February 21, 1940 – September 17, 2021
Robert Florez was just one person, but he was the world for many. He was born on February 21, 1940 in Bakersfield, California, to David and Estella Florez. Robert was the first of four children. He was born with a gentle, kind mind, with innate athletic abilities, artistic creativity, and a generous soul. He used his heart and his hands to do a lot of great things in life.
Robert (Bobby) was a talented football player in Shafter High School, a strong and ready defensive back, and was a key member of the track team as a hurdler, registering Varsity in the two sports respectively.
Growing up in the Mexican colony of Shafter (Colonia), Robert was the first to graduate from high school in his family. After graduating in 1958, he found his first job at Riverside Cement as a miner.
He joined the Army in 1962 and was sent on his first tour of duty in Vietnam in 1963, as part of the 173rd Airborne Unit. Bobby survived Vietnam and was a skilled paratrooper.
Robert was honorably discharged from the military in 1965 and immediately returned to work at the Riverside Cement Plant, where he retired thirty years later in 1995.
Upon his return, Bobby was actively involved with various veterans groups, traveling across the country and the world as a Frankish Ambassador for Vietnam Veterans.
Bobby was a giver in life, always sharing memories of his travels with everyone in his family. He was a proud artist and craftsman, producing hand-carved walking sticks, unique jewelry, and always had a Vietnam-themed artifact on hand for his family and friends. He was also a lover of classic and vintage cars.
Bobby was a proud and dedicated uncle, traveling often to witness key moments for his many nieces and nephews.
He wasn’t a man who said a lot of words, but he was a man who laughed a lot and loved sports. He rarely missed listening to or watching a professional sporting event, especially if it was USC, Raiders, or Dodgers games. He was also a major player on the UC Riverside baseball team and generously contributed to the University’s track and field program, sometimes even hosting varsity athletes at his home in Riverside during the school year.
Most of all, Bobby helped people – those he knew and those he didn’t know. Someone described Bobby as someone who would give the shirt to anyone who needed it. He was a popular man because of his kind and gentle manners, especially in the veterans community.
Many will miss his dazzling smile, his warm laughter, and his endless joy at seeing someone receive a gift from him.
Bobby is survived by his siblings: Ray Florez of Shafter, Sandra Florez of Shafter and Janet Florez of Grover Beach. Immediate nephews and nieces: Dean Florez, Ryan Hernandez, Kris Florez, Michaela Hernandez, Gregorio Breedlove and Matthew Garcia. Bobby is survived by his great-nephews, nieces and godchildren, too many to name.
Bobby was predeceased by his father, David Florez, and his mother, Estella Florez, of Shafter, California.
The visit to the open coffin will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the rosary of
7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at Saint Francis De Sales Catholic Church, 4268 Lime Street, Riverside, CA 92501.
Mariachi Mass will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 7, 2021 at Saint Francis De Sales Catholic Church, 4268 Lime Street, Riverside, CA 92501. A celebration of Bobby’s life will be held at the Spanish Art Gallery at the Mission Inn, 3649 Mission Inn Ave, Riverside, CA 92501 immediately after mass.
Full Military Interment will be held on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 11 am to noon at the Columbarium at Riverside National Cemetery, 2249 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside, CA 92508. An Honorary Reception will be held immediately following the Military Interment.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, 1235 South Clark Street, Suite 910 Arlington, VA 22202 or online https://www.vvmf.org/donner-Ã -vvmf/ The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) believes that all who served in Vietnam should be honored and remembered for their service. The In Memory program gives families and friends of those who returned home and later died the opportunity to remember them forever.
Posted by Bakersfield Californian on Oct 3, 2021.