965. Today, fifty years later, the firm still operates from its headquarters in San Rafael, CA. with distinction.
He married Madeleine "Lani" Stephens on Valentine’s Day in 1966. He is survived by his wife, and two children, Ellen Story Valentine Thompson ’89 (John), and Robert O. Valentine, Jr. ’91 (Ashley), and four granddaughters, Elise and Jules Thompson, and Laura and Emelia Valentine. His sister, Elena Valentine Corbett, of Medford, OR, also survives, plus numerous nephews and nieces. His brother, Richard, pre-deceased him.
In 1987 Bob and Lani purchased acreage in southern Mendocino County of 100 acres of planted Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Over the years he sold grape contracts to numerous wineries, and as an amateur winemaker himself, prided himself on winning numerous medal awards. A commercial wine venture under the label "Valentine Vineyards" was also developed, and to Bob’s great delight, his 2003 Cabernet won Best of California at the prestigious Sacramento State Fair competition.
Bob was a past director of the Association of General Contractors of California, a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a former director of the Olympic Club, and a former director of Fort Mason Foundation.