In memoriam: Bob Jarrett was a true maverick and Patagonia friend

SNEWS® has learned that Bob Jarrett (1940 to 2010), a man who defined the word maverick, passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 11 at his home in Colon, Panama.

SNEWS® has learned that Bob Jarrett (1940 to 2010), a man who defined the word maverick, passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 11 at his home in Colon, Panama. Those who were fortunate enough to have known him will long smile at the many memories Jarrett created during his lifetime.


Vincent Stanley, editor and minister of culture (seriously) for Patagonia, shared the following with us:

Everyone who came in contact with Bob has a story to tell.

One favorite.

Kris McDivitt had hired Bob to make a rock garden in front of her house on PCH. Bob decided to use as a source boulders from the beach at Mondos Cove (in Ventura, Calif.); they were plentiful, close by, and free of charge. While hucking his third or fourth load into the bed of his truck, he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, a sheriff's car sidling up. He took the last boulder in and returned it to the sand, then another.

The officer came up and asked him what the hell he was doing.

"I had all these rocks in my yard," Bob said. "And I'm just trying to get rid of them."

"You can't do that," the cop said. "Put 'em back in the truck."

Which he proceeded to do...

Bob was -- in addition to being wicked smart, quick on his feet, a master builder of anything he cared to build, and wily -- a born entrepreneur and a fiercely independent spirit. In his late teens, he took to climbing in Yosemite and surfing the breaks of his native Orange County (Calif.) where he was legendary not only for his style but also for surfing the best waves in the dead of winter in a wool coat. 


He made friends easily -- among them Yvon and Malinda Chouinard from the earliest days, Dale Velzy, Hunter S. Thompson, Taj Mahal and Carlos Santana -- and kept them.

After running his own ambulance service in Aspen's heyday of the late '60s and '70s, he retired to a paradise of his own near Livingston, Mont., where he fished, built rock tubs around his numerous hot springs and had a screened-in cabin for his fly-fishing friends to stay.

From there, Bob came to Patagonia in 1988 to work with Peter Noone and Andy Carlson building out Patagonia’s retail stores as we acquired spaces (photo of his work in the Buenos Aires, Argentina, store to the right). During his last years here, he commuted to work from Zancudo, Costa Rica, where he bought some coastal property, set up the planet's most remote Patagonia seconds store, and served as unofficial mayor and judge.

He found loving happiness in his last years with his wife, Ruby. The day before Bob died, he and Ruby had been out to the local market. An infection he'd incurred while metal sculpting was healing up. The sale of Zancudo had just closed. He was in good spirits.

Bob was a steadfast friend as those who knew him for anywhere between five and 50 years can attest. We shall miss him. His spirit is with us.

A paddle-out for him will be scheduled soon.


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