On an ordinary day, an extraordinary man went to be with the Lord.

Robert (Bob) Laffranchi passed away peacefully at the age of 74 on April 14, 2021 surrounded by his family.

He was born on February 17, 1947 to Severino and Mary Ellen (Giacomini) Laffranchi and grew up on his family dairy farm in Ferndale.

He attended Ferndale High School, graduating in 1965. Bob was very active in Future Farmers of America (FFA) receiving both his State Farmer and American Farmer. He went on to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he received his BS in Dairy Science. After leaving the military, we went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Education at Cal Poly.

While attending Cal Poly, Bob joined the ROTC. Upon graduation, he was commissioned into the US Army as a Second Lieutenant. Bob was very proud of his military service to his Country. He was stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War.

Bob met his wife while attending Cal Poly. They were married August 14, 1971 and would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this August.

Bob went on to teach agriculture at Eureka Senior High School in 1973, teaching for 10 years. During his time there, he coached three National FFA Dairy Judging teams. A student asked him how to make cheese one day which later lead to Bob starting the Loleta Cheese Factory with his wife Carol in Loleta in 1982. It was a true family business, with the family both living above the factory and working in the business.

Loleta Cheese was Bob’s life work. He became a self-taught master cheesemaker. Loleta Cheese Factory became a popular destination in Humbolt County for 37 years. More than 30,000 people visited Loleta Cheese every year. With his wife Carol, they built a beautiful “secret” garden next to the factory store. Bob loved greeting customers and visiting with people from the around the world. He touched so many lives.

He is survived by his wife; Carol Laffranchi; his daughters Michelle Yvonne Laffranchi and Nicole Laffranchi; grandchildren: Alessandro Roberto Moore & Gemma Moore; Mother: Mary Ellen (Giacomini) Laffranchi; Brother Donald Laffranchi (wife Cheryl); Sister Annette Adams; Brother and Sister-in-law; Nancy and Jerry Heyne; Nieces & Nephews: Donnie Laffranchi, Kassie McCall, Tina White, Laurie (Laffranchi) Barnwell, Paula Adams, Jared Heyne, Keith Heyne, & David Heyne

He was preceded in Death by his Father Severino Laffranchi and Grandparents Henry & Rose Giacomini and Peter & Lucia Laffranchi:

A Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2021 in Ferndale. A Memorial Service will be held at 10 am on Saturday, May 01, 2021. Both services will be at the Assumption Catholic Church (546 Berding Street, Ferndale). A private service will be held at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Ferndale where he will be laid to rest next to his Father. Following the services, the family would like to invite people to continue the celebration of life at the Laffranchi Family Ranch.

The family wishes to share a special thank you to the staff at the Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville and UC San Francisco Medical Center.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Bob Laffranchi’s name to the Ferndale Museum (P.O. Box 431, Ferndale, CA 95536) or the Sequoia Park Zoo (123 Cutten, CA 95534).

He leaves behind an incredible legacy…


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Bob Laffranchi’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.