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Robert Friend

The world was blessed on October 25, 1943, with the arrival of Robert Bruce Friend, the best husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. Son of the late Elinor and Eugene Friend, he shined early in life, overcoming the challenges of diabetes at a young age. Bob approached life with discipline and determination and chose to live his life with the glass half full. He passed away peacefully while surrounded by his family on October 17.


Bob loved connecting with people. He cared deeply for them and was respected by all who knew him. His accomplishments were numerous, both in business and in the community as a haberdasher, beginning with Howard’s Clothing and then Kutler Clothiers and later led the family business, Howard Properties. Bob also served on many local and national boards, including the UCSF Foundation, Summer Search, AIPAC and the Jewish Federation. Throughout the decades, he fought to protect and advance children, education, health, the arts and the environment.


His adventures were many. He was one of the early pioneers of mountain biking on Mt. Tamalpais and windsurfing under the Golden Gate Bridge. Bob loved to ski, whether it was on water, the slopes or from a helicopter. He loved exploring different countries. His favorite annual rituals were fly fishing with his buddies and adventuring in the mountains of Montana on pack trips and dude ranches. Roping as a healer, Bob even won a rodeo, earning him the nickname, the “Frisco Kid.”


Bob’s smile was transformational and lit up the room. He gave meaning to the words gentle, generous, kind and compassionate, consistently and without reserve. He always took care of his friends, employees and family. He even looked out for the nurses and caregivers taking care of him. Bob had a huge heart and a buoyant giving spirit. We miss him deeply and will love him always.


He is survived by his beloved wife, Michelle; daughter, Nicole, son-in-law and grandson; brother and sister-in-law, Donny and Janie; niece Lauren; and nephews Benjamin and Jason and their families. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Summer Search, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the UCSF Foundation and the Montana Wilderness School. A private celebration of life will be held at a later time.

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