A longtime teacher who dedicated his time to ensure youngsters made the most of their educations at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe has passed away.
Bob Forbes, 62, who died April 19, taught third grade at the school since 1997.
Forbes spent about 20 years of professional military training and service with the U.S. Air Force, including several years at Vandenberg Air Force Base missile operations.
Forbes leaves behind a wife, three children, numerous grandchildren and thousands of former students throughout the small agricultural town and Santa Maria Valley. Memorial services will be held locally on Saturday, May 3.
Guadalupe Union School District students, staff and school board members remain in mourning. Students are presently writing letters to his family.
"We will miss Mr. Forbes dearly,'' Superintendent Ed Cora said. "He was a dedicated teacher who was very involved with school leadership, truly cared for his students, and went out of his way to support his fellow teachers.''
Forbes may have been best known for the school garden he created. The garden proved to students that planning and hard work were worth the results of fresh vegetables, flowers and fruits. A plaque will soon be placed in his memory.
"Bob used the garden to teach them about responsibility and to care about something and referenced it to math and science,'' said Principal Jesely Alvarez, adding that plants and ecology were a passion of his.
Fellow teachers knew their colleague as a person who always gave everyone a "wave" and "thumbs up" and a proven and trusted source of sound advice.
"Bob was the kind of man who didn't just talk about it, he did it,'' said teacher Jan Sprague, whose classroom was next-door. "I'd say that's the kind of man Bob was — he talked the talk and walked the walk, every day of his life. We are so fortunate to have had him at our school and known him as long as we did.''
Teachers Tino Aleman and Jaime Cuello described their friend as someone who shared his time on and off campus — with those in need.
"Bob was an inspiration to all,'' Cuello said. "His continual effort to help children, students, community and fellow teachers will forever be seen in the Guadalupe community.''
Forbes graduated with a psychology degree from Purdue University, completed the U.S. Air Force Academy and obtained numerous certificates. He lived in Guadalupe, gained a professional Clear Credential with a CLAD Certificate from Chapman College, and was hired through the "Troops for Teachers Program."
— Kenny Klein is the media contact for the Guadalupe Union School District.