Robert Eugene Zirbel
Robert Eugene Zirbel passed away peacefully at his home on March 17, 2017. He was 85 years old.
Bob was born December 2, 1931 at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, CA. He spent much of his childhood working with his parents in their grocery store in Castro Valley. After graduating from Hayward High School he joined the Air Force. He proudly served in the Korean War from 1952-1956 as an airman firefighter stationed in the Philippines.
Upon returning home he started working at Safeway. This is where he laid eyes on the love of his life. Karen was a customer there and he would always pester her for her phone number until one day she wrote a check from which he was able to retrieve her number. They were married in 1958. Wasting no time they had their first son later that year. Two more boys quickly followed. In 1962, just two weeks after having their third child, they moved to the small town of Truckee where they would remain for the rest of their lives. Bob worked as a beer distributor for Lucky Lager working out of the old stone garage on Jibboom Street for the next nine years. Really wanting a daughter they tried again and had their fourth son in 1966. Bob always said he was too manly to produce a daughter, so in 1970 they adopted a baby girl. Now their family was complete!
Bob and Karen purchased the local liquor store in 1971, renaming it Zirbel’s Gateway Bottle Shop. Bob will always be remembered as a fixture behind the counter chatting with all the locals. Always looking for an opportunity to make a buck, legend has it Bob would charge a nickel for the Big Nickel (a free publication). In 1984 Bob sold the liquor store and later purchased Gumba’s Pizzeria in Blairsden, CA. Tiring of the long commute he decided to retire in 1993.
Besides working hard to provide for his family, Bob was very involved with the local community. Throughout the years, he was a member of Truckee Rotary, The Optimist Club, Truckee Boosters and a 30 year member of The Truckee Lions Club. Bob and Karen had an extensive family of friends in town and always enjoyed a good party. Their friendships would last a lifetime. Bob lost his beloved Karen in 1997, and now 20 years later they are brought together again in eternal life. Bob loved and is survived by his five children Dennis, Doug, Greg, Scott and Kim. He was also a proud grandfather to six grandchildren Zan, Jentz, Lillian, Cameron, Jackson and Chase.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held April 15, 2017 at 12:00pm at The Truckee Veterans Memorial building located at 10214 High Street.