Robert Vincent Syverson
November 12, 1966 – March 27, 2023

Born in Endicott, New York, Robert was the youngest of four boys. His parents, Marsh and Dian, moved the family to San Jose, when Robert was a young boy, and that’s where he spent the majority of his youth. Robert and his brothers (Mark, Paul and Joe) were blessed to make many lifelong friends on Culver Drive (Traci, Laurie, John, Dave, Wayne, Todd…). Even as the years passed, when they came together, it was just like yesterday. And, thankfully, Robert’s parents sent him to JOY (Jesus Over You) so he could meet his best friend, Derrick and also Randy. Oh, the stories they could tell…years of skiing, lake trips, barbecues, and car shows made memories with lots of laughs and selfies before that was even a thing.

In part due to his rambunctious nature, in his late teens, Robert moved to live with his uncle George in Columbus, Mississippi for a couple years. During that time, they lived on Columbus Air Force Base with George’s family. He quit school and successfully completed his GED. He worked at the base service station. As a young man on the base, he had a dream of being a helicopter pilot, it was then he learned of his glaucoma that caused difficulty over the years. Traveling back to CA to attend his grandfather’s service, Robert took the opportunity to move back to San Jose. He moved in with his parents, and as he told it, his dad told him he had 3 days to get a job and pay rent. And, so he did! Robert worked various jobs from Home Depot to construction project management.

It was at the young age of 21, Robert became the father to Brittany. He was a very caring, giving soul who loved to teach others. He greatly enjoyed and loved raising his daughter. Full of energy as he was, he took her skiing, water skiing, hiking, camping, and to worksites! Robert aligned with the penguin as a way of parenting (the males take care of the young)

A victim of a vehicle accident in his mid-twenties that left him with a serious back injury, Robert had the opportunity to re-evaluate life. He was strong enough to work through the pain from getting off pharmaceuticals with water aerobics and light stretching to eventually mountain biking and jumping the wake, wakeboarding! When Brittany went to live with her mother, Robert hit the reset button. He earned his Associate degree from Evergreen College in San Jose. In 1996 he moved to Arcata to attend Humboldt State University. He graduated with a BS in Natural Resource Planning and maintained a lifelong friendship with roommate Jerry “Bones” Snow.

After graduation, Robert held jobs as a PGE consultant and for the City of Arcata. In 2001 he started his 22-year career with Caltrans, first in planning, then as a field maintenance biologist. He worked all over the district with the Caltrans maintenance crews to protect and enhance the environment when completing maintenance projects, and for storm response. Robert worked in rivers and streams improving fish passage and overall watershed health. Many a tree he planted and saved with creative multidisciplinary solutions. Wildflower surveys made some of his favorite days at work and he took beautiful wildflower photos. A local artist at one time bought his photos to recreate as paintings. As a bicyclist and advocate, he encouraged safe riding on the highways, from contributing to the bicycle touring guides to riding to set timing for bike loops on bridges. Robert’s outgoing personality netted him many colleagues as friends. Most of all, he enjoyed sharing the beauty of protecting the natural world with anyone who would listen. As he called it teaching folks to “pet frogs.”

In 1999, as neighbors at the laundromat, Robert met his future wife, Brenda. She moved to Arizona, where two years later for their birthdays, they took their first of many trips to Sedona, Arizona. Shortly thereafter, Brenda moved back to Humboldt where she and Robert joined their cat families (Weather, Sprocket, and KBear) along with tortoise Kokopelli. Robert was a very kind, supportive, and chivalrous partner, which garnered him many compliments from strangers over the years. They took pleasure in an active lifestyle, from: mountain biking, hiking, house boating, wakeboarding, to gardening, evening walks, and plant identification. They loved to travel, stay in swanky places and eat fancy food. Some of their favorite trips included Utah (Gooseberry, LaVerkin, Zion), Arizona (Grand Canyon, Sedona!). Mt. Hood, Yosemite, New York, Southern Oregon coast, Fort Bragg and various hot springs! They resided in Fortuna for 15 years and found the most amazing, supportive neighbor friends (Brandon and Lluvia, Noah, Eli, Jim and Terry, Aaron, Mark, Debi and Mike, Penny, Mr. McKnight and others). Robert and Brenda’s union of marriage ended in 2019, however the love remained.

Robert loved life, and all living things. An energetic, talkative, friendly, outgoing personality, Robert touched the lives of many (human, plant, animal…). And, if I were to be reincarnated, I would want to be Robert’s cat! In honor of Robert: ride your bike, stop and smell the flowers, watch the sunset, talk to strangers, pet a frog, smile, laugh, hug trees and those you love, be your own fearless medical advocate, practice self-care.

Robert is survived by mother Dian Syverson; brothers Mark Syverson (Mary Jean) and Joe Syverson (Anafe); uncles George Refeedie and Marlo Syverson; cousins Ali Colton Syverson, Shannon Primasing (David); daughter Brittany Loofbourrow; niece Danielle; nephews Joey, Tommy, Matthew; and many other cousins and second cousins.

Robert was proceeded in death by father Marschelle Syverson and brother Paul Syverson.


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