DANVILLE - Bob Vincent's sunny disposition, gentle nature and lifelong devotion to youth athletics will be missed by young and old whose lives he touched.
Vincent, a 50-year Danville resident, died Jan. 11 from bone cancer. He was 80.
Months before he died he was still playing tennis and time-keeping at high school football games, his wife, Jeanne, said.
"He loved the kids and the sports," she said. "It was fun for him and he worked very hard at it."
After 50 years of marriage, she was used to Bob dashing off to a track meet, a basketball game or a tennis tournament. She would keep a dinner plate warm in the oven for him, and knew that his love for kids and sports was what kept him ticking.
Bob was a teacher and coach at San Ramon Valley High from 1951 until 1982. After his retirement, he continued to volunteer with score-keeping and at basketball clinics, track meets and tennis tournaments, often playing doubles with the old-timers vs. the students, said San Ramon Valley High athletic director John Raynor.
"He was a tremendous ally to our athletic program, willing to assist in any way," Raynor said.
Several years ago, the school dedicated its tennis courts as the Bob Vincent Tennis Facility, and continues the 39-year tradition of the Bob Vincent cross-country meet.
Bob wanted to be a coach ever since he was a boy, his wife said. He attended UC Berkeley for 21/2 years, then joined the Army Air Corps and was an officer during World War II.
"He was a very handsome pilot in that uniform," she said.
She had just graduated from nursing school when a friend introduced them, and they were married in 1952. After the war, he finished college and obtained his teaching credential, teaching his first few years in Yolo County before coming to San Ramon Valley High.
He also taught swimming over the years to more than 1,000 children in the Vincent's backyard pool.
For his lifelong involvement with youth and community, he was named Danville citizen of the year in 1991, inducted into the California Coaches Hall of Fame and received numerous other awards, his wife said.
"Bob gave to everyone he ever met," Raynor said. "He will always hold a special place in our hearts."