Cover photo for Robert Peter Bourbeau's Obituary
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1935 Robert 2022

Robert Peter Bourbeau

June 2, 1935 — May 14, 2022

Sacramento, California - It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of our father Robert Bourbeau. He passed away peacefully on May 14, 2022 at the age of 86. He will be remembered as an outstanding, life-long athlete and a loving father who valued curiosity and encouraged his children's pursuits.
Robert Peter Bourbeau was born June 2, 1935 in Spokane, Washington. He graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School in 1953. He was a three-sport athletic star, excelling in football, basketball, and baseball. He was all-state in both football and baseball. He went on to receive a baccalaureate degree from Gonzaga University, where he played baseball and basketball. He was a lifelong Bulldogs fan.
After he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany, he was recruited to be the quarterback for his division football team. For two years, he played football with friends and saw Europe. This would lead him to recommend the Army to his two young children. Upon his return to the U.S., he was sent a recruitment letter from the Los Angeles Rams, but never went to trials, as even then he knew many men who had permanent physical damage from the sport and he wanted to be able to be active his entire life.
He went on to play baseball for the Western Canada Baseball League, including Williston in 1955, Dickinson in 1956, and the Southern Alberta Baseball Champions, the Lethbridge White Sox in 1959-1960.
In 1960, he started playing handball at the Spokane Elks Club. After relocating to San Francisco for a new career with the U.S. Federal Housing Administration, he went on to win California and regional titles. Even after he moved and started a family in Reno, Nevada, he would commute to play handball at his beloved South End Rowing Club in San Francisco. He reached the final eight in the National Singles Open Tournament three times and in 1967 placed third. He defeated several nationally-ranked players that are currently in the USHA Handball Hall-of-Fame. He was inducted into the Northern California Handball Hall of Fame in 2004.
At age 37, he switched to long-distance running, winning several regional races for his age group (including the Nationals AAU Cross-Country Masters title with his team from the West Valley Joggers in 1976) and running a 2 hour 39 minute marathon at age 40 (a career best).
He retired as an appraiser with HUD in 2003 after over 40 years of service. After retirement, he continued to enjoy spending time with his children, watching baseball on TV and in person (particularly the St. Louis Cardinals, the Oakland A's, and their farm team the Sacramento River Cats), solving the New York Times crossword (a habit acquired from his mother), and, of course, working out.
He is survived by his daughter Heather Bourbeau, son James Irwin Bourbeau, and grandsons Samuel and Charles. Private memorial services will be held.

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