Santa Cruz lost a native son on Friday, July 21st. Robert Vajretti, a life-long resident of our town, passed away in peace after years of suffering with Alzheimer's and dementia. Bob was among his family and many friends in his last days and moments. Through all the tears and laughs, he received a transition fitting of the man who touched the lives of so many in Santa Cruz. In his 76 years, Bob graduated from Santa Cruz High where he played football and shot put, married a wonderful woman, built a house and home, worked hard, successfully raised two daughters - and made a positive difference in every single person he knew. Bob chose the bright side of any encounter and, even in the hell-raising Harley Davidson days of his youth, would put you at ease with his soul-shining smile and gentle wit. He was a man of his time and worked to provide for his family as a postal carrier, an electrician, in the slaughter house, at the Boardwalk for Seaside Company, and in the end the cement plant from where he eventually retired. Bob was a sports fan. He loved the 49ers, even during their losing streaks. Born to Henry and Irma Vajretti, he and his brother Ron were 2nd generation Santa Cruzans and Bob loved this town until the day he died. He traveled through Europe at age 18 on his first motorcycle and decidedly returned home (with his bike) to stay and raise a family. Bob chose to focus on the simple aspects of life and wasn't prone to fall victim to life's complexities and away from what matters - work hard, set a good example, honor your word, don't judge, and be there for your friends and family when you're needed. Those that knew him testify to his optimistic nature and patience. A patient collector of many things including puzzles, coins, stamps, baseball cards and Hot Wheels, he also collected a lifetime-full of friends - and memories that he takes with him to the Heavenly Kingdom. A devoted husband, legendary father, through thick-and-thin true friend, great neighbor and an all-around strong thread in the fabric of Santa Cruz, Bob was a tough guy with a soft heart and will be dearly missed.
Bob is survived by his wife of 49 years, Helen, two daughters, Lori Arena and Wendi Coughlin, his son-in-law, Dan Coughlin, nieces and nephews, and 3 grandchildren, Laci, Antonia and Robert. The family invites you to a celebration of his life on Sunday, July 30th at 11:00 am at Benito and Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel on 1050 Cayuga Street in Santa Cruz. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation in Robert Vajretti's memory to the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org).