Obituary of Robert Raymond Pesce
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Robert Raymond Pesce, of Santa Cruz, CA, Thursday, May 18th, 2023 at his home in Santa Cruz. Just four days shy of his 82nd birthday, Robert died peacefully surrounded by family.
Robert was born on May 22, 1941 in San Francisco, California to Giovanni Baptista and Esther Ida (Brady) Pesce. Robert was the only son and youngest of five children. The family moved to the Live Oak community of Santa Cruz in 1943 where Robert took interest and excelled in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H, winning numerous awards. It was in 4-H where he met his future wife, Donna Marie Lamb. Robert graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1959 where he was an agricultural honor student while also on the football and wrestling teams. He attended Hartnell College in Salinas, CA and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in agriculture and then continued to California Polytechnic (Cal-Poly) State University in San Louis Obispo, CA where he majored in agriculture and wrestled on the varsity team. Robert joined the United States Army Reserves in 1963 and graduated Officer Candidate School (OCS) in July 1966 as a commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Military Police (MP) Corps. Robert remained in the Army Reserves for twenty-four years until his retirement while achieving the rank of LT. COL.
Robert loved sports and was a lifelong fan of the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants and Notre Dame football. As local business owner of RO-MO Tractor Service from the 70's-90's, Robert regularly sponsored youth sports leagues and took an active part hosting off the field player and family events for the teams he sponsored.
Robert was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1980 and was mostly confined to a wheelchair by the 1990’s. Faced with this new challenge, Robert became active in the community becoming a voice petitioning to get sidewalks safer for all users and was a nineteen-year member of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission's Elderly & Disabled Advisory Committee. Not allowing his disability to impact quality of life, Robert and Donna traveled frequently, both in the U.S. and abroad. Together, they visited every state in the union and several countries around the world while traveling by planes, trains, automobiles, and ships. One of Robert’s favorite places to travel was Hawaii and especially enjoyed exploring the military history there with his sons. Robert’s true outdoor passion was gardening and he had planters modified in his backyard so he could garden year-round from his wheelchair.
Robert is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 58 years, Donna Marie (Lamb) Pesce, son Randy Robert Pesce and his wife Elena of Aptos, CA, son Michael David Pesce and his wife Crystal of Franklin, TN; four grandchildren, one great grandson, his sisters; Sister Carole Pesce of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Fremont, Arline (Pesce) Bertelli of Kingsburg, CA, along with several nieces, nephews, and extended family. Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Giovanni and Esther, sisters Barbara Jean Pesce and Shirley Ann (Pesce) Scott.
Robert was a life member of Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) as well as the Santa Cruz local chapter of MOAA, Reserve Officers Association (ROA) and Italian Catholic Federation (ICF) Branch 21 of Santa Cruz.
A celebration of life mass will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Monday June 19, 2023 at the Villa Maria Del Mar Chapel located at 21918 East Cliff Dr. Santa Cruz, CA 95062. Reception to follow. Robert will be cremated and interred with military honors at 3:30 P.M. on Tuesday June 20, 2023 at the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery (CCCVC) located at 2900 Parker Flats Cut Off Rd. Seaside, CA 93955. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your favorite charity. The family would like to thank all the love and support Robert received from family, friends, and the wonderful care team during his final days.