Shipyard History – Robert H. Andrews, An Appreciation

Robert H. (“Boba”) Andrews was a San Francisco musician, computer programmer, arts enthusiast, and outdoor adventurer. As a visual arts patron, he often attended open studio events at Hunters Point Shipyard with his partner, Bill Geyer, and friends. Boba lost his life in a swimming accident in Hawaii in 1999. His presence remains an active part of the Bay Area. In the arts at the Shipyard and Islais Creek, Boba’s influence is felt through the Robert H. Andrews Trust, established in Boba’s memory by his sister, Sue Andrews, a Wisconsin resident, who attends open studios when she is in town. The Trust enables funds to be used for the continuing presence of artists studios through STAR, The Shipyard Trust for the Arts.

Bob Andrews and shipyard artist Tanya Joyce met while working at a software company, Boba as a programmer and Tanya as a technical writer. Bob’s nickname “Boba” derives from his computer login “BobA,” but subsequently meant to many people that he was an Indian “Baba” guru, named for his rich problem-solving abilities. Interests in the arts and open spaces were the start of a close personal friendship between Boba and Tanya, and included friends and family of both. Sue Andrews, now a retired professor of psychology, became part of this group.

Outdoors, Boba rollerskated, rode mountain bikes, hiked, and swam. His hiking club was active in reseeding San Francisco parks and hilltops with native plants. He was especially proud of the Club’s reseeding of native lupine, California poppies, and other plants on Corona Heights. He shared a passion for natural outdoor spaces with his sister, who participates in projects that return abandoned Wisconsin farmland to native prairie habitats. Sue is a member of The Milwaukee Museum. She has participated in “behind the scenes” tours of art restoration, framing, and hanging. What this means for the Shipyard and Open Studios is that Boba, Tanya, and their extended circle form a lasting group in which art, and support of the arts, are acknowledged parts of daily life.

Sue Andrews had visited the Shipyard several times before she established The Robert H. Andrews Trust. At first, she designed the Trust, in Boba’s memory, to support open space and habitat at the shipyard, emphasizing her love of birds and Boba’s enthusiasm for the outdoors. The STAR Board saw varied needs in the future and worked with Sue to formalize the Trust in a way that addresses open ended concerns. The generosity of these two art enthusiasts enables the Trust’s annual grant to STAR to continue its the vital role in allowing STAR’s work to continue.

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