Robert Allen “Bob” Pedro, a Tuolumne County native who was known for his dedication to youth in the community, died on Feb. 13 at Avalon Care Center in Sonora following a battle with dementia.
He was 83.
Pedro was the great-grandson of early Tuolumne County settlers, a Korean War veteran, and longtime coach and cubmaster who helped start the tradition of flying American flags along Washington Street in downtown Sonora on a number of major holidays.
“You value anybody who will spend time with youth,” said family friend Jon Abernathy, who used to play softball with Pedro. “It’s a real service to the community.”
Pedro is also the father of County Administrator Craig Pedro, who said his dad took pride in their family’s local heritage.
Bob Pedro was born on July 6, 1934, to William Gene Rocco and Lois Alleen Catobus. Rocco was mainly raised by his great uncles and later adopted the Pedro name from them.
The Pedros, who were from Portugal, first settled in the Brown’s Flat area north of downtown Sonora around 1850.
His grandfather, Peter Francis Rocco, came to Tuolumne County with his Italian parents and his grandmother, Marguerita Lorraine Pedro, was born in Jamestown.
Craig Pedro said gold mining was the family’s primary means of living for many years. He lives on the ranch where his parents raised him and ancestors used to mine for gold.
Peter Francis Rocco was the last to actively work in the mines, though he went on to have a 43-year career while working for Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
Bob Pedro attended both Sonora Elementary and Columbia Elementary schools and graduated from Sonora High School, where he was known as a standout placekicker for the varsity football team.
Craig Pedro said his father was also an avid singer all of his life and sang as a member of the Boy’s Octet at the dedication of Dunlavy Field.
After high school, Bob Pedro joined the U.S. Army toward the tail end of the Korean War and was stationed at general support depot at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.
“He wanted to serve along with everyone else at the time,” Craig Pedro said of his father’s military service.
Bob Pedro returned to Sonora after the war and held several jobs before going to work for Safeway, where he spent the next 33 years. He retired as produce manager in 1991.
During most of Pedro’s career, the Safeway was located in the building that now houses Grocery Outlet and O’Reilly Auto Parts at 685 and 695 S. Washington St.
An article was published in The Union Democrat on Sept. 3, 1991, about Bob Pedro’s coworkers throwing him a farewell party for his retirement.
“He loved to serve the customers, but he also enjoyed working with the other employees at the store,” Craig Pedro said. “He was a very likable, workable guy.”
While working at the store and raising six children, Bob Pedro also found time to volunteer countless hours to the community’s youth as a coach of Pee-Wee League and Little League baseball and Cubmaster of Sonora Pack 64.
Craig Pedro said one of the accomplishments his father was most proud of was his involvement in starting the tradition in the 1960s of flying American flags along Washington Street in downtown Sonora on many major national holidays.
“He went to every store up and down Washington Street and asked if they would contribute to help buy the flags and do what was necessary to install them,” Craig Pedro said. “No one turned him down.”
In addition to coaching, Bob Pedro was an avid fastpitch softball player who was known for his multiple varieties of pitches. He played regularly until his 60s and was enshrined in the local Softball Hall of Fame.
Bob Pedro also enjoyed playing horseshoes as part of the Tuolumne County Horseshoe Club and singing with vocal groups. He had a tenor voice and could sing in both Italian and some German, his son said.
Another one of Bob Pedro’s proudest accomplishments was helping to restore and preserve the Jamestown Methodist Church, where he led worship for more than 20 years.
“Everything he did, he was very purposeful about it and always tried to do his best at it, whether that was his parenting, coaching, or singing,” Craig Pedro said of his father.
Bob Pedro is survived by wife, Louise Jean Pedro, and six children through his first wife, Lonnie Pedro, which includes Craig Pedro, Mike Pedro, Chris Pedro, Michelle Pedro, Lisa Anderson, and Mara Courtroul.
He also has numerous stepchildren, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life service for Bob Pedro is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Sierra Bible Church, 15171 Tuolumne Road in East Sonora.
Contact Alex MacLean at email@example.com or (209) 588-4530.