Robert Studebaker Ogilvie died peacefully in Santa Barbara at the age of 98 on May 12, 2014, of a heart simply grown frail after a lifetime of wonderful travels, work and family adventures.
Born and raised on a farm near Greeley, Colo., Robert met his future wife, Lois Geer, while both attended the University of Colorado in Boulder. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering; she in English and literature.
Robert’s career in the design, building and management of petrochemical fertilizer manufacturing plants took him, Lois and their two sons from the plains of Ohio, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas to the stimulating environs of Southern California, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, New York and Miami. When their two boys had moved on to college and their own careers, Robert and Lois continued their adventures from homes in Malaga, Spain, and Brussels, Belgium.
He ended a long employment with Exxon after serving as its chief of environmental improvement initiatives throughout Europe and the Middle East. It was his most challenging role.
Robert acquired his love and respect for the environment from his early years on the farm. His father, James Ogilvie, had once been the foreman on the sprawling Studebaker horse ranch in northern Colorado at the turn of the century. His father also taught Robert the secrets of the trout and the fly, which Robert taught to his sons and grandsons. There are few streams in the high Colorado Rockies that someone in the family has not explored.
Robert and Lois settled in Santa Barbara in 1972. As both were Colorado natives, they could not resist the additional acquisition of a place in Aspen, a place that would draw all of the family in both summer and winter for years to come. In Santa Barbara, Robert and Lois were leaders in the First Methodist Church, and were energetic as well as generous in their involvement in community organizations such as the Family Services Agency, Direct Relief International and many, many more.
Lois, Robert’s wife of 61 years, succumbed to cancer in 1998, as did their son Bob in 2005. Robert is survived by his son John and John’s wife, Brook Ashley; his grandchildren Rio and his wife Amy, Brandon and his wife Caroline, Daryn and Alix; and his great-grandchildren Malcolm, McKenna, Lindsley and Henry. Robert was greatly beloved and will be missed by all who were privileged to know him.