- Lasting Memories - Robert Leroy Dutton's memorial

Robert Leroy Dutton
July 3, 1942-Jan. 3, 2024
San Ramon, California

Robert Leroy Dutton died peacefully, surrounded by family, on January 3, 2024, at the age of 81. Known affectionately as Bob, he embodies honor, devotion, and loyalty and leaves an everlasting impact as an amazing husband, father, friend, and role model.

On July 3, 1942, Bob was born in Oakland, California, a special place that would forever hold significance in his heart and life. Bob's desire to challenge himself and help others was evident throughout his educational pursuits. He attended San Leandro High School and continued at Contra Costa College, where he earned a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob served for five years in the United States Marine Corps. As a private, he excelled at Camp Pendleton in San Diego and served abroad in Okinawa, Japan, the Philippines, and Borneo, and advanced to the rank of sergeant. During his service, he received numerous honors, including a Good Conduct Medal, a Sharpshooter Badge and recognition for participation in the Laotian Conflict. His military experience instilled values of honor, courage, self-discipline, personal sacrifice, and selflessness, which he carried throughout his life.

Committed to protecting his country and community, Bob served on the Oakland Police force for more than 22 years. A top-notch officer, he worked in the Vice Unit, dedicated to maintaining the safety and well-being of others. Bob was an active member of fraternal organizations, including Masons of California and Le Societe de Camaraderie, the forerunner of the Oakland Police Officers Association. Bob's astute investigative skills eventually led him to a fulfilling career as a Private Investigator, where his attention to detail and unwavering determination to solve and resolve cases and bring about justice earned him the respect and admiration of colleagues in the law enforcement and legal community throughout Northern California.

Beyond his career, Bob was dedicated to his family. His marriage to Brenda, his cherished wife of 54 years, served as a testament to the enduring power of love and devotion. Together, Bob and Brenda were inseparable. For decades, they co-owned and operated restaurants, including The Sandwich Board and Harbor Lights Restaurant in Alameda and Off Broadway Cafe in Oakland. Jointly, they built a warm, lively, and welcoming home -- whether it was a traditional Sunday Italian dinner, a special holiday occasion, or a coffee visit, Bob and Brenda graciously hosted family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors around their dining room table all year long. No one ever left their home or restaurant hungry.

A source of immense pride and joy were his children and grandchildren. Bob was a loving and protective father to Vera Williams, who preceded him in death, Tammy O'Leary, John Foster (Sabrina), and Kelly Bowers (Rob). His guidance, patience, and unwavering love formed the bedrock of their lives, shaping them into the remarkable individuals they have become. Bob was a stabilizing force and a constant presence in his children's lives, instilling a diligent work ethic, a drive to succeed, and the courage to make a positive difference. He encouraged them to "dream big" and achieve their personal, academic, and professional goals. For years, on Labor Day, he and his family answered fundraising calls at the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. He modeled how important it was to be appreciative and to give back to those less fortunate.

As a grandfather, "Papa" relished the opportunity to nurture and watch his grandchildren flourish. Michael Williams (Rachel), Suzanne Burkman (Jennifer), Jared O'Leary, Brooke O'Leary (Tanner), Sophie Foster, Cole Foster, Steven Pangelinan (Jessica), Jacob Bowers (Emily), and Morgan Sager each held a special place in his heart, as he delighted in their many accomplishments and cherished the precious memories they shared. He cheered them on at ballet performances, piano recitals, and baseball, soccer, and basketball games. Upon Papa's stable and strong shoulders, he boosted up his grandkids. While he was a firm and fair disciplinarian with his kids, his grandkids could do no wrong in his eyes.

With his strong encouragement, high expectations, example, and guidance, his children and grandchildren did exceptionally well in school and higher education. Bob was always wearing a different sports cap representing the collegiate affiliation of one of his family members, as he was their biggest fan. In his final days, he was still sporting his well-worn Cal hat -- representing the alma mater of all three of his surviving children.

Bob enjoyed planting and tending to his thriving vegetable garden. He channeled the same amount of care and attention into cultivating the plants that he put into nurturing his children and grandchildren. He was a master decorator for every holiday, winning media recognition for his outdoor Christmas Holiday decorations. He raised and trained their German Shepherds over the years, Dusty, Rebel, Duke, Captain, Indy, and more recently, Bob doted upon and adored their rambunctious canine Dasher and their ever-mischievous Stash, his beloved kitty. Not a day went by that Bob didn't join Brenda in taking Dash for a morning and evening walk to play at the neighborhood park. Bob had an uncanny ear for music - and could "Name that Tune" in four notes or less. His favorite vacation spots were Lake Tahoe and Maui and as a former vice officer, he was in his element at the race track. Bob was an avid sports fan, and in the 1970s, created fond memories by regularly taking his family to Oakland A's games. He was a college and professional football fan and he and Brenda hosted an annual Super Bowl party and organized a football pool with hundreds of participants.

We kindly invite those who knew and loved Bob to join us in celebrating his life and bidding him farewell on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 3:00 pm. The funeral mass honoring his life and public service will be held at the sacred Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, located at 4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611. A reception at Scott's Seafood in Oakland will immediately follow. A private burial ceremony will be held at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette.

Our family would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of support during this difficult time. We are thankful for the professionalism and compassionate care of John Muir Hospital doctors and nurses who attended to him and us during his final days and hours. Donations in Bob's memory to the Martin C. Kaufman 100 Club of Alameda County, the Oakland Police Department Foundation, or the Widows and Orphans Aid Association of the Oakland Police Department, EIN #94-6066304, would be much appreciated.

As we grapple with the weight of our individual and collective grief, let us reflect upon and remember Bob's character, indomitable spirit, and profound, unselfish love for his family. May his soul rest in eternal peace as he reunites with his daughter Vera and other departed loved ones. May his memory serve as a guiding light for all those fortunate enough to have known and loved him.

Tags: veteran, public service

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Memorial service
A funeral mass will be held Saturday, January 13, 2024 at 3:00pm at the Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611, followed by a reception at Scott's Seafood in Oakland. A private burial ceremony will take place at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette on January 16, 2024 at 10:00am.
Make a donation
Donations in Bob's memory to the Martin C. Kaufman 100 Club of Alameda County, the Oakland Police Department Foundation, or the Widows and Orphans Aid Association of the Oakland Police Department, P.O. Box 1061, Lafayette, CA. 94549, EIN #94-6066304, would be much appreciated.

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