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Robert Carl Knisely, Jr.

December 23, 1961 ~ October 4, 2018 (age 56)

   Robert Carl Knisely Jr died unexpectedly October 4th 2018.

He is survived by his wife, Laurie, sons Robert Carl Knisely III and Nikolas Jay Knisely, Sister Diane Marie Knisely and parents Robert Carl Sr. and Darla Jeane Knisely of San Pablo.   Robert had many nephews, nieces and cousins.


Robert or “Robbie” as friends and family affectionately called him was born in Stockton California December 23rd, 1961. His family moved to San Pablo in 1967. He attended Pinole Valley High School and graduated in 1980. Life-long relationships were amongst his most prized possessions. Among the most influential was one that began during his senior year in high school when he started to date Laurie Butte who became his wife.  They had two beautiful sons in whom Rob had tremendous pride, Robert III and Nikolas. As a father and husband, he was active and engaged whether he was off doing fun activities with his sons or Raider games on Sunday afternoons.  Rob immersed himself in family life as the absolutely dedicated, loyal father and husband that he was all through the years. He loved his family dearly and his sons and their futures always always came first for Rob.

Cultivating new relationships was also a hallmark of Rob’s life. He was friendly and engaging with everyone he met. Never a man filled with pretense, but always interested in others young and old alike.  

Raised to have a strong work ethic and from the very moment he could be legally employed at sixteen years of age, Robbie had a job of one sort or another. He worked at Safeway, UPS, and City of San Pablo and through all those jobs also held down a second at G&L Liquor Store in San Pablo for years.

 Jeff Butte is a superintendent at Caltrans and would eventually become Rob’s boss. In 1999, Rob came to Caltrans and learned the structural steel painting trade. By all accounts, Rob was meticulous in his attention to detail and amongst the most innovative journeymen painters in the trade anywhere in the world. He traveled all over the United States for work painting structural steel bridges, dams, spillways and buildings that most of us use every day.







There are literally hundreds of them across the United States, but to name a few here close to home, Rob painted the Delta Mendota Canal Bridges at Los Banos, Bay Farm Island Bridge at Alameda, Feather River Bridge at Marysville, Eureka Slough Bridge at Eureka, the Tower Bridge at Sacramento and in more recent years the Bay and Richmond San Rafael Bridges here in the bay area.

Amongst apprentice structural steel and bridge painters, Rob was the stuff of legend. He showed others learning the trade how to simplify techniques and processes to obtain the best possible outcomes. He took incredible pride in his work and did things right even when nobody was looking. The higher in the sky the work, the better he liked it. Those who worked with him admired him and have commented over and over again about his humor, good nature and positive outlook on life. All have said, he made work fun…Rob shaped, molded and informed the burgeoning careers of countless structural steel painters across the United States.


Whether it was a beer after work with his dad each evening or a Raider game on Sunday afternoon with life-long friends, Rob loved and cherished those around him. Who amongst us can claim the accomplishments Rob Knisely acquired over the years in his chosen profession? And more importantly, how many of us have sustained active, daily friendships with those we love over our entire lifetimes? Rob Knisely was, as the saying goes, the real deal and he will be truly missed by those who knew and loved him.

Services will be held at Wilson & Kratzer Mortuaries, Civic Center Chapel  455 24th street in Richmond California on October 19th, 2018. Viewing will be from 10am to 12noon with services and burial to follow.

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