Bob Christensen Memorial Scholarship

Bob Christensen Memorial Scholarship

From Don Barthelmess

To establish an endowed scholarship that lives in perpetuity to memorialize the pioneering life-work of Bob Christensen- Diver, designer and Educator. He helped shape many lives

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Update #8

over 2 years ago

2 days left to raise $1870 for endowed scholarship - Thanks to everyone that can help with any gift.

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Bob Christensen dedicated his lifework to commercial diving  and training and educating others. We have established a memorial scholarhsip in his memory to live in perpetuity if we can raise $20,000.  All contributions are tax deductable as they are going into the Christensen Memorial Scholarship Fund at Santa Barbara City College where Bob Taught from 1969-1985.  He changed many young lives and launched many successful careers.  We lost the best of the best from that era in diving.

I am Don Barthelmess and I a professor of Marine Diving Technology at Santa Barbara City College.

There is little that I can say about Bob that many reading this don’t already know.  He was someone we all loved and had a tremendous amount of respect for.  

I first met Bob in 1989, when I was hired by the college to teach in the Marine Tech Program.  Even though Bob was recently retired from the college- he took an interest in me and I drew upon him as a resource for over 25 years. 

My good friend and colleague at SBCC, Mike Von Alvensleben mentored me along in my early years and helped me build a teaching identity.  Mike taught me many things back then that have stayed with me to this day. I soon found out that Mike was mentored in a similar way, by Bob Christensen. It’s the way we do things at Marine tech.

Bob hired Mike back in 1982.  The two of them continued to work together with Kirby-Morgan long after their SBCC days.

Bob once told me that the secret to instruction is to coach and not teach- “Create the situations where students can discover things on their own and build a structure from real experiences.”  His approach was anything but instructor-centered.  He was years ahead of the contemporary educators.

I quickly discovered that this was a man who knew both diving and education, yet I had no idea of how accomplished he was in so many areas.  As I became more involved with the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, I learned more and more about Bob' s commercial diving firsts. He would never tell you about what he did- you had to ask. Chris Swann wrote a book on the History of Oilfield diving and Bob’s contributions to our industry are documented forever.

Bob was a friend and mentor to many throughout his career. Widely regarded by commercial, recreational and military divers, alike, Bob always shared his knowledge and expertise for the benefit of others.

He was one of the early pioneers of deep mixed-gas commercial diving that evolved in Santa Barbara in the early 1960s. He was one of the original test divers of the Purisima diving bell, the world’s first commercial lockout diving bell launched in this harbor in 1964.  He later was a test diver for Union Carbide in Tonawanda, NY for deep experimental mixed gas dives.

In 1969, he left the booming deep-water commercial diving field to help establish the Marine Technology Program as one of the original tenured instructors. He succeeded the late Ramsey Parks as Program Director from 1980 to 1985 and then retired.  

Bob helped design and improve most of the modern day commercial diving gear used in the industry today.  Along with Kirby-Morgan, he also helped design several of the functional diving helmets used on Hollywood movie sets.

What is most impressive about Bob is that he was so humble, and un-complicated.  There was no BS with Bob. When he spoke, he spoke the truth.

After graduating from Santa Barbara High School, Bob received his undergraduate degree from USC, and then served in the U.S. Navy. He added to his diving experience by attending Navy Dive School. He was a member of the elite Underwater Demolition Team 11 which is now the U.S. Navy SEAL Team.  Additionally, Bob was a father, husband, grandfather, great grandfather and most importantly- a true gentleman.

Up until this past year, Bob routinely participated in SBCC diving outings with our aspiring young divers. 

His mere presence was a priceless addition to the unique instructional process of the Marine Diving Technology Program.  Bob Christensen exemplified the excellence of SBCC faculty.

Another well known Santa Barbara diving Pioneer, Lad Handelman, wrote: By his sheer presence, on-the-job or off-the-job Christensen made us want to be better men.  When he was in the mix, we wanted to perform better and act better- our image got better- and thus the reputation of our emerging industry got better.”

