In Memory

Robert Donald Mathieson - Class Of 1971

Robert Donald Mathieson

Deceased in October, 2004

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02/23/12 12:24 AM #1    

Rob Allen (1971)

Bob Mathieson was my friend, compatriot and co-conspirator throughout our years at CHS.  Bob was probably a certifiable genius (not a term I use lightly), and of course, (said with great respect and admiration) a Geek’s Geek (Hey, I’m a Geek too, a Bio/Chem Geek).  In fact, Bob was an electronics Geek of rare vintage.  He had an instinctive grasp of electronic circuitry that put the average electronics engineer to shame.  When Bob and I first met as hopelessly lost freshmen, I was struggling with Algebra I.  Bob was teaching himself integral calculus.  In fact, Bob was almost entirely self-taught:  His parents weren’t scientists or engineers.  Who knows where he got it from, but he had the Geek gene and it was dominant and fully expressed (that’s for you molecular biology Geeks out there)! 

Bob and I (and Tim Grana) were pretty much inseparable for the first few years at CHS.  Bob always had the technical know-how, Tim had the ideas, and I was pretty good at polishing things up and getting things done.  It kept the three of us sane during those years.  Later Tim kind of drifted off, Bob became involved with the Theatre folks (he loved making the technical things happen behind the scenes), and I was busy being a Bio/Chem Geek.  After graduation, I went off to UC Irvine, Bob went to San Diego State, and we were too far apart and too busy to see each other very often. 

We re-connected when I started med school, since I was back in the Valley:  It was like no time had passed.  Bob harassed me like guys do when I joined the Air Force.  I can hear him now: “You’re a doctor and you carry a GUN?  Where’s the humanitarian stuff in THAT??”  My reply:  “Hey, Bones McCoy carried a phaser.  If it’s good enough for Bones, it’s good enough for me!”  (I said we were Geeks…).  Bob stood up with me at my wedding, and many years later tried like hell to understand my kids.      

I don’t think Bob ever got a college degree:  He quit San Diego State, I think mainly because he was bored with taking all the lower-division classes trying to teach him things he already knew.  He was involved with sound production by that time, and later worked as an electronics technician in the Valley.  The company he worked for got a bargain and a half:  Bob was smarter and more experienced than the vast majority of EE’s out there.  I think he ended up with something like three or four patents for electronic testing equipment.  He continued doing recording and sound work for friends, and by all accounts was brilliant at it. 

I got very busy in the mid-90’s, stationed on the other side of the country and going all over the world doing interesting things in bad places.  If the planets happened to align, I’d see Bob every other year or so.  Then 9/11 happened, and I got even busier teaching combat medicine and critical care air transport.  I didn’t get back to Claremont for years.  I had not heard from Bob in several years, when I by chance linked up again with Tim Grana (OK, Facebook is good for something).  Tim told me he had heard that Bob had died in 2004.  I was floored.  I checked up on it, and yes, Robert D. Mathieson had passed away of ‘natural causes’ (as a physician I really hate that term) in October 2004, age 51.  Damn.

So here is the eulogy I never got to deliver for my friend, compatriot and many-times co-conspirator, Bob Mathieson.  He was a good man.  He was a good friend.  He was a Geek among Geeks.  I miss him.

Robert C. Allen, DO, FACEP

Colonel (Ret) USAF MC CFS

San Antonio, Texas, 23 February 2012

02/15/13 02:11 AM #2    

Kathee Hennigan (Bautista) (1972)

Thank you for your comments about Bob. I have thought about him from time to time and  wondered what kind of amazing things he might be creating. Bob was a brilliant and caring person. He was very proud of the sound work that he did for the theater department at CHS-- especially the way that he scared everyone in Wait Until Dark. I'm glad to know that he continued to pair his electronic skills with his creative ideas in recording and sound. He had a talent and a love for what he created. A group of us from the Theater Department got together last year and were hoping for news about Bob. I'm sad to learn of his passing.

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