Robert L. McCaffrey Sr., 91, passed away in his home Oct. 9, 2019 with his children at his bedside. Son of Louis and Amy McCaffrey, he was born on July 26, 1928 in Stockton. Coming from a humble beginning, he was part of an amazing generation that survived the depression. Even at a young age, he held many different jobs to help his family make ends meet.
Robert “Bob” graduated high school at age 16 and began college at University of the Pacific, completing his bachelor’s degree in education in 1949 and began teaching in Manteca.
He served in the United States Air Force in both Europe and Africa. Upon his return, he met the love of his life, Arleen. They were married in 1952 and were together 54 years. He completed his master’s degree in 1958 from University of the Pacific in educational administration. He returned to teaching and was soon appointed superintendent of Arcohe Union School District.
In 1960, he became assistant superintendent of the Montezuma School District in Stockton. Then in 1962, he became superintendent for the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, and there he remained for 31 years. Continuing his pursuit of education, he returned to seek his doctorate from Nova University in 1975.
He was a mentor to many and was always focused on educating children in the community. The McCaffrey Middle School in Galt stands as a tribute to his dedication to education. He was unprepared and completely caught off guard at the ceremony, believing such a dedication and recognition was reserved for those honored after death.
It has been said that, “McCaffrey squeezed every buck so tightly that the eagle died of asphyxiation.”
There was a poem at his retirement dedication, Ode to a Big MC, written by Sue Griffin and Debbie Schmidt. One phrase in the poem was, “Some might call him thrifty, questioning costs on all he sees. Hey, when pennies see him coming, they brace for hardy squeeze.” His frugality was demonstrated by two schools built in Galt without cost to the taxpayers.
All his kids and grandkids have fond memories playing cards and dice. He had a talent for telling great stories and jokes, and often was the life of the party. He instilled in each one of them the value of a dollar. Weekends for him were out managing his vineyards. He kept an eagle eye on the stock market daily and was a passionate investor even in his later years.
Bob volunteered on the Lodi Memorial Hospital Association Board of Directors for 13 years and served on 12 different committees. He also served as a president of the Galt Lions Club and was a former Exalted Ruler of the Lodi Elks Lodge.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Arleen; his sister and husband, Janice and Aldo Navone, to whom he was very close. He was a much-loved father of four, Cheryl Evans, Debbie McCaffrey, Maureen McCaffrey, and Robert McCaffrey Jr., (Victoria); grandfather of nine, Jennifer, Jonathan, Lauren, Logan, Cameron, Weston, Brookelyn, Robby and Addyson; great grandfather of three, Emma, Johnny and Brody. He will be missed by all of them.
Funeral services will be Friday, Oct. 18 at 11 a.m., at Lodi Funeral Home in Lodi.
Please join the family for a Celebration of Life at the Waterloo Gun and Bocce Club, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m., 4343 N. Ashley Lane in Stockton. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your charity of choice.