 

“Many of us made contributions, inventions, technology, and so forth.  Bob Christensen brought intangibles. 

“He brought integrity, quality workmanship and the purest of fellowship.  I know of not a single human being who did not like and respect him. “

Fellow abalone diver and Santa Barbara marine expert Peter Howorth wrote in the Santa Barbara News Press: “ Bob was always a pleasure to be around. He had a tremendous depth of knowledge, but he never flaunted it. If he liked something, he would praise it. He would offer advice when asked but would never force it on anyone.”

 “Bob inspired generations of divers, perhaps imbuing in them what is truly meant by being a gentleman.”

On behalf of the college and the community, thank you Bob- for all you have done for diving and education.  Job well done!  We will all miss him and will continue the legacy he left for us to build upon.  Pease help us establish this $20,000.00 endowment with your donation.  Every bit helps.  

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Help Don raise $10,000 by making a donation.

Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #8

2 days left to raise $1870 for endowed scholarship - Thanks to everyone that can help with any gift.

Don Barthelmess commented on a blog post:
over 2 years ago
Merry Christmas to all and thanks for making a gift to this endowment.

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Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #7

Just $2400 left to raise before Christmas!! I will personally match up to $500 for every gift made until Sunday at midnight.

Divers, MDT Alumni and friends: Please help complete this endowed scholarship for deserving SBCC Marine Tech diving students- the endowment will last in perpetuity. It is tax deductible too!

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Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #6

$2920 to go in 16 days ! We have received 8 new donor gifts yesterday-

Can we count on any other friends and divers for a tax-deductible gift? Thanks to all of you out there on FB for stepping up to give back. We can get this done!

Don Barthelmess commented on a blog post:
over 2 years ago
Almost there- please consider helping - any amount is greatly appreciated.

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Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #5

How many Divers are out there that can setup and help us get this scholarship done?

$25- $50 0r a $100 dollars? Bob Christensen always gave back in his diving and teaching career, now its time for all of us.

Just under 5k to go. Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks to those who stepped up!

( What a nice gift it would be for the family to know this endowment is finished..)

Don Barthelmess commented on a blog post:
over 2 years ago
5 more gifts today! Thank you all for giving back friends! Any gift is very much appreciated and gets us one step closer to the finish.

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Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #4

Can you donate $25.00, $50 or $100 to this memorial scholarship?

We could double the amount raised if just a few more people made a tax deductible gift. Thank you everyone for your gift!

Don Barthelmess commented on a blog post:
over 2 years ago
This photo was taken in Santa Barbara Harbor in the early 1960s. Bob is tending Bob Ratcliffe. Thank you everyone for supporting this .

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Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #3

Can you donate $25.00, $50 or $100 to this memorial scholarship?

We could double the amount raised if just a few more people made a tax deductible gift. Thank you everyone!

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Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #2

We are about 50% of the way to our goal for this endowed scholarship. We need to finish this campaign before the end of the year.

If you are involved in diving, or have been, Bob Christensen played a major part in helping our industry through diver education, pioneering dives and equipment design.

Please consider making a gift toward this fund that will provide a scholarship for future Marine Technology students at Santa Barbara City College in perpetuity and honor the legacy of a humble and dedicated man. It is an investment in our future.

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Don Barthelmess posted a new update:
almost 4 years ago

Bob Christensen Memorial Scholarship

Bob Christensen shaped many lives as an educator and was one of the pioneers who brought commercial mixed gas diving to the civilian diving industry in the 1960s. If you are a diver, Bob had a hand in advancing our industry through education and equipment design with Kirby-Morgan. Please help us memorialize him in perpetuity.

Help me reach my campaign goal on #Fundly! You can donate as much or little as you want. Check it out: http://fundly.com/bob-christensen-memorial-scholarship

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