December 2001

Many of you folks on the broadcast have enjoyed reading the two volumes of Palomar history known as Palomar Views I and II. The editor of those books was Bob Litchfield. His father, Russ worked with him on the second book. Their family history goes back to the depression when Bob's grandmother first acquired property down in Pedley Valley. The family never developed that property but for years made jaunts to the mountain for picnics and to cut Christmas trees.

Bob and Paula were married in 1971 and began renting any available cabin periodically coming to the mountain for weekend fun. They bought their own cabin in 1982 which was formerly the Brownell's.  Bob was quite active on the PMPO in the 80's when their daughters were little and they could pack them up anytime. Once the girls got into sports and their own activities, Bob pulled off the PMPO and was also too busy to work on a third journal of Palomar Mountain Views. He loved to hike around their cabin and was quite a naturalist--very tuned in to the land and the trees.  Had health not interfered, Paula believes they, once again would have spent many weekends on the mountain, especially in their retirement years. 
After reading the following tribute to Bob that Paula sent me, I asked if I could share it with all of you. Speaking for the mountain, "We are so sorry Paula, Russ, and family; Bob was very much appreciated up here and will be missed".

~Bonnie Phelps,

<<San Diego Union Tribune   Bob Litchfield, 54; Teacher, Park Ranger, a "Renaissance Man".

When Bob Litchfield worked on the bear management team in Glacier National Park for seven summers he was a scholar in the backcountry and was as apt to quote Shakespeare for the tourists and hikers as well as tell one of his many bear jokes. 

After graduating from UCSD in 1968 in the very first class of undergraduates at Revelle College, he began a thirty year career teaching English literature, Humanities, and U.S. History, first at Patrick Henry High School and also at El Capitan High School, Cuyamaca College, and La Jolla High School.  He remained a lifelong student himself, always eager to try something new.  He so loved art history, he studied it independently and began to teach it as well, and led many students on summer tours through the great museums of Europe.  In 1986 he earned a "Golden Bell" award for training his AP Art History students to be docents at the San Diego Museum of Art. 

Bob had so many passions and diverse interests he was often referred to as a renaissance man.  Dennis Blevins, a former PHHS student, said, "Bob felt as comfortable discussing the nuances of Chaucer as he did any given environmental issue or the previous days box scores for that matter...He helped cultivate in me a lifelong love of the written word.  Bob even made me enjoy iambic pentameter--no small task for any teacher!"  He loved to hike and had a sharp eye for flora and fauna.  The art history tours with students through Europe were always combined with hikes through the Swiss Alps.  He was a passionate fisherman, ever reluctant to call it a day ("Just one last cast!"), and he was an avid gardener.  He planted hundreds of trees from seed at home in Lakeside and often sent guests away with a seedling for their yard.  He nurtured little cedar seedlings to adulthood that he brought from the family cabin on Palomar Mountain.  Bob also loved Palomar and edited two historical journals, "Palomar Mountain Views," as a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department.   Valerie Stevenson, a fellow AP Literature teacher at Patrick Henry High School, said of Bob's plethora of "favorites":  "Bob had more favorite authors than anyone I've ever known.  Actually, Bob had more favorite 'everythings' than anyone I've ever known.  More favorite books, poems, plays.  More favorite lines, scenes, chapters.  More favorite students, classes and subjects than anyone I've ever known.  He was a man of many favorites."

Bob died November 28, 2001 at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte from complications after a second bone marrow transplant in an attempt to cure non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 

The first half of his teaching career was remarkable for his success in motivating students to share his passion for scholarship and literature;  he coached numerous academic decathalon and academic league teams to victory.  His excitement was contagious.  A former student, Lisa (Kirazian) Kradjian said of Bob: "What I loved about 'Litch' was how alive he was.  Alive with passion for literature, poetry, art history--alive with discussion, opinions, interpretations.  He wanted to know what we thought.  Alive for excellence--challenging us to strive for it."  Another student, Stephanie Pfeffer, recently wrote:  Mr. Litchfield was a great teacher.  I learned of his legend long before my first day of AP English at Patrick Henry in 1994.  Simply put, he was the best; his was the class everyone wanted to be in.  Today I am a graduate student in journalism at Northwestern University.  I firmly believe that the skills I learned from Mr. Litchfield helped me get here.  Whether he was inundating us with literary terms or explaining that Shakespeare was an eloquent pervert, he taught with infectious excitement, respect for student ideas, and a sense of humor.  Most of all, he was kind.  I have never had another teacher so universally well-liked, by the jocks, the nerds, the misfits, the misunderstood.  He made it his job to understand them all.  He was a hero of the mind and heart."

The last two decades, Bob expanded his career as a College Board consultant and shared his passion for teaching by training teachers of advanced placement classes.   For the past three summers, he co-directed "AP by the Sea," an institute for teachers of advanced placement classes.  The past two years he again branched out to new areas and worked with AVID Center, writing AP internet curriculum.  Throughout his cancer treatment and between bone marrow transplants he continued to meet with the La Jolla High parents' book club group because for him, it was so much fun!

Survivors include his wife, Paula, daughters Katie and Rosalind, his parents Russell and Nona of El Cajon, and sisters Gail Conrad of Spring Valley and Betsy Pulli of Lakeside.

A private tribute to Bob December 9th overlooked La Jolla Cove, site of another of his newer passions, ocean swimming.  An ocean swim with the La Jolla Swim Club from La Jolla Cove to La Jolla Shores next August will be in Bob's honor.
Donations are suggested to Lymphoma Research Foundation of America, 8800 Venice Blvd., Suite 207, Los Angeles, CA  90034.  The family also suggests joining the national marrow donor registry 1-800-Marrow-2.