Dr. Robert Edward 'Bob' Kladifko
Kladifko, Robert Edward It is with great sadness and heavy hearts to announce of the passing of our beloved father, Robert Edward Kladifko, who joined his Heavenly Father on April 8, 2021. He is a man who was, and still remains, in our hearts, truly "larger than life". A lifelong public educator, "Bob", as he was known to friends and family, created friendships and connections in every aspect of his life. Whether it was as a teacher in the classroom in his early years as an educator, a principal or school administrator soon after, or as a professor at Azusa Pacific and Cal State Northridge University after his retirement from the Los Angeles Unified School District. Bob's outgoing demeanor and genuine compassion for others touched many people in his life outside his career as well. Bob made friends everywhere he went and with everyone he met, especially through his many philanthropic endeavors. He was a catechism instructor and lector at Holy Angels parish, reserve deputy sheriff, 4th Knight in the Knights of Columbus, Optimist Club member, CIF board member, and Arcadia school board member. Bob was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to George Kladifko and Irene Peterson, on December 12, 1934. He remained extremely close all his life to his only sibling, Rose Marie. Bob attended St. Cloud State University and started his teaching career at Mazeppa High School in Mazeppa, MN. Bob's love of education and his drive to give every student the opportunity to succeed began in MN and continued for almost five decades, as he relocated to California. He and his buddies hitchhiked all the way west as resources were tight. We always enjoyed listening to stories of this trip. Bob continued his career working in LAUSD, holding administrative positions at Abraham Lincoln High School, Griffith Junior High School, Wilmington Junior High School, Venice High School, Horace Mann Junior High School, and finally at his beloved Reseda High School. Bob was truly a "Reseda Regent", as when he retired from this position he was quoted as having done more for the school, and it's public appearance and programs than any other. During his tenure at Reseda, Bob instituted many programs, all with the goal of molding students who would become successful 21st century global citizens. These included theme based academies focused on diverse occupations such as police work, media avenues, and multilingual teaching. He also established a student-run unity council to mediate conflicts among peers, a student-operated copier business on campus, a character development program for all staff and students, and a Naval Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps. His office was filled with plaques and certificates of appreciation from many organizations. Following the birth of his granddaughter, Collette, Bob became a strong advocate for children with special needs and became an active executive board member of the San Gabriel /Pomona Regional Center. He earned the title of Professor Emeritus because of his tenacity as an educator. Bob continued even after his retirement from LA Unified as he remained in education at Cal State Northridge by teaching university students to become school administrators. Soon after Bob's start of this 50 plus year career and his arrival in CA, he met the love of his life and his soul mate, Trudy Berthel. Together they raised four children and would have been celebrating their 59th anniversary on May 5, 2021. Bob's personal life centered around his family and friends, his love for the outdoors, church, sports, philanthropic contributions and the myriad of animals always in the backyard. A true cowboy at heart, Bob created his own "gentleman's ranch" in Arcadia, CA, with horses, sheep, chickens, ducks, tortoises, goats, cats, dogs and assorted small animals all on his one acre property. A visit to the Kladifko house always included riding horses in the backyard, feeding various species of animals, and an abundance of hospitality with plenty to eat and drink. Bob and Trudy hosted many exchange students and educators, as well as parties galore! Bob's love of horses and their amazing therapeutic attributes and his infinite support of Collette and her needs, prompted him to invite the hippotherapy program infinite MACH 1 to base their program on the Kladifko ranch and many children with special needs and their families benefited from their time in the backyard. Bob loved the Sierra's and the mountains and took his family camping every summer. His backpacking trips were legendary and it was a requirement that you "catch your supper." He was an accomplished fisherman, golfer, softball player, football referee, and sports coach. Bob remained true to his Minnesota heritage and followed the Vikings faithfully as well as all the Minnesota Gophers teams. Truly there aren't enough words to describe this amazing man. He truly followed his Heavenly Father's command to "go forth and be a light to the world". Bob's light will continue to shine in our hearts and in our memories of him. Bob is survived by his wife Trudy, his daughters Laura Kladifko and Audrey Rothert, his sons Ken and Brian Kladifko, and his seven beloved grandchildren, Collette, Kyle, Rachel, Kolton, Jimmy, Rebecca, and Allison. A rosary will be held in his name at Cabot and Sons on June 11 from 2 to 5 pm. A funeral mass will follow on Saturday, June 12 at 10:00 am with burial to follow at San Gabriel Cemetery. A Celebration of Bob's life will be held at Valley Hunt Club at 1:00 pm on the same day. Service will be livestreamed on Zoom at this link: us02web.zoom.us/j/… lieu of flowers, please consider donating to MACH 1. Move A Child Higher, Inc. (MACH 1) is a twenty-five year horseback riding and horsemanship program that is dedicated to bringing self-confidence, physical strength and emotional well-being to people with disabilities through Equine Assisted Services and community involvement. A full 80% of participants are from low to moderate income families. The program is a PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl.) Premier Accredited Center. We are a safe, professional, respectful, transparent organization that improves life activities to people with disabilities in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. Donate online at moveachildhigher.org or checks mailed to MACH 1, 1430 Topeka St., Pasadena, CA 91104.
Published on June 6, 2021
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