Long-time Los Altos resident Robert R Claypool died from Covid-19 on December 30th at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Gatos. He was 93 years old.
Bob was born and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was a good student who loved learning. The school principal let him come to school early and use her office to study. He rode his bicycle to the other side of Milwaukee to visit his aunt and uncle, who taught him his love for classical music.
He graduated early from high school in 1944, in order to join the Naval Air Corps. He learned to fly in an open cockpit, fabric-covered biplane, and thus began his lifelong love of flying. Though the war ended before he flew in combat, he always considered himself a Navy man.
Bob attended The University of Wisconsin and became a civil engineer. He used his engineering in many ways. He started his family as he designed and built custom homes in the Milwaukee area. Bob loved Porsches and became a founder and first president of the region’s Porsche Club of America.
He came to California in 1966 with his young family to become a manufacturer’s representative for a company that promptly went out of business. Ever the entrepreneur, Bob started his own company, Claypool Controls Corporation, followed by three others over the years. He designed and had built a worm gear operator, which opened and shut large valves. Later he represented companies with products in manufacturing. and robotics. He was successful in business and rightly proud of his accomplishments. Bob sold his companies and retired in 1999.
In 1986, Bob married Diane Wieden and spent the last third of his long life in Los Altos with her. They shared their love of the opera and symphonies. Together they traveled throughout the US and took occasional trips to Asia and Europe.
But Bob’s favorite thing in the world was flying. He flew his beloved Cessna 182, well into his 80’s, and he became a member and an officer in the UFO’s, the United Flying Octogenarians. Early on, Diane took a pitch-hitter class and flying lessons, but it never caught on with her like it did with Bob. Together they flew to Wisconsin every year to be with old university friends. It was on one of those trips that the Cessna engine stopped, and Bob was forced to land in the median between east and west bound highway 80 in Wyoming. With help from a mechanic from the nearby Rawlins airport and some rather surprised highway patrol officers, Bob took off on the highway and flew to Rawlins and then on to Wisconsin the next day. The longest trip was to Alaska with a leader and nine other airplanes. They flew to visit friends in Texas and Colorado, but mostly they flew somewhere in California every week for Sunday brunch.
In addition to Diane, Bob leaves four children: Scott (Janna Hansen), Nancy Bauer (Rick), Curtis (Clara Mulder), and Brent, as well as four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Cedar Creek Alzheimer’s Care Center in Los Gatos. Bob lived there for the last two years of his life and received the most kind and loving care possible. A gathering to celebrate Bob’s life will be held when gatherings are possible. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the employee fund there.
15245 National Avenue, Los Gatos 95032