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Posted on October 19, 2014 | 4:30 p.m.

Robert Alton ‘Bob’ McFarland of Santa Barbara, 1942-2014

Source: McFarland Family

Robert Alton “Bob” McFarland of Santa Barbara, California, died October 7, 2014, after a 12-year battle with multiple myeloma. He was 71.

A family law attorney for more than 35 years, Bob McFarland was recognized by his peers for his work on behalf of the needs of children during divorce cases.
A family law attorney for more than 35 years, Bob McFarland was recognized by his peers for his work on behalf of the needs of children during divorce cases.

Bob was born November 30, 1942, in Port Arthur, Texas to Ann and Robert McFarland as the second of three sons. He was an overachiever from the time he was young until the time he died.

As one of the top ten seniors of his class, Bob graduated from the University of Idaho with a history degree in 1963. Following graduation, he married his college sweetheart, Catherine Jones, and they moved to Los Angeles, where he earned his juris doctor from UCLA School of Law in 1967. Since 1967, Robert and Catherine have made their home in Santa Barbara, and raised their two children, Elizabeth Ann McFarland and Geoffrey Michael McFarland.

Bob practiced family law and estate planning in Santa Barbara for more than 35 years. With his persuasive arguments to the California Supreme Court, Bob helped shape the law that governs community property rights in California. The Santa Barbara Bar recognized him with a special award for his work establishing the “Children in the Middle” program, which reminds parents to put the needs of their children first during a divorce. He volunteered to improve the legal system as chairman of the Family Law Committee. He taught community property law at the Santa Barbara College of Law and paralegal classes at UC Santa Barbara.

Bob prized nature, self-reliance, fitness, education and art, and he believed in doing one’s best, putting family first and helping others; he passed these values on to his children and others with whom he shared his talents and knowledge. The activities he enjoyed — hiking, sailing, bicycling, traveling and reading — combined as many of these values as possible.

He particularly enjoyed bicycling with family, friends and the Goleta Valley Cycling Club. He loved cycle touring, mountain biking, club rides; it did not matter how far or how fast or slow — he was just happy to be out. He was always one to stay with the last rider and the first to volunteer to fix a flat.

Growing up, Bob was active in Boy Scouts of America and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. As an adult scouting leader, he led backpack trips in the Sierra, organized the Order of the Arrow, and was chairman of scout leader training for the Boy Scouts’ Los Padres Council. In recognition of his efforts, time and embodiment of scouting values, the Boy Scouts awarded Bob both the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award in scouting.

By participating in multiple medical research tests and trials, Bob helped many people afflicted with multiple myeloma.

Bob’s greatest achievement was to love and to be loved in return.

He is survived by Catherine McFarland, his wife of 51 years; his daughter, Elizabeth McFarland, and her husband, Larry Lineberry; his son, Geoffrey McFarland, and his wife, Laura McFarland; and his brothers, William (Norma) McFarland and Darrell (Gisele) McFarland. His parents, Ann and Rob McFarland, predeceased him.

A Celebration of Bob’s Life will be held in the Mural Room at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 29, 2014. Memorial donations may be made to Serenity House, Cancer Center of Santa Barbara or the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, 9201 Sunset Blvd., Suite 300, West Hollywood 90069.


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