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Robert Luke

October 2, 2017

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Robert Victor Luke passed away peacefully in his sleep on 10/02/2017 in Cotati, Ca. Born in Provo, Utah 5/22/1927. He became a nonagenarian (90 year old). He will be remembered for his quick wit and down to earth logic of life. A World War II veteran, US Navy. He served on a fleet tanker USS Taluga AO62 as a machinist mate. Every young man’s dream to see the world, which he did and this tanker’s cruising speed was about 25 miles per hour. So he saw it all.

He was an avid outdoorsman. He started playing golf in his mid-thirty’s where he was a natural reaching a single digit handicapper sooner than was expected. But we all know that takes a lot of practice. It was amazing to see him execute the proper shot, fade or slice, pitch or chip, which is where imagination and logic come to play. There is more to golf than hitting that little white ball. He was a great teacher or coach who could explain the next shot with words and execute it.

He was a fisherman and he had the equipment to fish all kinds’ fresh water or salt water. He had a life changing experience when he caught his first BIG largemouth bass. And to get hooked himself that he became a professional Bass Tournament fisherman. This lasted 15+ years which earned him the nickname of “Big Fish Luke” because he brought home lots of trophies for that.

When he was 83 he started a whole new career. He authored the book “Entombed in Alcatraz” after attending a reunion in 2010. He was one of the few remaining ex-cons alive at that time. He was there (1954-1959) and his number is #1118AZ. One of the guards he met at the reunion said he was part of history that he should write a book and that is what started this book. This led to being a volunteer at NPS Alcatraz giving talks to the visitors, signing his book and appearing in documentaries and public events. He wrote a pamphlet “Choices” which he gave to young people, prison personal, and troubled families of members who were incarcerated which laid out a plan for changes they themselves need to do in their lives. As one of the Rangers said he was a “Rock Star” which he understood it was the places myths that perpetuated that and he enjoyed all the visitors from all over the world who needed to see and experience Alcatraz. He was unable due to his health to attend this year’s reunion, but he still participated doing a “Call-A-Con” where he talked to an audience by speaker phone.

He is survived by one living brother Dean Luke who lives in Medford, Oregon and they have kept in touch talking to each other once a week. Two other brothers who have passed away Darwin Luke and recently Michael Luke. He has a son Matthew Luke who lives in Bakersfield, Calif. Many nieces and nephews that he kept in touch on Facebook which he enjoyed seeing their posts. His wife of 44 years Ida Marie has been at his side through most of these events if not participating but being in the background recording with her camera. Bob has had an adventurous life. He will be greatly missed by all that he has been in contact with.

No Memorial has been set up at this time. If you want to send a donation in remembrance Hospice by the Bay has been so wonderful these last couple of months.