Cover photo for Bob Joe Kuykendall's Obituary
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1928 Bob 2023

Bob Joe Kuykendall

February 21, 1928 — May 31, 2023


Bob Joe Kuykendall of La Mesa CA passed away on May 31, 2023 after living a full and eventful 95 years. Bob was born on February 21, 1928 to Hardy and Claudia (Ratchford) Kuykendall at Batesville Arkansas. The Great Depression soon arrived, and the family joined other family members in the great migration seeking better opportunity in California. The family moved to Porterville in 1934 and soon to Fresno. Bob, his parents and brother Hardy Jr. moved to San Diego in 1939.


He graduated from Herbert Hoover High School where he served as student body president. Bob was a was a gifted athlete and key member of the legendary 1944-1945 Hoover Cardinals basketball team -- league and Southern California Champions. He attended and played basketball at USC and San Diego State. Endearing friendships developed from those teams lasted a lifetime. Bob enjoyed watching all sports but was particularly captivated by the San Diego State Aztecs in his later years.


Upon graduation from San Diego State, he taught high school at Grossmont-Helix High School where he was given the affectionate nickname of “Uncle Robbie” by his students. After spending time in the Naval Reserves, he volunteered for the Naval Intelligence Department in San Diego, ending service in 1954.


Active in the theater arts, Bob appeared in a stage play at the Old Globe Theater titled “Lo and Behold” where he met Janice Gardner, another cast member. After a 6-month courtship they were married in 1954.


Bob then attended the new UCLA Law school on the GI Bill. Son David was born at the UCLA hospital and sons Tom and Jim were born after the family moved to La Mesa. Bob resided in La Mesa for 65 years. As a devoted family man Bob periodically coached youth baseball and had a near perfect attendance of his sons’ sports events through their high school years.


Bob practiced law in the San Diego area for 38 years. After law school, Bob Joined the San Diego City Prosecutors Office and then moved to private law practice. In 1970 Bob left private practice to supervise the El Cajon Branch Office of the criminal defense non-profit, Defenders Inc. Later, he joined the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. In 1995 he retired after many years at the county as a Deputy District Attorney.


Bob was a remarkable spirit, kind husband, father, brother, colleague and friend. He was soft spoken and selfless and unafraid to share stories, well-used jokes or to espouse a whimsical pun.


Survivors include by his wife of 69 years, Janice; three sons David (Stephanie) of Houston TX, Tom (Kim) of Seattle WA and Jim of La Mesa; granddaughter Katie; and extended Kuykendall family.

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