To say that Bob lived ambitiously would be an understatement. His unrelenting commitment to excellence was obvious to those around him as a scholar, athlete, entrepreneur, author, father, son, grandfather, husband, and friend.
Bob was born on February 17, 1941, in McCloud, California, as the only child of Greek immigrants Chris and Kathern Farentinos. He acquired from his parents a high level of grit that manifested in life as an incredible work ethic and optimism even in the face of challenges. In 1963, he married Donna Andrews, also of McCloud, while they were attending San Francisco State University. Their sons, Steven and Christopher, were born in San Francisco in 1964 and 1967.
Bob spent many years dedicated to education, receiving a PhD in biology from University of Colorado Boulder and continuing his scholarship as a professor and researcher at The Johns Hopkins University, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, and The Ohio State University. Bob often enlisted the help of his family with tasks ranging from collecting pine cones half-eaten by Abert’s squirrels to feeding vampire bats, instilling in his sons a lasting sense of deep respect and love for the natural world.
Bob excelled in a variety of sports including weightlifting, rowing, skiing, cycling, running, and stand-up paddleboarding. In his 40s, he decided to start cross-country skiing competitively, won multiple age-class 50-kilometer championships, and even qualified to represent Greece on its olympic team, though an injury during training prevented him from participating. Had he attended, he would have been the oldest Olympian at the 1988 games. He picked up rowing in 2003 at the age of 62 and joined the Vancouver Rowing Club. Within a few years, he was not only rowing competitively but also winning in Regional Masters Championships. In 2007, he won the Canadian National Masters Championship.
In 1981, Bob and Donna founded Farentinos Gym. Arnold Schwarzenneger attended the grand opening and the facility became a destination for many world-class athletes and an official training center for the U.S. Ski Team in Boulder, Colorado. He also dabbled in culinary businesses, including co-founding the first licensed commercial winery in Colorado and importing artisanal olive oil from the Greek island Kefalonia, where both his parents were born.
After his divorce, Bob switched gears and worked for an ecological consulting firm. While searching for sustainable natural rubber sources in Brazil in 1993, Bob met and fell head over heels in love with Christiane (Busch) Farentinos. Employing his natural charisma and knack for dramatic persuasion, he convinced her to marry him and move from Rio de Janeiro to Portland, Oregon, with her children – Andre, now 33 and Antonia Fortes, now 29 – whom he raised and loved as his own.
Bob was an avid reader and prolific writer. In addition to scholarly articles in scientific journals, Bob also co-published a plyometrics book with his first cousin James Radcliffe as well as two children’s books based on his personal experience rescuing three orphaned mountain lion cubs from the harsh Colorado winter. As creative outlets, he also wrote poetry, enjoyed playing piano, tinkered with photography, and was an epic chef!
Raising two families in one lifetime was Bob’s favorite thing, and he managed to keep everyone close with countless trips to Los Angeles (where both Steven and Christopher lived), McCloud, Sunriver, Kauai, and Greece. Bob was engaged with and dedicated to his four grandchildren – Jade, Nina, Jackson, and Sofia – inspiring them to always live in the present moment, showing them the value of diverse perspectives, and instilling in them an appreciation of carefully positioned “B.S.,” especially during the betting round of pinochle! Despite his many noteworthy achievements, Bob felt most proud of his family, his love with his wife of 28 years, Christiane, his four kids, and his four grandkids.
In his final weeks, the lifelong stoic “cracked open” and gave his friends and family the gift of his vulnerability. He was more forthcoming than ever with his thoughts, feelings of deep gratitude, memories, grief, and love. Bob was surrounded in his final days by his family reminiscing, playing pinochle, laughing, crying, joking, eating, singing, and sharing their love. A beautiful life and a beautiful death.
Bob passed away on December, 28th, 2021. A Celebration of Life will be scheduled for Spring or Summer 2022.