obit jasper

Robert J. Jasper, 1938-2021

Robert (Bob) Jasper passed away March 12, 2021, at his home in Bakersfield due to complications from cancer. He was born in 1938 in Hannibal, Mo.

Bob moved to San Bernardino, Calif., when he was seven years old and he grew up riding horses and driving fast cars. In high school, he met his future wife, Carol, while competing at a horse show in Santa Barbara where he won a state championship and Carol was reserve state champion in her division. They dated and married shortly after high school.

Bob joined the U.S. Forest Service and eventually became a fire suppression supervisor at the Lytle Creek/Cajon Pass Station in the San Bernardino Mountains. Although he and Carol had often discussed him eventually going to college, Bob continued to put it off as he enjoyed life as a Forest Service ranger. Finally, one morning after returning from smoke jumping on a fire in Montana, Carol noticed that his fire suit was burned through in several places and she “convinced” him that it was time to go to college (Carol was petite, but arguing with her would be like poking a wolverine with a stick). They drove to San Luis Obispo the next day where Bob took entrance exams and was accepted into the Soil Science Department at Cal Poly while Carol got a teller job at a local bank. Soon after, they started the Central Coast chapter of their lives.

Bob graduated from Cal Poly in December of 1961 and they moved with their 2-month-old son, Jeff, to Tehachapi in a snowstorm. Bob began a position with the Soil Conservation Service to study the groundwater table in the Tehachapi Valley and surrounding area. Later, the Tehachapi Cummings County Water District (TCCWD) was formed and Bob became the general manager (see Jon Hammond’s nice story about the genesis of TCCWD). Bob also served as the president of the Southern California Water Association and was hydrologist in charge of State Comprehensive Watershed Management. He traveled frequently to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to assist in the design and implementation of the California State Water Project.

He was passionate about horses, fishing and hunting. He enjoyed dancing with Carol on the weekends, dinner with friends, and camping with his family over the years.

After some 42 years with the TCCWD, Bob retired with his wife Jan (Carol passed away in 1985). He is survived by his son Vic and his wife Cyndi (Bear Valley Springs) and their three sons, and his son Jeff and wife Lori and their children Jacob and Julia (Mountain View, Calif). A memorial will be planned in Tehachapi for the summer.

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