Robert Turner “Bob” Gustafson, 81, of National City, Calif., died after being struck by a vehicle in front of his home while walking his dogs on Feb. 13, 2017.
Bob was born to Gilbert T. and Elizabeth Gustafson on Jan. 16, 1936, in St. Paul, Minn. His father died in 1941. On June 18, 1949, Elizabeth married Walter Blakeslee and moved to the Blakeslee farm near Mystery Cave in rural Spring Valley, Minn. With this marriage, Bob and his sister, Mary Linn gained a brother, Samuel and a sister, Mary Ann.
Bob attended Wykoff High School, and graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School. In 1960, he entered the U. S. Navy and attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. During his Naval career, he served as a legal officer in California, Washington, Hawaii and Vietnam. He was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star with Combat “V”. After retiring from the Navy, he practiced law in Chula Vista, Calif., and later from his home in National City, Calif. As a public defender, Bob was a strong advocate for the poor and under-privileged.
Bob was a gentle soul, generous, good natured, and known for his sense of humor and quick wit, and will be missed by his neighbors and church family. He was a lifelong Democrat, passionate about conserving natural resources, civil rights, and social concerns. Bob was a past Master of South West Lodge No. 283, Free and Accepted Masons of CA, National City. His church home was St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, National City, Calif.
Bob is survived by his step brother, Samuel (Gloria) Blakeslee of Spring Valley; step sister, Mary Ann Blakeslee of Chatfield; nephews, Michael (Janae) Blakeslee of Cannon Falls, Minn.; Daniel (Therese) of Greenville, Wis.; nieces Linn (Dwight) Posey-Maddox of Sun Prairie, Wis., and Stacey Posey of Montrose, Colo.; and many grand-nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Gilbert Gustafson; mother Elizabeth (Betty) Gustafson Blakeslee, step father Walter Blakeslee; sister Mary Linn Posey, and nephew Wesley Blakeslee.
A memorial service was held on Sunday, Feb. 26 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 521 E. 8th St., National City, Calif., with a Masonic Funeral Service immediately following at St. Matthew’s. Military inurnment took place at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, Calif., on March 1.