Robert F. Weaver died on Sept. 20, 2019, in Friday Harbor, Washington.
Bob was born Oct. 27, 1919, on a small family farm east of Goshen, Indiana. His parents were Mennonite farmers who twice relocated their family to western Oregon, and then back again to Indiana, instilling in Bob the desire to someday return to the far west and the Pacific Ocean.
In 1941 he married Mary Lois Bender, a Mennonite from Salisbury, Pennsylvania, whom he met at Goshen College, a Mennonite school they both attended. They raised four children on the Weaver family farm: Anna Jo, Nellie, Andy and Chris. Bob and his brother Joe became successful large-scale chicken farmers, and Bob supplemented his income working as county sanitarian, inspecting dairy farms and restaurants for their sanitation practices. While living in Indiana he also became very involved in a family undertaking to develop and market seedless watermelons, an enterprise that eventually succeeded years after Bob left the Midwest.
In 1955, the family moved from Indiana to Waldron Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington state. There Bob beach combed the logs with which he built his house. In the 1960s and early ‘70s he was employed as the sanitarian for both San Juan and Skagit counties. He was proud of the role he played in helping to convince the Washington State Legislature to pass laws improving the working and living conditions of migrant farm workers throughout the state.
When The Nature Conservancy decided to secure a land preserve on Waldron Island, Bob became an enthusiastic fund raiser for the effort. Later that preserve was transferred to the San Juan Preservation Trust, of which Bob was an active member for many years as representative for Waldron.
Wherever he lived, Bob took great pleasure in gardening and tree planting. On Waldron Island he and Mary developed a highly productive vegetable garden and a small orchard of apple, pear and plum trees. He had a strong attachment to the soil, and never lost interest in the many and various ways of maintaining and improving its vitality. Gregarious by nature, Bob had many valued friendships. He loved to share garden produce, his theories of good gardening and his practical knowledge of how to do things, from laying a proper septic line and mixing concrete to making blackberry wine.
Bob was always an ardent pacifist, a philosophy that had deep roots in his Mennonite upbringing. He had no compunction in publicly denouncing bloated defense budgets, the support by the U.S. of corrupt governments and dictatorships, or its aggressive military posturing when provoked abroad. He was particularly outspoken against the Vietnam War, a stand not widely popular in San Juan County at the time.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife Mary, his son Andy, his brother Joe Weaver and his sister Agnes Eigsti. He is survived by his three daughters, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Bob’s family would like to suggest donations to Hospice of San Juan in Friday Harbor.