Alumni Spotlight - January 2021
Bob Faulkner '66
Bob Faulkner was born in Klamath Falls in 1939. Raised in Southern Oregon, Bob attended Klamath Union High School, where he was honored with a two-page layout in the school's yearbook in 2018. After high school, he started college at Oregon State University but wasn’t ready to continue so he joined the United States Air Force, in which he served four years of active duty and an additional two years as a reservist. Bob got married during his third year in the service, and after receiving an honorable discharge in late 1964, Bob and his wife moved back to Klamath Falls where Bob entered Oregon Tech (known as OTI at the time). He and his wife lived in the southern part of Klamath Falls and he drove to the original campus for his first year. Once the new campus opened, he then attended school there for his final year, where he earned his Associate's degree in Electronic Engineering in 1966.
After college, Bob was hired to work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, located in Livermore, California, east of the San Francisco Bay. He started in the technical department and ended up supervising many new technicians at the lab in Livermore and also many at the lab near UC Berkeley, then spent his final years on the test grounds working with linear accelerators and other test devices. Bob spent his entire career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory until he retired in 1993.
Besides his job at the Lab, Bob also led several service organizations. He worked his way through 10 years of offices in the local Masonic Lodge until he became Master in 1983. He and his wife also worked with three youth groups, The DeMolay Boys, Rainbow Girls and Job’s Daughters, and were honored several times for their work with and support of these groups. Bob dove with the Aqua Tutus Dive club for 20 years as well, earning the level of Advanced Open Water Diver, diving in many locations off the West Coast as well as several locations around the world.
Bob remained in California for several years after his retirement. A man of strong faith, Bob became very involved with his local church. Having attended some art classes but mostly self-taught, Bob discovered he had a passion for art. He began making art for the church and building sets for the stage plays that they put on throughout the year. He also enjoyed singing and acting in the performances. At one point, a friend of Bob’s who was a local educator, asked Bob to visit one of her classes to teach the students the fundamentals of art. Bob obliged and news of his art lesson made the local paper. Soon after, the schools in San Joaquin Valley invited him to continue these art demonstrations in the schools, first as a volunteer then later as a paid instructor. This led to Bob eventually teaching art to adults at Delta College in Stockton, CA. As Bob says with a smile in his voice, “Art and going to church have kept me young.”
Bob moved back to Oregon in 2000. He settled in Eagle Point where he built a home and designed the landscaping, surrounded by the nature which was the inspiration for much of his artwork. After his marriage of 46 years ended, he relocated to Shady Cove, OR next to the Rogue River. Bob joined various art groups at his church and in the community and continued to teach art in elementary schools. His art was shown in many art shows throughout California and Oregon and he won many awards in both states and in international art shows.
A typical day for this retired engineer and artist nowadays includes cooking his meals, traveling to town and helping people who are working hard. Downsized and without much room to work on art, Bob enjoys being out in nature while he sketches in nice weather, or going to Shari’s Cafe in Central Point during the colder months, using that space. He thoroughly enjoys eating meals and socializing with people there and he shares his art with Shari's to hang for the enjoyment of all that visit the restaurant.
Bob is affectionately known in his community as the “Dollar Man” because he enjoys giving back when he can, especially supporting people in the service professions. He no longer worries about material things, choosing instead to care about others above himself. He has enjoyed many adventures throughout his lifetime such as diving in the ocean for 20 years, riding horses, driving cattle on his grandfather’s ranch, a successful career and now retirement, where he has enjoyed seeing his art make its way to 17 countries.
According to Bob, “art is simple if you abide by two words: patience and fun.” He also explains that, “once you retire, you need to have something to keep your mind active.” Bob encourages Oregon Tech students and alumni to enjoy life, to use common sense and to listen to everyone, whether it is a child or the most educated person you know, because every single person has an important perspective. He adds, “Take what will help you to bring goodness to others. If you do this, your life will be a very happy one.”
~Becky Burkeen, Alumni Relations Manager