Former Santa Barbara County Second District Supervisor Robert “Bob” Kallman died Tuesday afternoon surrounded by his family in Santa Barbara. He was 87.
Kallman, who served as supervisor from 1975 to 1985, passed away while in hospice care following progressing health issues, including a fight with Parkinson’s disease, according to his daughter, Carol Kallman.
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Kallman served on a number of local boards and previously owned Kallman’s Nursery. He was also a past president of Old Spanish Days Fiesta and was involved with the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.
Kallman also served under the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H. W. Bush as executive director of the U.S. Interior Outer Continental Shelf Task Force, director of the U.S. Minerals Management, adviser to the U.S. secretary of the Interior, and as special assistant to the secretary of the Interior.
Even after all the traveling, Kallman always had a soft spot in his heart for the Central Coast, his daughter told Noozhawk.
Kallman attended Santa Barbara schools and earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara in 1948.
Carol said her father, who married his childhood friend, the former Ruth Davis, always made time for those he loved, despite being involved in dozens of local organizations.
“Even though he was an extremely busy man, he’s still one of those guys that always put his family and friends first,” she said, noting he had some of the same friends for 50 or 60 years. “My kids have been very close to him.”
One of those longtime friends, Bill Brace, credits Kallman with helping to establish and develop the Santa Barbara Zoo while serving as president of the Santa Barbara Jaycees.
“We have today the very finest small zoo in the world to appreciate their work,” said Brace, adding that the Kallman family has generously donated to the zoo over the years.
Brace said Kallman’s son, Kris, was recently selected as president of El Pescadores, the business group his father also used to preside over.
Impeccable character, cordial, honest and good dancer were some of the ways Brace described his friend.
“You could always count on his word,” he said.
Jeanne Graffy, who served as Second District supervisor immediately following Kallman, referred to her friend Wednesday as the “quintessential Santa Barbara leader.”
“I nominated him for Santa Barbara Man of the Year in 1995, but he could easily have won the title every year,” Graffy said. “He loved the Santa Barbara community, and they loved this man of quiet dignity coupled with dynamic leadership. We were in local political offices at the same time, but I came to know him beyond that as a loving family man who could just as soon be on the floor playing a game with his 5-year-old granddaughter as give a speech to 200 people. He epitomized the best of Santa Barbara. He will be missed.”
Kallman is survived by his wife, three children, six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Carol said even near the end, Kallman’s family continued to share memories during their weekly Sunday breakfasts.
Her parents traveled all over the world together, she said, and even brought the whole extended family along for several cruise trips.
“The fondest (memory) for us was the fact that we did travel together,” Carol said.
A military burial will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Barbara Cemetery, 901 Channel Drive, with a memorial to follow from 4 to 6 p.m. at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd.